The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and the The Secret by Rhonda Byrne are both books that have been highly successful and have sold millions of copies. The fact that they both fall into the same self-help category on Amazon, where the majority of these copies have been sold, logically leads to many comparisons between the two. Some people believe that they are both pieces of work that can be used complimentary in order to achieve the sense of happiness and peace that both books ultimately aspire to. Others argue that they are in fact contradictory in their outlooks and the disciples of one may look to undermine rather than promote the ideas and methods held in the other.
For those looking into the field of spirituality and self-help for the first time, it is perhaps difficult to know where to turn when faced with so many options and so many differing opinions as to which book would be the best for you. As with all things, it really depends on exactly what it is you are looking for
In The Power of Now Tolle is clearly drawing his inspiration from Eastern philosophies, particularly those relating to Buddhism, The Upanishads and The Bhagvaad Ghita. In doing so Tolle looks to draw the reader into a new form of consciousness which if followed to its logical end will result in pure enlightenment.
Tolle makes the distinction between life manifested, which is the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death, and the unmanifested, which is that goes beyond form and that he calls Being. This idea of pure unmanifested being borrows heavily from the Hindu concept of atman which is the supreme individual self. For Tolle the universe and the “I” that perceives are one and the same thing, completely unified.
Tolle wants the reader to unburden him/herself of the burden of the ego and to reach a purer understanding of ones own presence that arises beyond the mind. It is as one becomes aware of this presence that involuntary thinking begins to subside, which in turn gives way to stillness, peace, and what he call the joy of Being. The basic message is that our mode of consciousness can be transformed. The key to becoming free of the ego, with all its consequences, is to become deeply conscious of this present moment, or, as Tolle often calls it, “the Now.”
The Secret on the other hand is about how the universe is governed by a natural law called the law of attraction which is said to work by attracting into a person’s life the experiences, situations, events, and people that match the frequency of the person’s thoughts and feelings. According to this rule, Byrne believes that positive thinking and feeling positive can create life-changing results such as increased wealth, health, and happiness. The book is very much influenced by Wallace Wattles’ 1910 book The Science of Getting Rich.
The Secret outlines the law of attraction as a natural law that determines the complete order of the universe and of our personal lives through the process of “like attracts like.” If one thinks angry thoughts and feels angry, one will attract back events and circumstances that cause further anger. This rule will apply conversely if one thinks and feels positive at all times. Importantly, Byrne claims that desirable outcomes such as health, wealth, and happiness can be attracted simply by changing one’s thoughts and feelings.
Byrne explains the mechanisms of the law of attraction, then goes on to describe its historical applications and the great men and women in history who are claimed to have harnessed its power. Once this has been established a three-step creative process for manifesting dreams is introduced: Ask, Believe, and Receive. The Secret goes on to emphasise how gratitude and visualization are the two most powerful processes to help manifest one’s desires. It asserts that being grateful both lifts your frequency higher and affirms that you believe you will receive your desire.
It is clear that both books have been incredibly successful in helping millions of people along the often incredibly difficult and pressurised path that is life. It is also clear that Tolle’s message is a more profoundly spiritual one than that of Byrne who clearly states how material rewards can be achieved by following her method. It would also seem that in its constant striving towards these future material rewards that The Secret is perhaps contradictory to the message of The Power of Now whose principal request is that the reader learns how to exist and accept Being in the present.
The value of both books is relative and clearly reliant on the reader’s acceptance of the message and one’s needs and motivations at the moment of reading. For those looking to find some higher value in life, Tolle’s book is undoubtedly the best option. For those simply needing a method on how to achieve their more basic earthly goals, Byrne’s book would be perfect. And, of course, context is everything. A person who has escaped the rat-race and sought refuge in the lofty peaks of the Himalayas may find comfort and sense in both, as in the Lotus position they contemplate the serenity and beauty of all life from beside the crystal clear waters of a still blue lake that mirrors the snow-capped tops of mountains scaled only by the Gods!
This post was contributed by lovereading.co.uk