Practicing the Power of Now (2001) is a distillation of the core teaching of Eckhart Tolle’s best-seller ‘The Power of Now.’ In the book, readers are presented with the idea of reaching an elevated level of consciousness by learning to embrace the present moment. Eckhart Tolle is an author and spiritual teacher and is considered to be one of the most sought after spiritual influencer’s today.
“Practicing The Power of Now” Summary
- “The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not “the thinker.” The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence.”
- Embracing the present moment involves observing your thoughts as well as your emotions and reactions without judgment and identification, as an impartial witness.
- “The moment you realize that you are not present, you are present.”
Eckhart Tolle “Practicing The Power of Now” Summary
Part 1: Accessing the Power of Now
- The greatest obstacle to experience the reality of your connectedness is your identification with your mind, which causes thought to become compulsive. Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction, but we don’t realize this because almost everybody is suffering from it and so we just consider it normal.
- The mind is a superb instrument if used correctly. Used wrongly however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not so much you use your mind wrongly since you usually don’t use it at all, it uses you.
- This is the disease; you believe that you are your mind. This is the delusion. The instrument has taken you over. It’s almost as if you were possessed without knowing it and so you take the possessing entity to be yourself.
- The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not the possessing entity, the thinker. Knowing this enables you to observe the entity. The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated.
- The good news is that you can free yourself from your mind, this is the only true liberation. You can take that first step right now: Start listening to the voice in your head as often as you can. Pay particular attention to any repetitive thought patterns – those old tapes that have been playing in your head perhaps for many years.
- This is what I mean by watching the thinker, which is another way of saying listen to the voice in your head and being there as the witnessing presence. When you listen to that voice, listen to it impartially that is to say do not judge.
- Do not judge or condemn what you hear, for doing so would mean that the same voice has come in again through the back door. You will soon realize: there’s the voice and here I am listening to it, watching it. This ‘I am’ realization, this sense of your own presence is not a thought but it arises from beyond the mind.
- As you listen to the thought, you feel a conscious presence – your deeper self behind or underneath the thought as it were. The thought then loses its power over you and quickly subsides because you are no longer energizing the mind through identification with it. This is the beginning of the end of involuntary and compulsive thinking.
- When a thought subsides you experience a discontinuity in the mental stream, a gap of no-mind. At first, the gaps will be short, a few seconds perhaps, but gradually they will become longer. When these gaps occur you will feel a certain stillness and peace inside you and with practice, this sense of stillness and peace will deepen, In fact, there is no end to its depth.
- Instead of watching the thinker, you can also create a gap in the mind stream simply by directing the focus of your attention into the now. Just become intensely conscious of the present moment.
- In this way, you draw consciousness away from your mind activity and create a gap of no-mind in which you are highly alert and aware but not thinking. This is the essence of meditation.
- The author, Eckhart Tolle provides practical wisdom on embracing the power of the present moment…
- In your everyday life you can practice this by taking any routine activity that normally is only a means to an end, and by giving it your fullest attention so that it becomes an end in itself.
- For example, every time you walk up and down the stairs in your house or place of work, pay close attention to every step every movement and even your breathing. Be totally present.
- When you’re washing your hands, pay attention to all the sense perceptions associated with the activity or when you get into your car after you close the door, pause for a few seconds and observe the flow of your breath – become aware of a silent but powerful sense of presence.
- There is one criterion by which you can measure your success in this practice, the degree of peace that you feel within.
- ‘Mind’ in the way I use the word is not just thought, it includes your emotions as well as all unconscious mental and emotional reactive patterns. Emotion arises at the place where mind and body meet – it is the body’s reaction to your mind or to put it another way, a reflection of your mind in the body.
- The more you are identified with your thinking – your likes and dislikes, judgments and interpretations (which is to say the less present you are as the watching consciousness) the stronger the emotional energy charge will be whether you are aware of it or not.
- If you really want to know your mind, the body will always give you truth for reflection. So look at the emotion or rather – feel it in your body. If there’s an apparent conflict between them, the thought will be the lie and the emotion will be the truth.
- You may not yet be able to bring your unconscious mind activity into awareness as thoughts but it will always reflect in the body as an emotion, and of this you can become aware. To watch an emotion in this way is basically the same as listening to or watching a thought.
- You can allow emotions to be there without being controlled by them. You no longer are the emotion you are the watcher, the observing presence. If you practice this, all that is unconscious in you will surface into the light of consciousness.
- Make it a habit to ask yourself: “What’s going on inside me at this moment?” That question will point you in the right direction. Don’t analyze, just watch by focusing your attention within.
- The term ego means a false self created by unconscious identification with the mind. To the ego, the present moment does not exist, 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 dysfunctional. It is always concerned with keeping the past alive because without it who are you?
- It constantly projects itself in the future to ensure its continued survival and to seek some kind of fulfillment there. It says ‘one day when this that or the other happens I’m going to be okay happy and peace.’ Even when the ego seems to be concerned with the present, it is not the present that it sees because it misperceives it completely since it looks at it from the past.
- When you do use your mind and particularly when a creative solution is needed you tend to oscillate every few minutes or so between thought and stillness, between mind and no-mind. No-mind is consciousness without thought and only in that way is it possible to think creatively because only then does thought have any real power.
- It is essential to bring more consciousness into your life in ordinary situations when everything is going relatively smoothly. In this way you grow in presence power.
- This generates an energy field in you and around you of a high vibrational frequency in which no unconsciousness, no negativity, no discord or violence can enter the field and survive, just as darkness cannot survive in the presence of light.
- When your consciousness is directed outward – mind and world arise. When it is directed inward it realizes its own source and returns home to the un-manifested.
Part 2: Relationship As Spiritual Practice
Part 3: Acceptance and Surrender
More Book Summaries