The Power of Now: Chapter One and Two
Are you reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now along with us? The book is a wisdom treasure trove and I’m doing all I can not to highlight every sentence on every page.
The first chapter deals with the greatest hindrance to enlightenment, The Mind. Let me illustrate, do you ever feel as though there are endless streams of conversations in your head, worrying about things past or those yet to happen? This is the mind, and what this first chapter strives to tell us is that we are not our mind.
So how do you ‘switch off’ your mind? He says, “The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated.” This is to say that when you hear those voices in your head, listen to them. Observe your mind as it thinks, thereby separating yourself from it. In this way, you become a witness to your own mind. This little exercise is what Tolle refers to as “a gap of no-mind.” Once you get here, you are well on your way to being present, in the ‘Now’.
There’s more! The other way to overcome this seemingly ceaseless mental noise is by harnessing all your mental might into the present moment. He gives an illustration:
“When you get in your car [or bike, or matatu or bus … you get the gist] pause for a few seconds and observe the flow of your breath. Become aware of a silent but powerful sense of presence. ”
What are you often thinking about in these seemingly trivial, borderline inconsequential moments? When you need to use your mind, you will. But when you don’t, let it rest.
Chapter two talks about pain: the various ways in which it manifests itself, and how our consciousness makes it its mission to eliminate any form of pain that we might be experiencing in the present moment.
He argues that he mind is threatened by the present (let that sink in). This is because:‘the mind needs the reference of time in order to function and be in control – it thinks of things in terms of the past and future.’
This lack of time hurtles the mind into a state of confusion. In order to get itself some sense of control, the mind does all it can to block out all we might be feeling by drawing to old and lived experiences, or future- yet to happen events. Hence the resulting feelings of anxiety, nostalgia etc. We d up dwelling on the future, in the process, forgetting that the future is a figment of our imagination, it hasn’t happened yet, it’s not real, all we have is now.
Read along with us this month- check back each Thursday for our emails on our favorite quotes and passages and to join in our discussion of the book.