After reading Eckhart Tolle’s book ‘The power of now’: my understanding of being ‘present’ completely changed. I would have said years ago, that I was always present; but in reality, a high percentage of my awareness was absorbed in my own thinking.
At school registration the teacher would call my name, and I would say ‘present’; but I was thinking about playing football after school. When reading ‘the power of now’, I came to the realisation a great deal of mental activity is pointless and a waste of energy. The mind makes sense of the world, based on past experience; but this can cloud the ability to interpret the present moment the way it is.
Incessant thinking is extremely stressful and addictive. The mind is a phenomenal instrument when used correctly; however, it makes sense of the world based on what happened in the past. It is from the mind’s biased running commentary of life, it distorts the present moment.
It is not surprising today that so many people are seeking the next ‘miracle drug’ or even ‘therapy’ to become widely available. Something simple to help them cope with the pressures of daily life. For many people, medication and psychological treatment are helpful, but not the complete solution to overcoming this collective mental dysfunction.
When I first picked up ‘The power of now’ and started reading, I slowly changed my relationship with the present moment. In the past, I was always trying to escape where I was, looking to be somewhere more interesting or exciting. On Monday morning, I wanted it to be Friday evening.
The present moment became an inconvenient barrier to something better. If I was stuck in traffic, I became angry and stressed: ‘What’s going on here?’, ‘I’m sick of this!’ I would say.
The thinking mind was running my life and causing chaos, especially when I reacted to challenging situations. Toxic emotions like anger and resentment felt like they were growing stronger, the more attention I gave them.
So how did the ‘power of now’ change things for me?
The key to being timeless
I found inner peace by practicing presence in a quiet room. I started becoming aware of my own thoughts: I became ‘the watcher’ of my mind. When I started doing this, I noticed my thoughts initially slowed down, before speeding up again. I became aware of the perpetual thoughts: the narrative, the concepts, the themes, the judgements and points of view. It was quite a shock!
When you become aware of your own thoughts, without labelling or judging them: you are conscious of your own consciousness. This is a type of meditation, that when I practice it in solitude: it allows me to feel a deep sense of inner peace. This state of consciousness is the power of now: abundant, joyful and timeless.
It is by consciously entering this timeless state of being, and making this practice part of your daily routine: barriers and perceived limitations to achieving your goals become manageable. The very way you see adversity changes, it accelerates your personal growth and spiritual development.