The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle: How to Live in the Present Moment
The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle, is a powerful book on spirituality and achieving happiness in the present moment. Many of us believe our problems are unique to us and that we are the only one who is going through certain challenges and adversities, but actually in reality, much of our anxieties are derived the same but we experience and interpret the meanings differently by choosing what we focus on.
We live in a society where our minds are constantly being bombarded with fear, worry, anxiety about the past and future that we neglect what is happening in the present moment.
“If only I could turn back the clock, I should have done this”
“What will I do if I lost a love one tomorrow, how will I survive?”
All negative emotions are ultimately caused by denying the present moment — anxiety, stress, worry are feelings about the future. Guilt, regret, bitterness, grief are caused by focusing on past events that have already occurred. By denying the present, we cultivate much of our negative energy this way.
Worrying and immersing yourself in negative thoughts makes life incredibly miserable and it can have debilitating effects. When we lose ourselves in our thoughts we have a tendency to amplify and magnify situations that are beyond our control.
However, we have the ability to control our thoughts and redirect our focus if we truly choose to.
We must accept that future events can never occur unless the time for them to occur has come. We are not guaranteed the future so it is pointless to immerse yourself in a state of anxiety about the future.
We must wait for the future to come to us instead of vainly trying to make it happen in our heads and acknowledge that nothing happens outside the present moment and we should avoid entertaining negative thoughts to the point where it consumes our mind and becomes out of control.
One question we should ask ourselves is “when was the last time something happened and took place exactly how you expected it to?”
The answer is never. We are unable to anticipate exactly how future events will occur, even if we do predict outcomes correctly.
You may think that these ideas sound great, but not very practical in reality.
The key is to practice becoming detached from the outcome, being content with or without achieving the end result. Much of our attachment on the outcome comes from a place of ego which often limits our success and finding true happiness.
Of course this is easier said than done, especially when we are living in a world where we are constantly being personally identified with what we have in the external world, where so much pleasure and reward is associated with the achievement of things.
Emotional freedom comes from the acceptance that we cannot control the outside world but we can control our inner world.
A common belief that we have is that if we achieve a certain goal then we will become happy.
However, how often do we also hear that some people who appear to have it all are deeply depressed inside?
This is often a trap that we place on ourselves and we should never become attached to the achievement of goals. We are encouraged to strive towards a goal but should never place a moral judgement of our success only through obtaining the end result.
This is often how many people get depressed. They have become identified with having something and if reality does not meet their expectations or standards of how they perceive or have designed their life to be, they lose their sense of self and identity.
We must embrace the present moment and live each day to its fullest because by entertaining negative thoughts about the future, we will cause ourselves to unnecessarily inflict pain upon ourselves and if we are not presently living then we are slowly dying.
We must ask ourselves empowering questions such as:
“If we managed to face hardships and challenges in the past, what makes us doubt our ability to deal with the road ahead?”
We should anticipate the road ahead and think about our future, but instead of immersing ourselves and focusing on worrying about the problems and potential pain we may encounter, we should shift our focus on the now, because we have the power to control our thoughts at this present moment, and the future can only happen after the present moment has passed.
We live in a time where many of us are operating from a place of fear and stress. Not only is this a miserable way to live, it is psychologically and physically debilitating.
The Power of Now should not be interpreted to completely let go of thinking long-term and the future. By not being mindful of the future, this would actually be considered as gratifying the ego by saying that we should be careless and reckless because we have no control over it.
Rather, it is about experiencing what is happening in this very moment and not being overly consumed with worrying about future events that may or may not happen.
Imagine you are a mountain climber, accomplishment isn’t actually being at the peak, but neither is sitting aimlessly at the bottom. Happiness comes from the journey and sense of achievement in climbing up towards the peak. This analogy helps us to understand that there is so much beauty to be appreciated on the journey and not just getting the end result.
The Power of Now teaches us mindfulness, finding peace through acceptance and living presently.
“Realise deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the now the primary focus of your life”.
The Power of Now is a guide to spiritual enlightenment. It offers us a simple concept but can be so powerful if manifested practically. I read this book at a time where I was consumed with so much regret and pain through decisions that I had made in the past that resulted in a severe negative impact on my future.
The pain has been so unbearable that my mental health was seriously unstable and I have been searching for a greater meaning and finding peace in the situation. It has offered me a fresh perspective on developing a more empowering outlook on life. By focusing on the only moment we have available to us, we can free ourselves emotionally of the negativity that clouds much of our daily thoughts.
Have you read The Power of Now? What are your thoughts on the fundamental principles of the book? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.