I have two questions.
First, I grew up roman catholic, but now in my mid twenties, I am beginning to notice that a lot of my beliefs and actions don't align with Christianity so I started reading other religious and way of life books and for some reason, Buddhism or the way of life of the Buddha was calling my name. First question, if I am beginning on this path, which books would you recommend I read? That is, a book which has all the teachings of the Buddha/ philosophies. Does Buddhism mean being aware of our conciousness, is life only present in our minds, is it a way for us to be truly happy by being one with the universe, or just be at peace with oneself.
Secondly, I recently picked up a book called "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle and I am getting confused. By asking us to observe our thoughts or be ever present in order to achieve consciousness. Is that even possible? Can our minds ever be so still to the point where no thought will arise for blocks at a time in order to be fully present? I mean I am always thinking even when I try to meditate which makes it hard for me to see that happening. How do you watch your thoughts by not thinking? Also by saying the power of now, does it mean when I go out, I should marvel at all the trees, smell the leaves, I don't know maybe talk to people as opposed to what? What does it mean to be truly present?