In the Power of Now Eckhart Tolle writes that we should not be consumed with thinking about our past or future, but always live in the now. In order to be in the now we must get rid of the constant chatter or our minds and rather let ourselves observe our thoughts from a non-judgemental perspective. By being conscious of our thoughts and observing them we stop being controlled by them and become free of our egos.
‘The moment you realize you are not present, you are present. Whenever you are able to observe your mind, you are no longer trapped in it. Another factor has come in, something that is not of the mind: the witnessing presence.’
Reading the book made me realise, that I am constantly consumed by my thoughts, the constant voices in my mind. Usually reminiscing about the past, worrying about the future, complaining, resenting or wanting, waiting for something to come that will fulfil me and then I will be happy. I hardly experience or focus on the present moment.
Tolle asks us to think ‘do you have a problem right now?’ more often than not, the answer is no. When the problem or a situation arises we can deal with it, we have to. We can always deal with what is happening now. What we can’t deal with is with things that have happened in the past or we think will happen in the future. That is why we shouldn’t think about the future or past more than is practically necessary. Most people, he writes, don’t want to let go of their egos, because they see that their problems and issues define who they are and they are scared to let go of what they perceive as their identity. But being in the now, doesn’t mean being complacent or lazy. You can still have goals and work towards them, but your happiness shouldn’t depend on them. You should come to the realisation that nothing external can make you happy, external goals and pleasures are only something that you do for fun, not for fulfilment.
‘If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally.’
The Power of Now speaks about a higher ‘Being’ but does not want to label it as God due to the preconceived images people have in their mind. All people are energy and are connected to Being, so in this sense everything in the world is connected and therefore a person can never die, because what really matters is eternal. Even though the body or mind will disappear one day, the inner core, who we really are will exist forever.
Tolle asks the readers to do an exercise, he asks for them to close their eyes and think ‘I wonder what I am going to think next?’ And then concentrate on what thought will arise. The funny thing is that usually a thought doesn’t come for a very long time, and you can experience just not thinking at all.
Now whenever I catch myself thinking too much, I switch off and tell myself to focus on the now and focus on the inner energy field of my body and whatever I am doing or feeling at the moment. The sun on my face, the fruit I am eating, the breeze on my face. My mind goes blissfully blank, I enjoy the moment, and I feel at peace, without any worries about the past or future. Of course unawares the mind still creeps up on me, but it’s great to have a technique to banish it away once I realise it’s taking over again.
A truly inspiring book, I would recommend it!