Chapter 3 of The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle is titled “Moving deeply into the Now.” In it, Tolle goes into further detail about the importance of the Now and how to remain present. As much as I’ve found the book incredibly enlightening so far, I’ll admit that I still didn’t feel that moment of being purely present that he keeps talking about – until now. I don’t know if it was this latest chapter that helped me or reading the book overall but it was a wonderful moment – I’ll explain how it happened below :).
The chapter begins with the question, how to you disidentify with the mind? Chapters one and two have shown that this is an important step towards being present, but really, how do you do it? “Here is the key: End the delusion of time. Remove time from the mind and it stops – unless you choose to use it.” It seems crazy to not think about time, but the way he explains it makes it sound so simple. Time is an illusion. This goes against the old saying we’ve all probably heard, that time is precious. But is it time that is precious, or is it the moment? Obviously, it’s the moment. Time is irrelevant. As he explains, the past is really just things that occurred in the Now, and the future is really just things that will occur in the Now.
“Just as the moon has no light of its own, but can only reflect the light of the sun, so are past and future only pale reflections of the light, power and reality of the eternal present. Their reality is “borrowed” from the Now.”
At this point Tolle brings up the concept of Zen, which is based upon the idea of being so completely present that nothing can affect you. He mentions Rinzai, a Zen master, who as a method of distracting students from time would ask the question “What, at this moment, is lacking?” Try it right now, and see if it helps move your attention away from time and deeply into the Now. Time is something, like the mind, that we must learn to use only when necessary. As Tolle puts it, “If you set yourself a goal and work toward it (in the Now) you are using clock time. You are aware of where you want to go, but you honor and give your fullest attention to the step that you are taking at this moment.” The practice of not being concerned with the fruit of your action, just the action itself, is one of the oldest spiritual teachings in existence – it’s called Karma Yoga.
So, here’s where the breakthrough happened. All this talk of being present, being in the Now, but I was struggling! I’ve been trying to remember to do this when I get in my car every day to drive home from work. Take a breath, focus on that breath and just be for a moment. Don’t think about your plans for the night or something that happened that day. But it’s not easy. I’ll do it for a minute or so and I don’t feel any different…my mind goes right back to the race of thoughts. But today, it finally happened. Funnily enough, it happened as I was typing this post. The moment may not have been ideal – I’m sitting at my desk, I have music playing, and I’ve got my book in front of me, looking down at the page as I type. But for a brief moment, as I typed one of the passages that Tolle wrote, I wasn’t thinking about what I was writing, I just was…I wasn’t thinking about anything, really. The music was playing and I suddenly found myself noticing my breath…in and out, in and out…and I felt my head on my shoulders, and I felt the beauty of the music in my ears. And it was beautiful.
In hopes that maybe it could help you too, this is the paragraph I was typing:
“Whenever you can, make some room, create some space, so that you find the life underneath your life situation. Use your senses fully. Be where you are. Look around. Just look, don’t interpret. See the light, shapes, colors, textures. Be aware of the silent presence of each thing. be aware of the space that allows everything to be. Listen to the sounds; don’t judge them. Listen to the silence underneath the sounds. Touch something – anything – and feel and acknowledge its Being. Observe the rythym of your breathing; feel the air flowing in and out, feel the life energy inside your body. Allow everything to be, within and without. Allow the “isness” of all things. Move deeply into the now.”
Have any of you had that breakthrough moment yet? How and when did it happen? Share in the comments!
More book club posts from the BLDG 25 Blog.