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This microbook is a summary/original review based on the book: The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
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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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 are not your 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.
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!
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 in our lives.
12min tip: If you liked this title, we think you will also love our microbook based on The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg. Check it!
Eckhart Tolle is a German-born Canadian writer and spiritual teacher. His work is mostly associated with his inner transformation rather than any specific religious teaching. He was named “the... (Read more)
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