As I mentioned last week, I experienced my first breakthrough into the Now last week while reading chapter three of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power Of Now. But if you have yet to experience yours, don’t worry! Just knowing that there is a difference between being present and not being present is half the battle – acknowledging that you are not fully present is a step in the right direction. Before you are able to fully grasp living in the now, you will go through a period of moving back and forth between the mind and the Now. Tolle explains at the start of Chapter four, that “most humans alternate not between consciousness and unconsciousness but only between different levels of consciousness.”
Tolle explains that when we sleep, we move between dreamless sleep and dream state, and when we are awake, most people move between ordinary unconsciousness and deep unconsciousness. Ordinary unconsciousness is most people’s normal state – they are not in the present and are run by the mind/ego. They feel that tug of uneasiness that was discussed back in chapter one. When the unease intensifies and becomes pain, leading to deep suffering and unhappiness, it is the state of deep unconsciousness, and this is the state that can lead to dangerous things like violence.
“The best indicator of your level of consciousness is how you deal with life’s challenges when they come.”
A challenge can flip a switch and wake you up or it can send you deeper into unconsciousness. For example, say someone says something that makes you feel uneasy. You may not even be aware of the unease at first, but it starts to rear its head in the form of anger or jealousy directed towards that person, and you end up fighting with them. Instead of responding this way, acknowledge the unease and make it conscious. Ask yourself why it is there and accept why it is there. Shine a light on it and you will instantly feel better.
“Make it a habit to monitor your mental-emotional state through self-observation. ‘Am I at ease in this moment?’ is a good question to ask yourself frequently.”
Be as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. I found this line so poignant. I hate to admit it but it is so true…we tend to get so caught up in everything going on around us, what other people are doing, how other people think or feel about us – but it is so important to spend as much time thinking about what is going on inside us. When we carry this negative energy around we are not only harming ourselves but civilization as a whole.
I came across this quote a little while back and it immediately came to mind while reading this chapter:
It certainly isn’t easy, but make this your challenge for the next week. When you feel the urge to complain about something, stop yourself. Ask yourself if it is something that you feel strongly enough about to approach a person or situation and act on your feelings. If not, forget it. Just let it go – and when you do, it will feel really good. Knowing that you’ve risen above something, that’ you’ve chosen to let it go and be present, is incredibly empowering.
What do you guys think, do you find it hard to just let things go? Share your thoughts on the book so far below!