“The Books That Shaped Your Life”

05 April 2016 Comments Off on “The Books That Shaped Your Life”

David Michael Lewis, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology


Alternative Headshot Picture - (250 x 362)The most influential book that I’ve read—and one that put my life on an entirely different pathway of living—is “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle (“Şimdi’nin Gücü” in Turkish).

The book helps the reader more deeply understand our unhealthy habit of directing our attention to envisioned futures and dead pasts—which prevent us from living in the moment that we actually have and can live in: the Now. The author begins to guide the reader on how to start living in the present moment—how to narrow your focus of attention to what is actually happening here and now. He does not claim that the book alone will get you there. Rather, the book is an important starting point that offers a map for how to start walking a different pathway of life toward a goal of real peace.

Every time I open it to read it—which is every day—I immediately am reminded of how distracted by past and future we constantly are, and of how the most empowering way to live life is to be in this moment, right here and right now. Indeed, now is the only moment that exists, or ever has existed—whenever anything happens or has happened, it always happens and always has happened “now.”

My favorite quotations from this book are:

“Imagine the Earth devoid of human life, inhabited only by plants and animals. Would it still have a past and a future? Could we still speak of time in any meaningful way? The question ‘What time is it?’ or ‘What’s the date today?’—if anybody were there to ask it—would be quite meaningless. The oak tree or the eagle would be bemused by such a question. ‘What time?’ they would ask. ‘Well, of course, it’s now. The time is now. What else is there?’”411nlAJXoJL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_ (250 x 387)

“‘Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs?’ This was written 2,000 years ago by Marcus Aurelius, one of those exceedingly rare humans who possessed worldly power as well as wisdom.”

If I had not read that book, I would still be chasing pleasure instead of peace. I would still be looking outwardly for salvation—thinking that I would be happy if I could get this, or if I had this person as a relationship partner, or if this good thing happened in my life. That is a pot that you cannot fill. The mind’s habit to want—to crave—can never be sated. The pathway to true inner peace that the book describes—and that I have experienced—is achieved by breaking the mind’s habit to crave altogether. Training your mind to be calm and at peace—regardless of whether unwanted things that you cannot control occur or wanted things fail to occur—that is invaluable to me.

I strongly recommend “The Power of Now.” I also recommend this passage about the Art of Living. I think it expresses some of the things that I’ve been touching on here, but does so in an even better and more penetrating way:

In English,


In Turkish,