Book Recommendation: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Where to find:

What is it about?

When I read this book, I often go back and forth between pages to remember what I was reading in the previous chapter. The power of now is an enlightenment book, spiritual guidance for your soul. We often let our mind wonders on its own, thinking about what has happened in the past and dwell on it. Other times we think about the future, what would happen next in life. Full of worry and uncertainty. Both our past and future thinking occupy our mind and makes it restless. This book is talking about your life now, at this very moment you are present in life. A life fully in awareness of what is currently happening in front of our eyes. It may sound simple, but when we try to live our present moment with the present mind, we fail to do so.

What I can understand from this book is, by being in the moment we would behave more peacefully within ourselves. Let go of the thing that happens in your past. All of the anger, resentment, dissatisfaction, and regret. Holding onto the past illusion only brings misery to your present. So is the future. Thinking about the future makes us constantly worry, will we be able to provide for our family, will our career keep growing, what our old day will look like.

My Favorite Highlights of the book are:

The stillness of the mind

Have you ever heard 2 voices inside your head? When you do a mistake, one voice will say “you are such a failure, look what you have done. You should be ashamed of yourself”. While the other voice says “it’s not as bad as it seems, you are doing just fine”. It is as if there are 2 people evaluating what just happen. This happens almost all the time in our minds, isn’t it? The power of now suggest when voices in our head start to show up, it could be the ego that tells you that you are not good enough. But with the power of now, by being present at the moment we can be observant of our own mind. Listening to it without judging.

 Since we all come from different paradigms, we see things differently based on our own values and backgrounds. The writer state that we often identify ourselves with our mind causes thought to become compulsive. We are not used to the idea of not thinking of anything in our minds. There is no peace in our mind because it is always thought of something. Mental noises prevent you from finding that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being.

Psychological time

The interesting concept of this book is that there is no past or future. There is only a present moment. Past is the “now” that no longer here, and the future is the “now” that has not yet come. Now is the only time you have, which is why you should focus on your now.

The writer says “All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. There is no salvation in time. You cannot be free in the future. Presence is the key to freedom, so you can only be free now.” Negativity appears in our mind cause we constantly rely on the psychological time where we always try to be in the past dwelling on anxiety, sadness, bitterness, and resentment. So is the future where we tend to be anxious whether we ever going to make it to the future that we dreaming of. The constant thought of the mind wandering around in the psychological time makes us stress and absents in the present moment.

The 3 options

Many people would rather be somewhere else but in the “now”. Maybe because their “now” or reality is difficult. They are not happy with their “now”, their current life situation. As the writer suggests that there are only 3 ways to handle such a situation:

remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences. No excuses. No negativity. No psychic pollution. Keep your inner space clear.”

It is common sense that if you don’t like your life situation then you have the choice to walk away from the situation. In daily life, things like this always happen, and sometimes it is hard to pick the best way for yourself. For example, you are toxic work environment, you can remove yourself by resigning from work, or you could change the situation of work. However, if you don’t want to do either of them, the final choice is to surrender. Whichever you decide, there would be consequences. Your choice should be aligned to being fully present on the “now”.

My take on “the power of now”

Happiness is a state of mind which more likely to occur when we cherish our “now”. Our mind wonders so much on daily basis. Busy worrying about the future and dwelling on the past sorrow. Tons of thoughts going on in our minds and to understand it better we need to start with the “watcher” of our own minds. Evaluate what it was thinking without being judgmental. Trying our best to be fully aware of those thoughts and try to bring ourselves back into the “now”.  

In this modern technology world, it is so difficult to avoid the fast flow of information we receive every day. The application of “the power of now” theory in real life is honestly rather challenging. I haven’t fully grasped the whole concept of being present at the moment, focusing myself on what’s happening now. I think it needs more practice and concentration on doing so and a constant reminder to ourselves to stop overthinking. My mind does still wander off to the past and future rather than seeing my “now” moments that occur in front of my eyes. All of the distractions around me still very much draw most of my energy and attention.

The power of now is a little bit confusing book but interesting at the same time. I do believe that if I am able to train myself to focus on my current situation rather than worrying about what has happened and what could arise in the future, I would be able to shift my perspective in life. Having freedom from such a burden might also release the many stress we always encounter in life. Until then, I guess I have to keep trying or maybe I should re-read the book. 

If you are interested to learn more about the power of now, the writer, Eckhart Tolle have a youtube channel that dedicated to the power of being present  maybe it will help the practice of your power of “now” a lot easier.

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