Facing the mirror with The Power of Now SUMMARY
Since the first version of the book The Power of Now appeared, more and more people claim that their lives were completely changed by Eckhart 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 Eckhart 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 “The Power of Now” contains some brilliant ideas. I was not previously enlightened (maybe due to my own personal limitations). Most of the time I identify myself with the author prior to the change that led him on this road.
Who Should Read “The Power of Now”? And Why?
We (as people) have evolved in a physical aspect, our knowledge has expanded, our influence has spread, but our self-knowingness remains the same. Enlightenment is a misused term; it is not associated with education, theories or facts, it’s a simple recognition.
Identity beyond words:
Since no one can define what we are, realize what you are not. People have invented many names for total awareness, or full alertness to the ever-present surroundings. Not one of them can truly reflect the power arising from that “ever-lasting truth”.
Beyond the concept of enlightenment, there is a secluded place within; no one can name it – find that area. After you become familiar with the process of contemplation, peace will enter your heart. Sensations and other phenomena will not be able to bother you like it used to in the past.
Prepare to face the storm:
Perhaps, laziness will become your Nickname due to the fact that you’ll appear depressed, but your inner being will shine. This book is prescribed for every person out there; all beings deserve to experience change and happiness without exception.
Author’s Spotlight: Eckhart Tolle
Eckhart Tolle is a modern guru or a spiritual master (full name – Ulrich Leonard Tölle). He was born a few years after WW2, or precisely on February 16, 1948, in Lunen (small town- North from Dortmund).
At the time, Germany was weak in all possible ways, Eckhart moved a couple of times to find some stability. When he was around 30, he spontaneously entered into a mystical state after a series of near-death experiences, fears, and other phenomena.
The Power of Now is the most original self-help book there is. Eckhart Tolle shares his experiences combined with the ones of others in order to produce a high-quality piece of material.
The present moment is all there is, perhaps one day everyone will stop worrying about the future and start living “here and now.” Likewise, the concept of “here and now” doesn’t refer to time, but to presence.
Becoming aware of the ever-lasting truth is the only mission to every person according to Eckhart. Many phenomena and inner sensations keep us away from the ever-present truth.
“The Power of Now Summary”
To open your eyes means to open your heart to the possibility that you’ve been wrong your entire life. “The Power of Now” talks about the current sensations that trouble your mind.
The ego state represents everything visible, or everything that you can see. The seeing process moves beyond the “eyes” and transforms into an inner awakening experience. Our book summary stimulates all people from every corner of this world, to really comprehend the message that Eckhart Toller tries to convey.
According to many testimonies, not just by ordinary people but by many celebrities and renowned personalities, “The Power of Now” is one of those once in every hundred years kind of things. The book was first published in Canada, shortly afterward many people reported transformation, healing, and even miracles. The immense impact had spread throughout the continent and further.
What really happened?
Thanks to this beautiful masterpiece, the world has entered into a new stage.
This new “trend” tends to get the best out of you, challenges you on every level and gets you out from personhood. Above all, the dominant energy emerging from it confuses your spaciousness, Eckhart Tolle draws examples from his personal experience to help you retain it.
Instead of relying on your imposed beliefs, and concepts, you can open your mind to the ultimate truth and become one with it.
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.
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.
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 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 a focus on the present is another important issue that Echkart brings into a 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 mandatory 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 to 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 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 “The Power of 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.
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 “The Power of Now”!!!
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, “The Power of Now” 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:
Key Lessons from “The Power of Now”
1. Thinker or thinking – Which one is correct?
2. The last battle you must take
3. Don’t feed your “I.”
Thinker or thinking – Which one is correct?
One tricky question can help you understand this book. Am I the thinker of thoughts or thoughts appear in me? Take a deep breath before you answer, if you’re ready to dig deeper you’ll see that thoughts occur spontaneously and you have no control over them.
Stop with the “I” am in command of my life and get the big picture. The sooner you realize it, the better.
The last battle you must take
Another critical point is the eagerness for transformation, absent that you’ll drift around purposeless. An inner change requires alertness and vigilance. Don’t take it as a fact-filled book, if you are looking for scientific discoveries about human consciousness you are on the wrong path.
Fight with your self-made personality and come out a winner on the other side.
Don’t feed your “I.”
A habit is a severe problem, often when someone insults somebody else on a personal level, that someone feels disgusted and crushed. Change your perspective, that person is not referring to your real nature. Your self-created“I” is not your actual representative – a point often overlooked.
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“The Power of Now” QuotesLove 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. Click To Tweet As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle to dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. Click To Tweet 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. Click To Tweet Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now. Click To Tweet Although I was privileged to give birth to it, I feel that the book has taken on a life and momentum of its own. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
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 whole new understanding of life.
[NEW] Extended Summary!
We spend most of our lives thinking about the past and wondering how our future can be different from it. In the meantime, we forget the present moment, postpone our achievements to a distant day, and create dreams that will make us happy if they are fulfilled. To change our lives, we need to start now. And that is why Eckhart Tolle wrote this book. Living the present moment is the best path to our happiness and success. Eckhart combines concepts from Christianity, Buddhism and other religions to help us live the present. In this microbook, we seek to create a practical manual to fully live the present and thus find our happiness and harmony. Are you ready?
THE ROOT OF ALL YOUR PROBLEMS IS IN YOUR MIND
All the problems of humanity converge to something in common: the human mind. Our mind hides our true identity, creating a mask. This mask prevents us from achieving inner peace, where we achieve complete calm, perfect balance and stability. We all live desperately seeking the peace of mind, but most of us are unaware that this peace lies deep within ourselves. Why? Because our minds are full of chaos. Within each of our minds there is a silent chaos and, in this chaotic environment, it is impossible to find our inner peace.
We are all guilty of living long periods in our mental conflicts. Let’s ease our troubles and think. Instead of helping us, it is more common that it gets us more problems. It is very important to recognize that our thoughts and identity are two separate things. Try to recognize when your mind is using you and not the other way around. Silencing your mental voice can have a great positive effect. Observe your mental processes as an objective observer and assess whether they are helping or disrupting you. You are not your mind. Always remember that your mind is just a tool. The sooner you stop associating your identity with your mind, the sooner you gain clarity.
THE TWO FACES OF OUR PERSONALITIES
We all present dualities in our personality – the ‘I’ we show the world is quite different from the inner ‘I’. This duality creates conflicts that can be manifested in different ways, such as depression, fear, and other complex negative feelings. The truth is that all these feelings would disappear if we stopped identifying ourselves with our mask.
When you become aware of your real identity, you enter into an “enlightened state,” where your mind is no longer trapped. Being aware of your inner identity and keeping yourself aware of it should be your goal as it will help you understand that all of your problems are in reality just an illusion of your mind.
Another effect of knowing your true inner-self is to understand how all creation is intertwined. In religious terms, you could say that the Supreme Being – God or whatever you want to call it – exists within every creature in the Universe, creating a relationship between all of us. This understanding shows how life cycles do not end when a person dies since the same essence lives within millions of other people.
THE POWER OF NOW CAN END YOUR MENTAL CHAOS
It is possible to use ‘The Power of Now’ to silence the mind. The mind tends to continue traveling from thought to thought. To stop this incessant activity, you need to focus all your attention on the present moment. Consciously take your thoughts away from this travel pattern and bring them back to the present moment. This may seem difficult at first, your mind tends to wander the instant your attention swings, but when you notice that this is happening, simply bring it back to the ‘now’. With practice, you will find that you can do this for longer and longer periods of time.
You can do this while you do your daily activities as well. Simply bring all your focus to the work you are doing at that moment. Try the activity using all your senses. For example, if you are having lunch, try to feel the food in your mouth, try the textures, taste different tastes and observe the colors of the food. There are many ways to really feel, enjoy and try something, even a simple piece of fruit or a drink.
Keep practicing, and you will begin to realize that by becoming fully aware of your current activity and experiencing it fully, your thoughts are no longer occupying the central space.
You have now separated from your mind. In fact, you can sit and look at your thoughts as an impartial observer, as well as experience the sweet or the bitter and the hot or the cold for a few moments and then enjoy a completely different taste.
YOUR IDENTITY IS NOT REPRESENTED BY YOUR EMOTIONS
When you feel strong emotions, it may be impossible to separate from them by focusing on the present. For a brief moment, you are “possessed” by the emotion, and it controls you. It is impossible to prevent this from happening. Just as you did with your thoughts, when you observe your emotions as a disinterested third person, they flow through you and eventually dissipate. When you associate emotions with your identity, you give yourself room to continue feeling them.
However, turning off your emotions is a popular technique to keep away the painful experiences. For example, if you stop yourself from being nervous, you can avoid saying or doing things you would probably regret later. But in your constant struggle to become free of emotions, are you not causing yourself much more pain? Even worse, if you lose this fight, you will certainly feel disappointed and, but if you succeed, then you will be happy. Are not these two things emotions too? The most effective way to break the power that emotions have over you is to watch them as a disinterested stranger and let them flow and disappear. This becomes possible when you stay focused on the present moment instead of focusing on your emotions.
DO NOT LET FEAR KEEP YOU FROM LIVING THE MOMENT
Often it is fear that makes it impossible for you to live the present. Identify where this fear comes from, and you will see that it arises because our physical form has an expiration date. For example, think about a common fear that most of us have – the fear of getting old. You will realize that what is dominant is the fear of what old age brings in terms of physical changes and the inability to do the things you are doing now. So, you are afraid of the destruction of your body that comes with aging.
And what if aging did not affect you physically? Would you still care about that? Another cause of fear is that your identity is connected with your ego, which can be hurt. When you learn to look, as an impartial observer, what your mental processes, you know that your ego is not your real “me”. So why fear hurting your ego?
What you need to do is take your attention away from these false beliefs and invest everything into your real self, focusing on the present moment. The most effective way to achieve this is to practice self-observation. Keep an eye on you, see how your fears unconsciously prevent you from living the present. Once you understand this, you will learn to choose to avoid resistance and negativity by focusing on the present moment and overcoming your fears.
LEARN FROM THE PAST, BUT DO NOT FIGHT AGAINST IT
It is not easy to dismiss your mask and find your inner self. One of the obstacles you may face is your inner resistance to the present. When your mind is in constant conflict, unable to accept what is happening in your life, it creates pain. To get your mind off these conflicts, you should start focusing on the present moment instead of the future or the past. This causes you to be able to take your mind off future problems and past mistakes.
Learning from the past and preparing for the future is very important. However, struggling with an awaited future or grappling with the past causes you to be trapped in a psychological time that is counterproductive and the root of all negative thoughts. Understand that there is a difference between the time that flows naturally in the universe, the time of the clock and the psychological time that exists only in your mind.
Getting rid of all your troubles can happen now, at this time. You just have to recognize and embrace it. Think about it: when you focus your attention on the present moment, are there problems? No! The problems are in some uncertain future or have existed in some remote past. Why let them occupy your thoughts and identity now? Learn to look into the present moment and realize the truth – that the present moment cannot hurt you.
HAVE ATTITUDE AND ACCEPT THE CONSEQUENCES
Another important factor is knowing that the way you handle your problems depends on you. Control is in your hands, though you may sometimes feel that your life is losing control. Accept the problems or solve them – these are the two solutions available. To fight with what was or what will be is useless because it does not help you to find any of the solutions. However, look at problems as independent events occurring in your life rather than seeing them as your own life, and then you will be able to choose which solution you want. Avoiding struggling with the past, or pursuing the future does not mean apathy. In fact, it is absolutely necessary to have the attitude when you realize that you are becoming negative. For example, you find yourself in a situation at work that does not make you happy. Maybe you have a picky boss who has unrealistic expectations about you, or there is a staff member who refuses to do his part. There are two attitudes available – either to change the situation or to accept it. No matter what solution you choose, be ready to face the consequences of your actions.
There may be situations where you are afraid to take any kind of attitude. In such cases, simply accept the fear and you will see that it becomes insignificant. When this happens, the situation no longer occupies your thoughts nor causes constant worry or sadness.
USE THE POWER OF NOW TO CREATE AND MAINTAIN THE PERFECT RELATIONSHIP
It is said that love shows the way to salvation or to know one’s “true self.” The truth is that love can turn into hate (and often it transforms). Clearly, this is not the way to salvation. Love is definitely a very intense feeling, and can easily be mistaken for other feelings (such as joy, anger, frustration, etc.) that we experience every day. In fact, its intensity can be a problem because there may come a time when you feel terrified at the thought of losing the person you love. At that point, you begin to live in fear of what may happen in the future. Again you are stuck in your worries about a future event that may or may not actually happen.
What you need to understand is that you can only lose the person who is the object of your love, not love itself. You can not lose love because it is a feeling that comes from within you. It is in your hands to feel or to stop feeling. Whether it is reciprocal or not, it does not change the amount of love you feel. There is also no way to change the amount of love another person feels, so why fight it?
So, learn to enjoy the love you are receiving and giving in that moment. You will not get caught worrying about the future destination of the relationship. Nor will it put unnecessary pressure on your partner to love in a particular way or degree, a pressure that is the cause of the destruction of many relationships between couples who were apparently perfect.
LIVING IN THE PRESENT CAN HELP YOU LIVE WITH A PURPOSE
We all know that it is important to have a purpose in life. Often, you are so focused on what you want to achieve that you do not pay attention to how you are getting there. As a result, life becomes a race in which you are constantly chasing after the goal. Reaching the goal is very important, but only if you do not lose your inner peace. Living the gift can help you live your life with a goal, but without compromising your happiness.
The first thing to do is to detach yourself from the past, because only then can you focus on your purpose. Your past is already a part of you because of your attitudes, beliefs and so on. You have been shaped by everything that happened in the past. So why keep constantly thinking about the past? Do not pay attention to it and you will succeed in leaving it behind.
One of the biggest challenges of leaving the past behind is because you find it impossible to forget and forgive the pain others have caused you. Anger and abusive words caused by a loved one can generate pain many years after the incident. Unless you can leave these situations in the past, you will not be able to overcome the negative emotions that come with them.
To truly leave the past behind, forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools. Forgive your past offenses, forgive those who have despised you and forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made. When you forgive, you can finally take your mind off all those thoughts and emotions.
The next question is to live consciously in the present. All of this means that you are intensely aware of the present moment. When you achieve this, you can be alert and free of conflicting thoughts that make it impossible to make decisions.
HOW TO LIVE IN THE PRESENT?
Here are some practical things you can do to live in the moment. Breathing helps to wake your cells. Bring your attention to your breath, to draw attention from your mind and focus on your inner-self. Engage in creative activities. Creativity needs the participation of your true inner-self and your outer-self. When you are involved in these activities, you are accessing your hidden self.
Learn meditation techniques to understand how you can look at your true self. When meditating, be aware of the latent energy you never feel when you are stuck in your daily activities and worries. You will be able to calm your mind and withdraw it from the continuous cycles of thoughts that keep coming in and existing in your mind throughout the day. That’s why people talk about how they feel calm after a meditation session and how they think more clearly. It is because meditation allows them to disconnect from their thoughts for a brief moment, leaving chaos behind.
Consciously bring your mind to a state of pause when your thoughts get very chaotic. When you realize that your mind is clinging to an incessant noise, take a step back and enjoy the stillness and peace. Focus your mind on the fact that your thoughts are not your identity. Your feelings and emotions don’t speak in the name of your true identity.
When you are successful in maintaining your focus in the present moment, your mental and emotional health will benefit as well as your physical health. In fact, a clear and visible sign that you have begun to live the present is that the signs of aging are slowing down. What happens is that when you continue struggling with your future or past, your aging process is accelerated. When you enjoy every moment of your life, your cells are revitalized, and you look and feel younger for longer.
KEEP YOUR MENTAL HEALTH INDEPENDENT OF THE SITUATION
Peace is not linked to happiness or unhappiness. You can be at peace even if your life situation is bad when you understand that the situation is bad just because you perceive it that way. This means that it is only the perception of what is good or bad. Accept what is so there is no resentment, fear or expectations. Disconnect yourself from your life situations. When you do this, the situation will flow over you and dissipate without affecting your inner peace. Remember this, for when you allow your ego and your identity to be connected, you will find it difficult to forget the situation.
For example, you may have had a poor performance at work and are always worried about what your superiors and colleagues will say about it. At that moment, it is your ego that is afraid of being hurt. The fact is you know that your performance was poor. That means you are aware of what needs to be changed. The correct attitude is to focus on how to change your work style or improve your skills so that this does not happen again.
Realize that your superiors or colleagues can only tell you what you already know: that you have performed poorly. Now the situation becomes very simple all of a sudden. Separate yourself from your ego and realize that the “bad” part of the situation has passed. What remains is you to prove that you can be better. Once you shift your attention to what is needed in that present moment – working on a solution to the situation – the problem instantly disappears. In fact, it becomes positive because you have used it as fuel for your efforts to excel at your job!
SURRENDER TO THE PRESENT
The word “surrender” instinctively evokes fear, because you compare it with “renunciation of fate,” acceptance of the situation, apathy, or omission. But that is not true. Giving up just means accepting the truth. This clarifies your thoughts and brings focus to the situation instead of holding you back to the reactions and emotions associated with it. Surrendering brings clarity of thought so that you take the proper attitude to change your situation. As we have seen from the example given above, this type of surrendering, followed by appropriate action, helps you to use every bad situation in your favor in some way. Does that mean that there are no more bad situations or bad experiences in your life? They are all simply an opportunity to learn more, to work on your skills, or to figure out the right attitude to take. And that’s the way to use the true ‘Power of the Now’ to transform your life!
Harnessing the Power of Now allows you to discover your true-self. It gives you new insights about yourself and shows you how your ego and your mind are the cause of all your problems. Living in the present moment makes it very evident that your life, the situations and all the things you perceive as problems are illusions. Reality is only the present moment. When you learn this, you reveal your true inner self, which is not affected by time, experiences, emotions or the expectations of the people around them. This power gives you simple examples to show how we can get stuck in the future or in the past and forget to enjoy life in the present. As a result, we live regretful of the past that we can not change or afraid of an uncertain future. In this process, we neglect many opportunities that come our way in the now. We also allow the fallacy of time to overshadow our perception and lead us to associate our identity with our thoughts. When we learn to live in the present moment, we reveal our true identity and understand how to make the most of each precious moment.
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