I’m just finishing up a lovely March Break and have my last evening before heading back to work tomorrow. I’ve had a lovely, relaxing week and although there was a snow and wind storm, there was still time for long walks. I was able to listen to more of The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. The more I listen to the book, the more I am enjoying his teachings.
Tolle book spends a lot of time talking about time. He basically describes time as the cause of our suffering and problems. This is a basic problem of the mind — attachment to the past and future and resistance to living in the now.
Tolle suggests that reaching a point in our lives free from problems is not a journey to a distant place. We simply need to be aware that we are in that place now. He suggests that presence is the key to freedom, and we can only be free in the now.
I’ve learned from Tolle that life is not about solving problems. Instead, he suggests that we realize that there are no problems. If we focus our attention on the now, we will see that there are no problems in this moment. Only through reliving past moments or worrying about future happenings can we create the problems that often cause so much drama in our life and drain so much of our life energy.
My first exposure to Eckhart Tolle was last August. I only have a vague recollection of the exact situation. I was in communication with a dear friend from Phase One, either on the phone or by email. I think it was a phone call. I was rattling on about some future worry. It was nothing pressing or life shaking and it was something I was rattling in my brain over and over.
My friend had been reading The Power of Now, and suggested to me that I look around myself in the present and see that in that moment there were no fears, worries, and problems — just me being me. That had a profound impact on me. Over the next few months I often heard my friend’s voice in my head repeating this line to me often. When I saw this book on the audio list, I was eager to download it.
Tolle talks about two kinds of time. The first he describes as “clock-time” which is necessary in our lives. Our task is to spend as little time as needed there. In this place, we can set goals, plan for the future, relive and learn from the past. It is important to note that any steps toward the goals will take place in the now, and any learning from past memories can only be experienced in the now.
The other kind of time Tolle describes as psychological time. When we are stuck in psychological time, we are not happy with our present life situation. We are not being present. In the past, things did not go as we wanted them to and we are still resisting what is. Hope is what keeps us going. Hope keeps us focused in the future and keeps us in denial of the now. The end result is unhappiness with our current life situation.
Tolle suggests that we look past our current life situation and pay attention to life. (Our life situation is a game ‑it’s more of the time and mind stuff.) He further suggests that we narrow life down to the moment. The now is truly all that is real. In the now, there are no problems.
If we create a life situation that is full of problems, there is no room for anything new to come into our lives. There is no room for a solution. Tolle encourages us to create some space in our lives and make room so we can find life in our current life situation. My guess is that would create breathing room, and what better way is there to find that space than to take a breath and use your senses to be fully aware of what is happening in the now — inside you — allowing whatever is to simply “be.”
Life is not filled with problems. There are only situations to be dealt with in the now or accepted as part of being. The mind loves problems and would truly love to take you deeply into it’s dramas — AND the question is: why go along, as so many of us do? We become so overwhelmed by our life situation that we lose our sense of life.
Eckhart describes problems as dwelling on a situation mentally without having a true intention or possibility of taking action now. When you create a problem in your mind, you are creating pain in your life. How often we carry the insane burden of the list of things that may or will happen in the future, instead of focusing on the one that we can do right now. When we focus on the big list, we are helpless and end up accomplishing nothing. This adds another burden to our list and we keep piling it on.
Instead, make a simple choice to create no more pain or problems for yourself in your life. We are in this place now, it is a choice we can make. Putting our full attention in the now and completely accepting what is will allow life to flow with joy and ease.
Remember, when life seems to be too much, look around you in the now, focus your attention there and choose life in the now.