I finally finished The Power of Now on Friday. I was inspired to pick it up because of Steven Universe‘s wonderful coping mechanism-disguised-as-song “Here Comes a Thought,” which should tell you how long I’ve been at it.
All in all, I found it quite useful, although the heteronormative language towards the end of the book (with a single paragraph to address any queer seekers reading the book) rubbed me the wrong way. The main thrust—to disidentify with your thinking mind and identify with your core being—has been incredibly helpful for me. Growing up, I overidentified with my thinking mind, as it was sometimes the only space I had access to to be both alone and myself. And being a creative doesn’t help, as I consider my ability to write and articulate my highest function. So as someone with anxiety who suffers from intrusive thoughts, it was always horrifying to me to experience a mind that was able to come up with good things and bad things.
I’ve gotten a lot better about this over the years, although it only came to my attention a few years ago that my anxiety was wired differently than other people’s, but I still found Tolle’s recommendations on specific practices to get out of your head and back into yourself and the moment deeply helpful.
But I also found Tolle’s recommendations for dealing with the present moment helpful. Despite my universal distaste for binaries, I find binary logic satisfying and soothing for my anxiety (in terms of taking action, not in terms of organizing the world). Tolle recommends that, given any situation, you only have three options: leave it, change it, or accept it. How useful.
In actual pop culture terms, I watched Markiplier’s Let’s Play of Five Nights at Freddy’s: Sister Location this week. Despite being a horror weenie and uninterested in the fandom, I am fascinated with Five Night’s at Freddy’s as a franchise, for both its initial innovation, non-gory scares, and theorizing community. (I guess I miss being a Zelda theorist back in the early aughts.) I occasionally fantasize about the film adaptation being totally bloodless and totally terrifying, thanks to the Henson Creature Shop. It still spooks me, to be sure, but never as badly as, say, Cabin in the Woods. Sister Location seems—I will say seems, as I’ve only ever watched other people play the games and never played them myself—like an interesting riff on the franchise.
But those some riffs pull it away from the rest of the franchise. It deals with artificial intelligence becoming sentient and struggling against their master, which is always an interesting concept. But Five Night’s at Freddy’s always interested me because the central conceit—AIs attempting to fulfill their programming to protect children interacting with the ghosts of the murdered children they failed to protect—was so unique. I don’t think it’s the end for the franchise, as there’s a movie in the works and a Fright Dome attraction themed on the game currently running in Las Vegas, but it does feel like perhaps the original conceit has been mined and it’s time to move onto other ideas within that universe.