THE POWER OF NOW
“The ‘Power of Now’ can transform your thinking. The result? More joy, right now.” —Oprah Winfrey
“Forget about life situation for a while and pay attention to your life … your life situation is mind-stuff, your life is real.” (Page 52)
Leading a very troubled and problematic life, created by many periods of serious depression, Eckhart Tolle, a German-born resident of Canada called by The New York Times “the most popular spiritual author in the United States,” found peace overnight, quite literally.After he spent several years doing nothing but enjoying his newfound peace, people eventually started asking him questions – and he answered those. Tolle started teaching and writing. He published ‘The Power of Now’ in 1997, which eventually went on to become a New York Times bestseller in 2000 after Oprah Winfrey fell in love with it and recommended that people must read it.
In this book, Tolle discovers presence, thinking and spirituality to help you understand what presence means, how thinking and non-acceptance drive a lot of human pain, and how to live a life that reduces agony.
Too often, we allow our mind to eat our present moment. And, in doing so, we fail to recognize the difference between our thoughts and the reality itself.
“To complain is always non-acceptance of what is.”
When you disapprove, condemn or complain, it means you aren’t accepting the reality. Instead, you are rejecting that in favour of your expectations or thoughts about what reality should look like. And, in doing so, you will end up less happy than what you would be had you accepted the situation and figured out a productive path forward.
“If you find you’re here and now intolerable, and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it or accept it totally.”
When you find yourself in an unhappy situation, you can remove yourself from it, change it or accept it. That’s it! No complaining. No bickering. No feeling bad. You either leave it, change it, or accept it for what it is. I use this simple outline for dealing with unpleasant realities very frequently.
“As long as you are in a state of intense presence, you are free of thought. You are still, yet highly alert. The instant your conscious attention sinks below a certain level, thought rushes in. The mental noise returns; the stillness is lost. You are back in time.”
“Most people don’t know how to listen because the major part of their attention is taken up by thinking.”
Uncontrollable thinking is the norm — most of us spend most of our time in our heads. Instead of being highly-alert and free of thought, both of which are requirements of being in the present moment, we allow our consciousness to bring us into the mental noise that clutters our days. But, if we learn to escape the collective disease of compulsive thinking, we can better listen and live in the present.
“When the mind is running your life, conflict, strife, and problems are inevitable. Being in touch with your inner body creates a clear space of no-mind within which the relationship can flower.”
Don’t let your mind run your life. If you do, it will be consumed with inner conflicts and problems, which, in turn, will worsen your relationships. Instead, create inner space and stillness to allow your relationships to flourish.
“You then realize that death is an illusion, just as your identification with form was an illusion. The end of illusion — that’s all that death is.”
Death is an event – just like birth, a meeting with a good friend and a big promotion—it’s simply one of the things that happen to us in life. Once we realize that death is simply a part of what it means to live, we can let go of our obsession with identifying with the state of being alive.
“The greatest catalyst for change in a relationship is complete acceptance of your partner as he or she is, without needing to judge or change them in any way.”
However, if you decide to accept your partner for what (s)he is, you will find yourself with fewer problems and a healthier dynamic.
“If you cannot be at ease with yourself when you are alone, you will seek a relationship to cover up your unease.”
If you cannot spend an entire day alone, that’s a signal that you might have some work to do. If you seek a relationship to cover up your unease with being alone, you will never solve the source of your unease. So, before committing to someone else, ensure that you have an internal comfort when you’re alone. In doing so, you will give your relationship a better chance to flourish.
“Somebody says something to you that is rude or designed to hurt. Instead of going into unconscious reaction and negativity, such as attack, defense, or withdrawal, you let it pass right through you. Offer no resistance. It is as if there is nobody there to get hurt anymore. That is forgiveness.”
If you feel that someone has been rude to you or said something hurtful, try to let the feeling pass through you. Instead of feeling attacked and going on the defensive, try to resist these feelings. When you can do this—and sometimes it takes time—you have truly forgiven the person.
“Compassion is the awareness of a deep bond between yourself and all creatures.”
“Without time, no suffering, no negativity, can survive.”
Suffering and negativity cannot exist in the present moment. They exist in time. They exist in our mind and the stories we tell ourselves about the events that happen in our lives. Time is the medium through which these negative emotions thrive. If you live presently, suffering and negativity will not endure.
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”
The author has a special interest in personality development.