The power of woo

A recent comment by fellow blogger Looking For Buddha Again made me reflect that being abandoned by our spouses seems to have knocked us off-center, and left us going through life all wonky in the way of human Pisa tours.

In fact, I have this mental image of the many members of the My-Spouse-Left-Me club (very exclusive membership I’ll have you know) going around eyes to the ground, looking for Buddha, themselves, God, or the meaning of life, in the way people look for mushrooms in the woods.

Whatever you want to call it, we all seem to aspire to balance, happiness and a sense of self-worth that the trauma of being rejected robbed us of. Sensing my quest, some friends loaned or suggested a variety of self-help books (others offered to get me drunk as a skunk).

I have to confess to being a self-help virgin, and discovered with fascination this industry feeding on the needs of people just like me. There are so many methods, theories, 10 steps to a better you/life/happiness/success/chocolate cake on the market that logically, only illiterates should be plagued by crap lives, unhappiness, or poor cooking skills.

Having heard many people rave about The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle, I avidly started reading, hoping that by the end, I too, would be able to save on electricity thanks to the glow of my newfound Being in the Now. Unfortunately, by the end of the preface, all I could think was “This guy does not take himself for the square root of his logarithm”*.

By the end of the first chapter, I was scratching my head and going back over the same paragraph three times. And by the end of the third chapter, I despaired of ever being enlightened and resorted to Caïpirinas. It probably comes from being a soulless Philistine, but I just do not get it.

Worse, anything assuring me that “This state of auto-connectedness also raises the vibrational frequency of the energy field that gives life to the physical body” sounds like utter woo to my deeply suspicious mind. As an aside, one of my favourite blogs is the totally nerdy woo debunking Bad Science.

Anyway, has anyone out there read and understood The Power of Now? And if so, would you be able to explain it to my dim wit?

Have any other books (self-help or otherwise) helped you get through the rough patches?

*Roughly translates as “this guy is totally up himself”.


15 thoughts on “The power of woo

  1. I too am science based and find some of the ethereal ramblings in many of these books to be nothing but “woo”. I have a different name for it, but for politeness sake let’s leave it at “woo”.

    I have read “the power of now”. And although I agree and like some of the background results he wants one to achieve, the “science” behind the reasoning is pretty shaky.

    So my suggestion to you is set it aside. It will never make sense to you.

    If you would like to start with something to help you center, I suggest “The Miracle of Mindfulness” by Thich Nhat Hanh”.

    Also “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.

    and sometimes, ya just gotta let the “science” part of it go.

    Wishing you Peace.

    • Thanks LFBA. Will look out for those suggestions…BTW, I could not link to your blog because I cannot access it for some reason, I get an error message instead! Hope you had a good weekend?

      • Wish I could help you with a linking problem. The site seems to be funky at times, requiring multiple clicks to accomplish the same thing. If you feel like it, try again later. I linked one of the T’s posts in my most recent blog entry by copying the URL and pasting it in. It worked fine that way.
        My weekend is work filled…may has well get things done since I don’t have my kids for Father’s Day. Enjoy your time in the UK. Let me know what you think if you read the suggestions. I used both of them when I did some life coaching (yeah…imagine the currently lost coaching on how to find oneself. Irony I think)

  2. Not really, no. I was reading: How to have a happy divorce (what a title, huh?), but I think I might have been reading it too late, the advice they were giving I already figured out on my own. 🙂

  3. Read “Rachels holiday” by Marian Keyes. It nothing to do with self help but its hilarious and you can lose yourself in it. i read every time i get my heartbroken or the world lets me down – tells you nothing but its a great place to hide for a bit!

    You didn’t reply to last email – don’t know what your plans are?


  4. Anyone who makes the statement ““This state of auto-connectedness also raises the vibrational frequency of the energy field that gives life to the physical body” with a straight face is clearly pretending to be knowledgeable!

    Real science can be described in a much more straight-forward fashion, even when it’s many orders more complex.

    If any self-help book really worked, everyone would know and use it. I think, if there is ANY value to these books, it would only apply if the book started with a basic premise: it works for THIS kind of man and THAT kind of women who have problems LIKE THIS. Without that specificity, the individual personalities and circumstances turn sensible-sounding ideas into blarney…

  5. LOL. My response to “The Power of Now” (also recommended to me in the aftermath of my divorce) was pretty much the same as yours. I didn’t last very long with that book. I *did* enjoy “It’s Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness” by Sylvia Boorstein. I thought it rang fairly true. For me, that was a little book with a pretty big impact.

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