By The Spiritual Explorer
Dear Spiritual Explorer: What does it mean to “come into the moment?” Laura P., Winnetka, IL
The Power of Now
Dear Laura: I don’t mean to say you’re late to the game, but I swear I hear that phrase “coming into the moment” more these past two years than I think in my whole life. Of course, I would say that this is because more people are “waking up” in the sense of perhaps taking more responsibility in their lives and not wanting to be identified as victims. When I say victims, I mean those of us who are still looking to the past and others to blame for our situations that are occurring now. An attitude like that is certainly not a prosperous or even healing one, but it is one that gives certain people a feeling of comfort when they feel they cannot dig themselves out of a self-perpetuated “hole.” However, if I were to commend any one author for single-handedly moving people away from self-imposed blame of themselves and others into a more spiritual stance, I would call on Eckhart Tolle as particularly outlined in his book The Power of Now.
In The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle speaks of how we need to leave our analytical mind, also known as the ego, behind in order to step into a more powerful creative place where we can be happier, lighter, freer and consequently lead more joyous lives. A big secret to doing this is becoming aware of our “presence,” or that eternal, ever-present piece of our Being, which is beyond the forms of life subject to birth and death. To be conscious of presence is to present in this moment. When one is present in the moment, one is no longer identified with the mind, which is replete with your conditioning. When you act from that mind of conditioning you are essentially not as free as you wish to be. Once I woke up at a vacation spot at about 4 in the morning, and I said to myself, “I can do whatever I want to do; nothing is keeping me back from my life.” For a short space of time, I realized what it was to be free of conditioning. How wonderful that must be for those of us who no longer have a “history” to which they refer when they think of doing something in their lives. That is the power of the now.
Eckhart Tolle speaks of the power of now
Eckhart Tolle tells us that nothing happens in the future; it happens in the now. When we think of the past, it is but a memory trace, stored in the mind, of a former now. The future is an imagined now, a projection of the mind. When the future comes, it comes as the now. Past and future obviously have no reality of their own. Even what we are saying now cannot be understood by the mind; however the moment you grasp it, there is a shift in consciousness from mind to Being, from time to Presence. And in the moment of the power of now, there is joy, aliveness, excitement and vitality! Worth grasping.
How identification with mind interferes with the power of now
When one is identified with our mind, one sometimes recreates patterns learned in the past in which pain situations are viewed and taken as reality. This identification with this pain then colors our present and limits our choices. We then act in unconscious ways. Tolle also talks of the pain body which can react unconsciously anytime a painful situation triggers a response.Being aware of the pain body can bring some detachment and perhaps another desired, more peaceful response.
Being free of acting unconsciously
How can we be free of acting unconsciously? Eckhart Tolle tells us to observe the many ways in which increase, discontent and tension arise with a thorough unnecessary judgment, resistance to what is and denial of the now and the power of the now. He tells us that unconsciousness dissolves when you shine the light of consciousness upon it. Once dissolved, the light of your presence will shine brightly and it will be easier to view your situation.
Humanity has long awaited this book and it is this book that will hopefully bring us to that long-awaited awareness and presence that Eckhart Tolle speaks to through his many books and lectures.
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