By Jianna Bajar (Freshman Student)
The Power of Now, a 1997 novel written by Eckhart Tolle, discusses the importance of living in the now. This book emphasizes presence, thinking, and spirituality. The book explains how thinking can introduce needless pain and suffering, and that you can reduce this in your life by living in the present.
As a teenager, the idea of living in the present has always been very appealing to me because at times, thinking about my future becomes scary. So, when I found the audiobook for The Power of Now, I had to listen to it. After listening to the audio of this book before going to sleep one night, I have learned the pivotal elements to using the Power of Now to the fullest in day-to-day life.
Eckhart Tolle’s book has many lessons that will help any person live more in the present and gain more of a sense of what it means to live now. Here are some of my favorite lessons, and the ones that I will keep in mind as I am doing my best to live in the present.
#1 Life is Always Just Present Moments A principal way to rewire your thinking in relation to The Power of Now, is to think of your life as a succession of many present moments. Instead of a story that has past events, present events, and future events, one should think of their life as present moments over and over, succeeding one after the other. With this thinking in mind, you can highlight the value of making the most of the present day instead of stressing about the future.
#2 Pain is Resisting Things you Can’t Change One of Tolle’s claims is that the only pain that we, as humans, experience stems from resisting things in our past that we cannot change. This pain is essentially unnecessary, and to be released from this pain, we should stop worrying about the things in the past that cannot be changed and start living in the present to heal from the past, instead of dwell on it. #3 Free Yourself by Observation A vital way to rid yourself of the suffering of stress and pain regarding the past or future is to observe your own thoughts. One should observe their own thoughts without judgment. If you just notice the thought that is troubling you, you can just accept that it is troubling you, and then move on. If you are to scold yourself for wasting time on these stressful thoughts, it will go on and on in a cycle, instead just be aware of what your mind is focusing on to stop fear or anxiety in its tracks. #4 Full Attention to the Now You should always strive to live in the now, no matter what you are doing, no matter where you are. You should put your undivided attention in the present moment you are in. This means that for example when at work, doing work, at class, completing assignments, your mind should fully be in the present moment. You must accept the present moment that you are in. This will make all of your day-to-day experiences richer and more fulfilling, and aid anxiety or pain. #5 Don’t Let the Mind Wander It is important to accept all the thoughts you experience, but that does not insinuate that you can let your brain wander without paying attention to what is happening in current time. To not let the brain wander takes practice, but in The Power of Now, Tolle emphasizes the significance of teaching yourself to refocus when distracted so that you can see what is happening in the present moment. #6 Acceptance is Not Defeat Accepting one’s thoughts or circumstances is not synonymous to defeat. Accepting your circumstances signifies that you can stop focusing on the pain and begin to change it or act upon these feelings. Defeat would be letting these negative thoughts prevent you from living in the present. #7 Focus on Positive Things When you begin to train your mind to focus on the present, you should also practice focusing on positive things in the present day as opposed to thinking about the negative events. Thinking in this manner results in a happy feedback loop that leads your mind to feel encouragement when focusing on the present, as eventually you will start to expect the good things instead of fearing bad things. #8 Avoid Complaining Tolle emphasizes that complaining is a negative behavior that does no good for anyone. Complaining is a roadblock regarding living in the now. To live in the now, you should do your best to adapt to the circumstances and situations presented to you in your life as opposed to lamenting on the negative things and the past. #9 The Past can Ruin the Future Another lesson that Tolle focuses on is that if one were to spend an excessive amount of time dwelling on the past, it can result in negative behavioral patterns or anxiety that can ruin the future. Dwelling on the past leads to not being able to experience moments as they come to the fullest extent. #10 You Are Not Your Mind This lesson is the book’s spiritual core. This lesson asserts that as human people, we are all beings of pure consciousness, joy, and love. We aren’t our brain and the terror that comes with the organ within your skull. To become enlightened means that you have to be aware that your consciousness is free from our body. All in all, living in the now is a great way to appreciate every second of our lives. Especially now, with the fast-paced world we live in, it is good to just live in the moment. At first, I was apprehensive about living in the present because the future seems so terrifying, but after listening to Eckhart Tolle’s wise words, I learned that living in the now prepares you for the future. This is because if you are living in the now, you will be doing every task presented to you and face every situation with grace because you know that it is the present moment. Focusing on the present tasks and situations in your life will aid in your future. You just have to take a breath and focus on the power of now.