Tolle’s “The Power of Now” Offers a Cure for the Clutter in Your Head
When I was out of work, clutter camped out in my head. I worried about how I would pay my bills. I fretted over what I could have done to avoid the lay off. I rehearsed the worse case scenarios (that would likely never happen) repeatedly over and over again. This unhealthy, obsessive mental regurgitation drove me crazy. Worse yet, it added confusion when what I needed was clarity so I could be at my best for my job search.
Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now” offered me sound advice for overcoming this insanity. (He’s the guy Oprah Winfrey promoted for his book “A New Earth.”) Now this is the second time I read “Power” and I find it more insightful now that the first time. Why? Probably because it’s been a few years since I first read it and I’ve mentally digested the material from the first time.
Early on in the book, “Power” discusses compulsive thinking. We go over regrets, worry about the future and keep ourselves out of the present moment. As the book’s title suggests, there is power in staying present or in the “Now” as Tolle calls it. The past is behind us and the future is an unknown so the present is the only place where we can make a difference. It’s where we can be aware of ourselves but only if we can weed through the mental noise. Take a look at what Tolle says about experiencing personal enlightenment:
(Question) What is the greatest obstacle to experiencing this reality? (Answer) 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, so it is considered normal. This incessant mental noise prevents you from finding that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being.”
The mental clutter is more than just stressful. It stand is the way of our being complete and realize our full potential. Tolle uses the word “Being” to refer to our awareness of what’s truly happening at a given moment and of God or the supernatural in our lives. Whether we are looking for work, content in our current job, getting through school or charged up about a new career move, we have all this mental chatter. It’s this noise and worry that prevents us from tapping into what can power our future.
Let me see if I can give you examples of why this matters. I am an avid runner. It’s interesting how during long energizing runs (yes some of us find it energizing), I come up with all sorts of creative ideas. I get unexpected insight. Solutions to challenging problems turn up. Physical exercise clears my head from crazy thinking and frees up some sort of energy in me. And it’s not my doing. It just seems to happen.
Here’s another example. Over the years, I’ve developed a practice of quiet meditation. When I first started, I sought after it as if I were on a hunt for something mysterious and mystical. As I have developed my practice, I realized it’s a path that leads to a quiet mind where you can be very aware. And lo and behold, mental busyness stops there. That leads me to a sense of peace.
This is what Tolle wants us to learn in his “Power of Now” book.
“Power” discusses many other concepts surrounding the Now and Being. He makes a point of avoiding terms that have specific religious meanings. He says he fears this might cloud his message. He describes a state of personal presence that can help us gain control over mental chatter and tap into the best of ourselves for taking on what challenges life has given us. It can also further our spiritual walk and relationship with the supernatural.
Hopefully, this will be a big help in taking on life’s challenges. It’s been a big help for me.
As I continue re-reading this book, I will share other concepts and ideas that were valuable to me.
Hope this helps!