Books: Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now”, by Pranada Devi
A twenty-nine-year-old man lived in almost continuous anxiety and times of suicidal depression. He experienced dread, alienation and self-loathing to a point that became entirely unbearable and said to himself, “I cannot live with myself any longer.” Then he suddenly became aware that this was a peculiar thought. “Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with. Maybe only one of them is real.”
This realization stopped his mind entirely and he awoke into a state of peace and bliss. Since then, an undercurrent of peace has never left his mind, and he eventually became a spiritual teacher. The young man’s name was Eckhart Tolle.
As years went by and his state of joy and peace became known to others, people would ask him how they could attain what he had. “I would say: ‘You have it already. You just can’t feel it because your mind is making too much noise.’” That answer, he says, later grew into the book “The Power of Now”.
Tolle’s teaching is that humans have suffered for eons due to collective mind-patterns that keep us out of the present moment: unconsciousness, dysfunction, attachment to illusion and to pain. When we are enslaved to the mind, as most of us are, we suffer tremendously. “The Power of Now” is about recognizing this suffering and awakening to the truth that we have a choice about it, and that all the different spiritual teachings have been pointing the way to the truth.
Tolle contends that the ego, the false self created by unconscious identification with the mind, keeps us from being fully present.
“To the ego, the present moment hardly exists. Only past and future are considered important. This total reversal of the truth accounts for the fact that in the ego mode the mind is so dysfunctional. It is always concerns with keeping the past alive, because without it – who are you? It constantly projects itself into the future to ensure its continued survival and to seek some kind of release or fulfillment there. It says: ‘One day, when this, that or the other happens, I am going to be okay, happy, at peace.’ Even when the ego seemed to be concerned with the present, it is not the present that it sees: It misperceives it completely because it looks at it through the eyes of the past. Or it reduces the present to a means to an end, an end that always lies in the mind-projected future. Observe your mind and you’ll see that this is how it works.”
He goes on to point out, “The present moment is all you ever have. There is never a time when your life is not ‘this moment’.”
The Power of Now has the inspiring, resonant energy of someone who teaches from personal experience – not simply mouthing the words they have heard others speak. Tolle highlights how the texts of many different spiritual traditions have pointed to the beauty and miracle of life in the egoless present. The book is a kind and wise support to any spiritual path or awakening process.
Pranada Devi is a communications professional living in Toronto, Canada. She is the Managing Editor of Parvati Magazine, and serves as an advisor on marketing communications for Parvati’s various projects.