Chapter two of The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle discusses consciousness and how to use it to eliminate pain in the present. He begins by explaining that the mind is threatened by the present. 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.
If you think about it, the Now is timeless – it isn’t in the past, it isn’t in the future, it just is. This timelessness confuses and threatens the mind. While we may need time in order to function in the modern world, if we let it control our minds it can take over our lives. In order to maintain control the mind tries to block what we are feeling in the Now with thoughts of the past and future, and this is what can lead to pain, sadness and anxiety. Too often (myself most definitely included) we waste the present moment by using it as a means to get to the future. But what is the future? It’s something that exists in our mind…it isn’t real yet. I loved his analogy of what it would be like if there was no past or future…
Instead of living your life in the past or future, with brief moments in the Now, do the opposite. Live in the now, with brief moments in the past or future. What if the present moment is unpleasant or painful? Let it be. Be conscious of the moment, acknowledge it and accept it. The act of stepping outside of the mind, knowing that it’s just a moment and it will pass, will give you an inner sense of freedom.
Sometimes we carry pain from past experiences with us. It accumulates inside us, as a negative energy that sometimes comes out. Do you ever feel that unsettled feeling, like something’s bothering you but you don’t know what it is? That could very well be the past pain trying to rear it’s head. Catch it. Face it. “It’s survival depends on your unconscious identification with it, as well as on your unconscious fear of facing the pain that lives in you.” By not facing it, you let it continue to live inside of you and you will feel it again and again. It will manifest itself as anger towards yourself or others. Like the mind, face the pain and be present. Don’t analyze it or worry about it, just acknowledge it. Past pain is unconscious and by being conscious of it, you break the cycle.
Where does fear come from, and why do so many people feel it? Fear comes mostly from the ego, the part of the mind that is constantly thinking about the future…fear of loss, failure and mostly death. The ego tries to overcome this through power… power over a situation, in a relationship, over others. But true power, the power to step outside that fear, is within.
Another type of pain we feel is that of want…wanting certain possessions, success, etc. The ego tells us we need these things to feel complete, making us feel uneasy and unfulfilled. These things don’t make you you. When we leave this world, we’ll leave the way we came in…without any possessions, without any of the things that aren’t really you. Tolle ends chapter two with this very profound statement: “The secret of life is to ‘die before you die’ – and find that there is no death.”
What did you all think of chapter two? Share your thoughts below!