Facing the mirror with Echkart Tolle‘s book: The power of Now
Since the first version of the book The Power of Now appeared, more and more people claim that their lives were completely changed by Echkart Tolle‘s approaches.You’ll find in the summary of the book below a brief selection of the main ideas and best nuggets (visual quotes from books) from Echkart Tolle‘s book – The Power of Now. Will this book change your perspective on the way you see the future and the present? I bet it will!
PRESENT TIME / THE POWER OF NOW
I must admit I read it once. That was two years ago and I still believe that it contains some brilliant ideas. I was not previously enlighten (maybe due to my own personal limitations). Most of the time I identify myself with the author prior to the change that lead him on this road.
Until he was almost 30 years old Echkart Tolle was a very anxious person. He was dominated by fears and suicidal thoughts.
Despite this dramatic context, many of us may find themselves in this story defined by a permanent conflict with our own self and the world. By not being able to enjoy the present moment, but constantly struggling to imagine the future. Making up imaginary scripts in their heads, about every little detail. The stress of “what will tomorrow bring” seemed to be constantly in their minds, even in the times of joy.
Lack of energy. Self-conflict: feeling dissatisfied because the results are not as great as they imagined to be. Instability: constant running to catch the next train.
“Although I was privileged to give birth to it, I feel that the book has taken on a life and momentum of its own.”
Echkart Tolle brings a fresh perspective to all these worries starting with this revelation: “I cannot live with myself any longer.” This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. This is about human power.
“Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with.” “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”
The main idea of this book is that “you are not your mind”. How does Echkart describe the process to achieve this message?
First step: understand that your mind is most of the time an obstacle in your evolution towards enlightenment. After that you will start to think differently and not to put so much emphasis on this process of thinking. You will be more concerned about getting in touch with your inner body. Or about analyzing more what you feel and how you perceive things and not so much about your thoughts.
Second step: thoughts are dangerous in the process of enlightenment. They create labels. Instead of allowing things to be as they are – you’ll begin to put concepts and ideas into little boxes.
You’ll face this approach pretty often in this book but especially when the author makes the difference between the idea of God and Being:
“The word Being explains nothing, but nor does God. Being, however, has the advantage that it is an open concept. It does not reduce the infinite invisible to a finite entity. It is impossible to form a mental image of it.”
Which is the main obstacle that people have when trying to reach a new level of consciousness? The answer is just in front of us. The fact that they cannot stop thinking: “Enlightenment is not only the end of suffering and of continuous conflict within and without, but also the end of the dreadful enslavement to incessant thinking.”
Main rule: stop identifying yourself with your mind. Our mind is only a tool that we need for certain actions. So, what seems to be important at this level is to find the “off” button and being able to switch it off in order to evolve to the next level.
Keeping focus on the present is another important issue that Echkart brings into conversation. One of the main problems the entire humanity is confronted with is the inability to engage all the attention exclusively on the NOW.
Maybe it is not necessarily to enjoy the present moment, but definitely you should acknowledge it. You should feel the sensations that come with it, to experience it.
No judging according to something that happened in the past. No diminishing its importance because we are hoping for something better in the future:
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.”
In the first phase you should stop identifying yourself with your mind and also accept that the present moment is all that matters. Accept all that NOW brings into your life. By exercising these even physical pain will no longer be a part of you:
“The pain-body consists of trapped life-energy that has split off from your total energy field and has temporarily become autonomous through the unnatural process of mind identification.”
In order to be able to do this, you have to observe the pain without thinking or making any judgments, just accept it and let it pass through you. You have to be like an outside observer of yourself and the pain will no longer control you.
In order to live a full life and learn how not to stress yourself so much, you have to understand a simple idea: “Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.” Once you make this statement a part of who you are, each time you become anxious about something in your future you will remember this and suddenly be more relaxed because you will understand that most of the time your mind creates scenarios that are far worse than anything that will actually happen. And even if something bad will happen, it is not in your control to stop it, but it is in your control to accept it and to move on.
The main problem of our society is that it always strives for something better in the future: “Stress is caused by being “here” but wanting to be “there,” or being in the present but wanting to be in the future. It’s a split that tears you apart inside. To create and live with such an inner split is insane.” People put so little emphasis on the present joy and good times and they always feel that they will be truly happy only when they will get a better job, a bigger house, a nicer car. But when they do get those things, the joy is so small compared to what they hoped in their minds that it will be, that they start making other plans for the future. We constantly live for the “us” that is in the future, not for the one NOW: “As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease.”
This is not to say that you cannot have goals and aspirations for the future. Of course you can have that. The idea is not to fully identify yourself only with those goals. You need to understand that each man has an inner journey and an outer journey as the author explains. The outer journey can have a million steps, it can bring you from success to failure and back to success in a matter of days. Your inner journey has only the step that you are taking right now. No matter at what point you are in your outer journey, your inner self should be un-shattered by the storms outside.
“Feeling will get you closer to the truth of who you are than thinking.”
This is one of the ideas that sums up a lot of the main concepts of this book. We as humans are taught to label things so we can have access to them in an easier way. But the problem is that in this way we only see things in a superficial way, according to the labels we just set up in our minds. This is valid for external things but also for the way we perceive ourselves: “don’t just think with your head, think with your whole body.”
In this society where love becomes such a superficial concept, I think that the way the author describes this feeling and this state of being is extraordinary: “Love is a state of Being. Your love is not outside; it is deep within you. You can never lose it, and it cannot leave you. It is not dependent on some other body, some external form.” If we would truly understand these words, I think we would avoid so much useless suffering and we would become more connected to each other: “Love is not selective, just as the light of the sun is not selective. It does not make one person special. It is not exclusive. Exclusivity is not the love of God but the “love” of ego.”
There are a lot of concepts that you need to truly understand not only with your mind but also from within in order for a real transformation to occur. At first, because of our selfish ego we might be tempted to just read the book in a superficial way and not make any changes. But if you revisit the concepts after a while and start applying some of the ideas, you will see a transformation that can really take you to a new level in your journey.
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