"The Creative Process of Writing is a Liberating and Therapeutic Experience"
In This Issue:
2. Publisher's Note
3. Book Review: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
4. Helpful Hints
The Writer's Connection explores the creative process of writing and the interplay between thoughts, feelings, and actions.
We are an interactive community of authors and readers who share ideas to enhance our knowledge, skills, and experiences in
writing fiction in any genre, but our emphasis remains mystery and suspense thrillers.
Published monthly, the Newsletter offers writing tips for authors, coaching suggestions, editing, and marketing information.
Topics are presented from the perspective of Keith Barton and represent only his ideas on producing your first manuscript,
and are provided to the general public. Because we are an interactive community of writers, other viewpoints are welcomed and may be
printed in future monthly newsletters with permission from Keith Barton.
2. Publisher's Note
Dear Writer's Connection Subscriber,
This month's newsletter features a Book Review: The Power of Now
by Eckhart Tolle
3. Book Review: The Power of Now
Eckhart Tolle’s seminal treatise on The Power of Now
was originally published in 1999 and still gains widespread acceptance among New Age gurus and mainline church leaders, in part, because he argues the null hypothesis: spiritual enlightenment depends on your own concept of energy. His preface is that “you are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are!”
This book resembles in many ways the award winning bestseller, The Secret
, which also reinvents positive thinking in a New Age model which is gaining increased acceptance for the “un-churched.” For obvious reasons mainline churches don’t relate to today’s Generation XY, in part, because God remains impersonal and judgmental, feeding their guilt, anxiety, fears, and doubts. With the recent attention to self through meditation, yoga, Buddhism, Zen, and Taoism from Pacific Rim cultures and the wildly popular reincarnation and crystal energy advocates in Hollywood, energy has become deified as a mystical force field surrounding us mere mortals. Scientific advances in physics have led to sub-atomic particles and infinite universes besides our own.
Abraham Maslow touched on self-actualization in the 1950s with “peak experiences” which are now explained by spiritual enlightenment. Tolle treats human emotion as unconscious thoughts that precede
feeling states. Love, anger, pain, joy, sorrow, and addictive behaviors occur because we do not pay enough attention to our conscious
thoughts which sounds akin to cognitive approaches to therapy. To placate those who believe in a supreme deity he recognizes an omnipotent Being that defines all matter comprising our universe. It’s only when we as humans can get in touch with our conscious Being do we achieve a personal relationship with God. For Christians, the person was in the human form of Jesus Christ; for Jews it is in the Talmudic Laws brought down from Mount Sinai by Moses. For Muslims, it is the prophet Mohammed.
Tolle’s thesis is that “nothing exists outside of Now.” To live in the present is to eliminate negative thoughts and feelings from the past and doubts and fears about the future. He uses “inner body work” to connect with our breathing, vision, hearing, olfactory, and tactile senses. In a parody of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Tolle posits “Sermon on the Body” which is subject to disease, old age, and death. This is not contradictory to the Bible’s rendition of the desires of the “flesh” which are temporary, whereas the Soul transcends this life into the Next. Tolle talks about the soul as the “inner body” which is the “doorway into Being, into Life Unmanifested.” It is through this inner body that we are one with God. This undoubtedly has unique appeal with those who wish to understand our connection with God which Christians define as the Holy Spirit.
Near Death Experiences (NDEs) are re-defined as portals into the universe where our Being is transported into “conscious death” as an involuntary and automatic transition into the afterlife. He borrows from the Tibetan Book of the Dead which describes the “luminous splendor of the colorless light of Emptiness” AKA “our own true self.” (page 118). The body and mind are now transformed into the spirit at the time of death. For most of us, this is the ONLY time we are present in the NOW.
The second half of his book reads like a marriage manual for “co-dependent and addictive” relationships. Instead of seeking a partner that satisfies some past or future need, our choices should reside in the Now. Our Egos are our enemies that prevent us from connecting with our consciousness. Ego serves the Self which leads to imbalanced relationships. The challenge for us who wish to be partnered in a healthy way is to move from past ego-inflicted hurts to the Now and our conscious Being which is close to what Christians see as Agape love or love for all humankind.
One of the most deeply spiritual practices is to meditate with others on our own mortality—that the ultimate common denominator is that our decaying corpses will turn to dust. This is called “die before you die” where all mind forms and thoughts die but the radiant inner Being remains, fully awake and conscious. Finally Tolle concludes with the subject of “forgiveness.” To know true forgiveness is to surrender the past and be fully present in the Now. The ultimate existential quest for us is when we no longer have to ask the question “how will we know when we have surrendered.”
- Compare Tolle’s Being and Now with the Holy Spirit and Soul; what are the
similarities and differences?
- Take a comparative religion class or a philosophy class on the search for meaning;
inner peace and contentment reside in each of us and it’s up to us to remove ourselves like
noise from signals.
- Dallas Willard has written a book, Renovation of the Heart. What common
themes do you recognize from a Christian and non-Christian perspective?
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About Keith Barton, Ph.D.
Dr. Barton received his Ph.D. in 1972 from the University of Texas at Austin and has been a practicing therapist
for over thirty years. He is currently enrolled in MentorCoach and is accepting new clients.
He has been an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina,
consultant to Fortune 500 companies in executive development, founded
and managed Texas Community Living Ventures, Inc., in 1986 for providing
group home services to persons with mental retardation. Keith founded
and has been running a clinical practice in Northwest Houston since 1990.
He writes part-time with the goal of completing one novel a year. His desire to coach others derives from his passionate
interest in helping others become attuned to their creative powers of storytelling.
Dr. Barton has training in coaching, cognitive and family therapy and health psychology. He has published articles, made
presentations and conducted workshops about:
Anxiety and achievement
The relationship between psychology and spirituality