This week, Life Training Online is reviewing The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, by Eckhart Tolle, the tenth of fifty-two books in the 52 Personal Development Books in 52 Weeks series.
You Are Not Your Mind
For those familiar with Zen teachings or the principles of “no mind”, this chapter will probably sound familiar. According to Tolle, it is in the state of “no-mind” where true awareness — a state of pure consciousness — or the Power of Now, is found.
There is a delusion that the majority of people believe — which is that you are your thought process. The first step in leveraging the Power of Now is understanding that you are not your mind.
Most people are addicted to thinking. They are a slave to the incessant ramblings of their own involuntary internal dialogue. The only difference between you and those “crazy” people you see muttering to themselves on the street is that you are not muttering out loud. The author states that when you can learn to separate yourself from your thinking mind, amazing things will begin to happen in every aspect of your life.
He’s not stating that we have no use for the mind, or thoughts. The mind is a powerful and necessary tool when used in the right context. But like with any tool, we need to be able to put it down — or in this case, shut it off — when we no longer need it.
Consciousness: The Way out of Pain
“The greater part of human pain is unnecessary.” The pain that Tolle refers to is psychological pain due to things like sorrow, worry, anxiety and grief. He says (and I tend to agree) that most of this pain is due to our minds focusing on the past or future — ignoring the now. We refer to our past and find sorrow. We look to the future and experience worry and anxiety. The interesting thing is, none of this worry or sorrow is base on reality. It is all illusory. The only thing that is real is the here and now, which is the source of true joy.
Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry — all forms of fear — are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.
But instead, by being conscious of the present moment, we erase most of this pain from our lives.
It’s important to note that Tolle stresses that the past and future can both be used to enhance the now. We learn from our past to better live our now. And we set goals for the future to keep us on the right path in the now. By using the past and future in these ways, we are in control of our mind and not vice versa.
Moving Deeply into the Now
“Whenever you are able to observe your mind, you are no longer trapped in it.” One of the best ways to enter into the Now is by becoming what Tolle refers to as “the silent watcher.” Become aware of your thoughts and thought process. Don’t judge them, but look at them as a neutral 3rd-party observer would. If your mind goes off on a tangent, stay outside of that tangent in your consciousness and just observe. By regularly practicing this, you will identify less and less with your thinking mind and thoughts.
When you can learn enter the Now at will, the simple joy of Being will flow into everything you do. You will begin to feel a presence, a stillness, and a peace. By acting out of present-moment awareness, everything you do — even the simplest of actions — will become instilled with a sense of care, love, and quality. This is one of the great benefits of learning to live in the Now.
The Power of Now is the tenth of fifty-two books in Life Training – Online’s series 52 Personal Development Books in 52 Weeks.