04 May 2021

[96] The Power of Now

Eckhart Tolle

The deeper the book, the more I will read it, the more I internalize it, the more I realize I don’t understand it. The more I implement it, the more the book actually changes, or my awareness goes on to certain parts of it that I didn’t grasp before because I was not ready for it yet

I am not my mind

  • My mind is an instrument, a tool. It is there to be used for a specific task, and when the task is completed, I lay it down. As it is, I would say about 80 to 90 percent of most people’s thinking is not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is also harmful. Observe my mind and I will find this to be true. It causes a serious leakage of vital energy
    • Many people have formed identities with the mind; constantly thinking about concepts, ideas, the future and past, always thinking
    • I am not my mind, it is a tool. I can use this tool to create and further my purpose
  • Identification with my mind causes thought to become compulsive
    • I don’t want to think more, I want to think effectively
  • To the ego, the present moment hardly exists. Only past
    • The ego is a naturally born gift that is meant to be grappled with in order to fully recognize how powerful I am and can be
    • The more success that I have, the more the ego will begin to creep up and try to outwit me
    • The ego is not me, so I must not identify with the ego

Consciousness: The way out of pain

  • The pain that I create now is always some form of nonacceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgement. On the emotional level, it is some form of negativity. The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment, and this in turn depends on how strongly I am identified with my mind. The mind always seeks to deny the Now and to escape from it. In other words, the more I am identified with my mind, the more I suffer. Or I may put it like this: the more I am able to honor and accept the Now, the more I am free of pain, of suffering, and free of the egoic mind
    • I understand that what’s happening right now is what’s happening right now, and I am not going to connect that in my mind to stories from my past or ego-based identifications to create anger, resentment, frustration, or anything disempowering. Rather, I will accept the way it is right now and recognize that it is the ego that is attaching to certain kinds of grief and that is not me. This realization allows me to steer myself out of that way and no longer feel it to that magnitude or identify with that negativity
  • If I no longer want to create pain for myself and others, if I no longer want to add to the residue of past pain that still lives on in me, then don’t create any more time, or at least no more than is necessary to deal with the practical aspects of my life. How do I stop creating time? Realize deeply that the present moment is all I ever have
    • I recognize that time does exist, however the most important thing that I am doing is what I am doing right now, in this present moment. Doing so allows me to feel more gratitude, noticing how everything is more vibrant and the experience is improved overall. Then, when I hit my goals, I will value what I hit
  • Accept, then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if I had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it my friend and ally, not my enemy. This will miraculously transform my whole life
    • The key is to accept what happens right now and then from there act. I will be equipped to make a better decision because I am basing it from my source energy, and I am not basing that action based on fear, anger, resentment, or anything else that is an aspect that was constructed through time, past experiences, or stories generated by the mind for the ego

Moving deeply into the now

  • Have I ever experienced, done, thought, or felt anything outside the Now? Do I think I ever will? Is it possible for anything to happen or be outside the Now? The answer is obvious, is it not? Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now
    • Time construct: There is a past and there is a future, but anything that ever happens, happens in the now
  • All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. 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 non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence
    • If I am holding onto any of these, I am uncalibrated. If I start to remove these aspects, then I am now centered and grounded in the Now
  • I think that my attention is in the present moment when it’s actually taken up completely by time. I cannot be both unhappy and fully present in the Now
    • If I am unhappy, then I am not in the Now. I need to do things to bring myself into the Now. Examples include meditation, connecting with people, conversing with others where I am focused on listening and understanding their perspective in order to learn who they are while working with the energy of the conversation

Mind strategies for avoiding the now

  • Wherever I am, be there totally. If I find my here and now intolerable and makes me unhappy, then I have three options: Remove myself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If I want to take responsibility for my life, I must choose one of those three options, and I must choose now. Then accept the consequences. No excuses. No negativity. No psychic pollution. Keep my inner space clear
  • Die to the past every moment. I don’t need it. Only refer to it when it is absolutely relevant to the present. Feel the power of this moment and the fullness of Being. Feel my presence
  • “One day, I’ll make it.” Is my goal taking up so much of my attention that I reduce the present moment to a means to an end? Is it taking the joy out of my doing? Am I waiting to start living? If I develop such a mind pattern, no matter what I achieve or get, the present will never be good enough; the future will always seem better. A perfect recipe for permanent dissatisfaction and nonfulfillment

The state of presence

  • As long as I am in a state of intense presence, I am free of thought. I am still, yet highly alert. The instant my conscious attention sinks below a certain level, thought rushes in. the mental noise returns; the stillness is lost. I am back in time
  • In a sense, the state of presence could be compared to waiting. Jesus used the analogy of waiting in some of his parables. This is not the usual bored or restless kind of waiting that is a denial of the present and that I spoke about already. It is not a waiting in which my attention is focused on some point in the future and the present is perceived as an undesirable obstacle that prevents me from having what I want. There is a qualitative different kind of waiting, one that requires my total alertness. Something could happen at any moment, and if I am not absolutely awake, absolutely still, I will miss it. This is the kind of waiting Jesus talks about
    • Within my awareness right now, there is opportunity. The problem is that I do not see it. I don’t see it because maybe I am too fixated on to my past and I am forming an identity around it, right now. Maybe, I am thinking about what I have to do in the future, therefore I am not valuing what is right now. If this is the case, then how many opportunities am I missing out on in all areas of my life?
  • Many people are so imprisoned in their minds that the beauty of nature does not really exist for them. They might say, “What a pretty flower,” but that’s just a mechanical mental labeling. Because they are not still, not present, they don’t truly see the flower, don’t feel its essence, its holiness, just as they don’t know themselves, don’t feel their own essence, their own holiness

The inner body

  • The feeling of my inner body is formless, limitless, and unfathomable. I can always go into it more deeply
  • Whenever I am waiting, wherever it may be, use that time to feel the inner body. In this way, traffic jams and line-ups become very enjoyable. Instead of mentally projecting myself away from the Now, go more deeply into the Now by going more deeply into the body. “The art of inner-body awareness will develop into a completely new way of living, a state of permanent connectedness with Being, and will add a depth to my life that I have never known before”
  • If I keep my attention in the body as much as possible, I will be anchored in the Now. I won’t lose myself in the external world, and I won’t lose myself in my mind. Thoughts and emotions, fears and desires may still be there to some extent, but they won’t take me over

Portals into the unmanifested

  • Chi is the inner energy field of my body. It is the bridge between the outer me and the Source. It lies halfway between the manifested, the world of form, and the unmanifested. Chi can be likened to a river or an energy stream. If I take the focus of my consciousness deeply into the inner body, I am tracing the course of this river back to its Source. Chi is movement; the unmanifested is stillness. When I reach a point of absolute stillness, which is nevertheless vibrant with life, I have gone beyond the inner body and beyond chi to the Source itself, the unmanifested. Chi is the link between the unmanifested and the physical universe
  • Now, let my spiritual practice be this: As I go about my life, don’t give 100 percent of my attention to the external world and to my mind. Keep some within. I have spoken about this already. Feel the inner body even when engaged in everyday activities, especially when engaged in relationships or when I am relating with nature. Feel the stillness deep inside. Keep the portal open. It is quite possible to be conscious of the unmanifested throughout my life. I feel it as a deep sense of peace somewhere in the background, a stillness that never leaves me, no matter what happens out there. I become a bridge between the unmanifested and the manifested, between the Source and the world. This is the state of connectedness with the Source that I call enlightened

Enlightened relationships

  • Unless and until I access the consciousness frequency of presence, all relationships, and particularly intimate relationships, are deeply flawed and ultimately dysfunctional. They may seem perfect for a while, such as when I am “in love,” but invariably that apparent perfection gets disrupted as arguments, conflicts, dissatisfaction, and emotional or even physical violence occur with increasing frequency
  • Can I change an addictive relationship into a true one?
    • Yes. Being present and intensifying my presence by taking my attention ever more deeply into the Now: Whether I am living alone or with a partner, this meaning the key
    • The greatest catalyst for change in a relationship is complete acceptance of my partner as he or she is, without needing to judge or change them in any way. That immediately take some beyond ego. All mind games and all addictive clinging are then over. There are no victims and no perpetrators anymore, no accuser and accused. This is also the end of all codependency, of being drawn into somebody else’s unconscious pattern and thereby enabling it to continue
  • If I both agree that the relationship will be my spiritual practice, so much the better. I can then express my thoughts and feelings to each other as soon as they occur, or as soon as a reaction comes up, so that I do not create a time gap in which an unexpressed or unacknowledged emotion or grievance can fester and grow
  • If I cannot be at ease with myself when I am alone, I will seek a relationship to cover up my unease. I can be sure that the unease will then reappear in some other form within the relationship, and I will probably hold my partner responsible for it

Beyond happiness and unhappiness there is peace

  • Happiness depends on conditions being perceived as positive; inner peace does not
  • Whenever anything negative happens to me, there is a deep lesson concealed within it, although I may not see it at the time. Even a brief illness or an accident can show me what is real and unreal in my life, what ultimately matters and what doesn’t
  • Ego is the unobserved mind that runs my life when I am not present as the witnessing consciousness, the watcher. The ego perceives itself as a separate fragment in a hostile universe, with no real inner connection to any other being, surrounded by other egos which it either sees as a potential threat or which it will attempt to use for its own ends. The basic ego patterns are designed to combat its own deep-seated fear and sense of lack. They are resistance, control, power, greed, defense, attack. Some of the ego’s strategies are extremely clever, yet they never truly solve any of its problems, simply because the ego itself is the problem
  • I can still be active and enjoy manifesting and creating new forms and circumstances, but I won’t be identified with them. I do not need them to give me a sense of self. They are not my life, only my life situation

The meaning of surrender

  • To some people, surrender may have negative connotations, implying defeat, giving up, failing to rise to the challenges of life, becoming lethargic, and so on. True surrender, however, is something entirely different. It does not mean to passively put up with whatever situation I find myself in and to do nothing about it. Nor does it mean to cease making plans or initiating positive action. Surrender is the simple, but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life. The only place where I can experience the flow of life is the Now, so to surrender is to accept the present moment unconditionally and without reservation
  • If I find my life situation unsatisfactory or even intolerable, it is only by surrendering first that I can break the unconscious resistance pattern that perpetuates that situation
  • The ego is cunning, so I have to be very alert, very present, and totally honest with myself to see whether I have truly relinquished my identification with a mental position and so freed myself from my mind. If I suddenly feel very light, clear, and deeply at peace, that is an unmistakable sign that I have truly surrendered. Then observe what happens to the other person’s mental position as I no longer energize it though resistance. When identification with mental positions is out of the way, true communication begins
  • “How will I know when I have surrendered?”
    • When I no longer need to ask the question

Eckhart Tolle • Joseph Rodrigues Comments Off on [96] The Power of Now