Now – Chapter 5

This is my interpretation of the book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle.

Chapter 5

Presence isn’t something you can think about, it’s the opposite of thinking, it’s the state of full-awareness of right-now. Be a predator whose prey is thoughts. When thoughts are allowed to flow freely, they’ll take you on a reckless ride downstream into unconsciousness. Keep your focus on right-now and you can’t get lost in thought.

How can you experience existence from an unconscious state? Obviously the ideal way to experience existence is from a conscious state while fully aware of what’s happening in front of you. If you’re too busy thinking about perceived problems, concocted pasts, and speculated futures, how can you appreciate actual life?

Consciousness increases as the span between an experience and its related commentary increases. Commenting on an experience is not the same as actual experiencing. For example, saying something is delicious isn’t the same as literally experiencing the sensations related to deliciousness. You should focus on the experiencing and skip the commentary.

Consider this perspective: what if the world is a dream, and everything in this dream originates from a single source: the dreamer. Every rock, every plant, every animal, every person, forms out of the dreamer’s consciousness. And the dreamer’s consciousness underlies every character’s consciousness — so there’s no genuine separateness, just a manufactured division for dramatic purposes. Characters come and go but it doesn’t matter — every part is played by a persona of the dreamer.

Now consider that the dreamer crafts each character so well and so elaborately, that a character believes himself a true individual living his own unique life. Believing himself separate and alone and subject to death, the character suffers. When he suffers enough, he finally rejects his fragility and realizes the underlying truth that he (along with everything else) is a manifestation of the dreamer.

Through this process, the dreamer is becoming aware of the dream through the awakening of characters. These very words are the dreamer’s. And you are a character in the dreamer’s dream. In essence, every interaction is the dreamer interacting with the dreamer. Some characters are simply more present and conscious than others — though ultimately, there is but one dreamer.

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Now – Chapter 4

This is my interpretation of the book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle.

Chapter 4

To understand who you are, you’ve mostly looked to the past — and for fulfillment, you’ve mostly looked to the future. But this time-based approach to life is a recipe for suffering. The path to satisfaction is through presence. Simply notice when you’re not present, and you become present. Keep choosing to focus on right-now and it’ll become your default.

To be unconscious, is to be lost in a nightmare. Your reactions to life’s circumstances will be fear-driven and unpleasant. But when you keep watch on your thoughts and feelings, asking if you’re okay, you become conscious by observing yourself. And when things are okay internally, the external falls in line.

Scan your body for signs of tension. Observe the types of thoughts your mind is generating. Notice whether the emotions you’re reacting with are pleasant or not. Do not allow the mind to pollute your experience with negativity. Let it go. Negativity is the pathway to pain and suffering. Avoid it like poison.

To disparage right-now by complaining, sours your experience. How can you enjoy something while insulting it at the same time? Instead of this doomed approach to life, it’s better to appreciate whatever’s right in front of you. If fear prevents you from doing something, observe the fear, witness it while remaining present — it will dissipate.

Accepting a situation as it is, by surrendering, by releasing all resistance, is a power you can wield whenever you want to be satisfied in an otherwise unacceptable situation. Stress is a conflict created by the mind, it wants something it doesn’t have — but if you don’t engage in this manufactured tug-of-war, there’s no longer tension on the rope. Just watch the mind and be amused by its antics.

Let every moment merge back into the raw-material that formed it. Keep your focus on right-now. When worried, watch your breath, feel it flowing in and out. What problem do you have at this exact moment? You can always deal with right-now. Don’t attempt to forecast the future.

Are you waiting until certain conditions are met in order to be happy? In other words, is the present just a worthless good-for-nothing while all the awesome-things in life are waiting for you in the future? If this is the case, you’re making yourself suffer needlessly. The time for appreciation and enjoyment of life is now, not later.

If you can’t enjoy right-now, you won’t be able to enjoy the future, no matter what the circumstances. The feeling of unfulfillment will follow you wherever you go. Waiting is a poor practice, avoid it — appreciate right-now instead. If you’re acknowledging the present, you won’t need to wait, you’ll have the greatness that’s in this moment.

What’s realer than right-now? And are you fully awake while experiencing right-now? If not, why not? What good is getting anywhere in this world if you’re unconscious while doing so? The first step is to become conscious. Then, any step afterwards becomes a fun adventure for an awakened consciousness experiencing existence.

The past has past, let it go. By scrutinizing the past, you’ll lose yourself in it and find much suffering. The present, experienced by a consciousness uncorrupted by thought, is where you’ll find yourself. By remaining present, the past and its associated pain disperse, and you find peace.

Mottled Darkness

What do you see when you close your eyes? For me, I see imagined images. For example, if showering with my eyes closed and washing my arm, I see an imagined hand scrubbing an imagined arm. Or if I close my eyes right now, I see an imagined window where the real window is. In other words: when I close my eyes, I try to recreate the real world within my imagination.

But I believe this type of imagining violates the concept of being-present and living-in-the-now. So for the last few days I’ve been practicing NOT seeing imagined things when I close my eyes. When showering and my eyes close for instance, I now focus on what I can actually see, which is nothing, or more accurately: mottled darkness.

Even with my eyes open I’ll oftentimes imagine I can see something I can’t. If I wash my back for example, I’ll imagine seeing my hand scrub my back from a third-person perspective. But now I try to see the shower door in front of me and simply feel the sensation on my back — without trying to “see” it take place within my mind.

I asked my friend what she sees when she closes her eyes, and she said: yellow or red or white. Through further questioning, she did seem to corroborate a mottled nature to the color — so not a complete solid. I found it odd that it was a brighter shade instead of darkness like my experience. And, she said she did not tend to imagine things when her eyes closed.

My over-imagining probably contributes toward my tendency for sleeplessness as well. When I close my eyes at night, my mind wanders through an imagined world instead of turning off. Whereas if I simply saw the mottled darkness that was there, my mind would naturally quiet-down and drift-off to sleep.

Another issue with seeing an imagined world, is my tendency for negativity. When making-up a world in my head, it tends to be filled with the worst stuff I can imagine. Whereas the world outside my head is actually a cheerier place. So because of this, it behooves me to stop imagining a pseudo-world inside my head.

Now – Chapter 3

This is my interpretation of the book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle.

Chapter 3

To live unconsciously, is to let the thinking-mechanism of the mind lead the way. But the thoughts generated by this mechanism are chaotic and often negative, creating a corrupted experience of existence. You are not these thoughts nor should they lead the way. Consciousness on its own, uncorrupted by thought, is the way to experience existence.

The concept of time, of a past and future, is so often abused by the thinking-mechanism, that it’s not worth having. For instance, past-wrongs and future-worries cannot exist without time. It’s too easy to get lost-in-thought thinking about what-was or what-might-be — these are mere mind-created fantasies based on selective remembrance and confident conjecture.

Existence is happening right-now! Memories from the past or projections into the future aren’t actually happening when they’re envisioned in the mind — they’re concoctions of the thinking-mechanism. Staying in the present is the doorway to enlightenment — it’s the middle-way that must be maintained while abstaining from past and future musings that act as exits.

Just noticing that you’re not present, brings you into the present. Observe thoughts, feelings, and your reactions. Experience them, but don’t get lost to them. The primary object of attention should be right-now. Right-now is all there is, it’s the only reality you can actually engage with. By definition, the past no longer exists and the future hasn’t happened.

If you’re counting on circumstances in the future to make you happy, you’re doing it wrong. The condition of your consciousness right-now is what forges the future. So the way in which you improve your future is by improving your present, and the way to improve your present is to increase your awareness of it.

Worry and stress result from a focus on the future. Guilt and resentment result from a focus on the past. Focusing on anytime but the present causes you to suffer. Even if you solved all of the so-called problems that are currently causing you grief, you’d simply replace them with new versions of the same problems. You’ve only ever had one problem: your lack of presence.

The future improves through the present. Suffering today for a better tomorrow leads away from a present-day peace. Do not invest in hope, focus on presence instead. Happiness is a product of the present. Deal only with right-now. What problem are you experiencing at this exact moment?

Experience existence through the senses. Just see without criticism, hear without analysis, and touch without critique — perceive with acceptance. Notice the sensation of the body itself. Notice the breath. The mind keeps searching for solutions to problems that it creates itself. But in truth, there are no problems.

The issue is: you’ve been defining yourself by the problems you’ve had. You believe that the challenges you’ve experienced are what forged you. But the only thing these self-inflicted difficulties forged, is pain. How about developing a new definition of you? How about a you that is no longer limited by time or matter, a you that is conscious and connected to a lighthearted world?

Are you experiencing enjoyment? If not, then provide your full attention to whatever it is you’re doing. Give no concern for the result, simply focus on the actual performance of the activity. Looking at results is looking toward the future — but presence demands that you look only at the present. There is nothing you lack, you are complete right-now.

And if you’re already complete, there’s nothing to lose. You’re already whoever you need to be. There’s nothing to fear, and struggle isn’t necessary. Life is a form of play — appreciate the things of this world but ultimately they don’t matter. And with any game, success is only ever measured in enjoyment.

Now – Chapter 2

This is my interpretation of the book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle.

Chapter 2

Misery is mostly manufactured by the thinking-mechanism of the mind. The mind creates a conflict, then maintains it with a series of strife-filled thoughts. And the more engrossed you become with the ongoing mind-based-show, the more uncomfortable you get. Whereas if you remain focused on the present, ignoring the mind’s shenanigans, the better time you’ll have.

In short, the thinking-mechanism of the mind is an attention-whore that’ll do whatever it takes to ensnare your awareness. The world is not the hellhole that the thinking-mechanism portrays it to be. Thoughts paint dour pictures of a woebegone past and a pessimistic future, slandering the actual experience of existence. Silencing these thoughts will drastically improve your experience.

Similarly to the thinking-mechanism, pent-up emotional pain is also diminished through unattached observation. When allowed to run rampant, emotional pain can turn you into a brainless zombie, feeding itself with whatever emotional situation originally created it. But there’s no need to combat this zombie with any technique other than observation and acceptance.

Getting lost in thought is a sedative that puts you to sleep — but while the mind is unconscious, the zombie rampages, driven by whatever negativity lies within. So you must become a protector of the peace by remaining conscious — allow negativity and pain to startle you awake. And through awareness and acceptance of the emotional pain within, it lessens.

Fear is a useless feeling. The thinking-mechanism believes itself under constant threat of danger. Wrong again! Do not fall for these anxiety-inducing thoughts. Remain present. Wake up from the nightmare that the thinking-mechanism of the mind created. Take back your life and start living consciously.

Now – Chapter 1

This is my interpretation of the book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle.

Chapter 1

Enlightenment is: the enduring enjoyment of existence. The ability to attain this serene state exists within you right now, nothing external need be obtained.

Without enlightenment, you are subject to separateness, strife, and the ills born of fear and frustration.

The highest hurdle you must surmount is the belief that you are your ceasless thoughts. The deluge of deliberation is so dense, that it even forms a pseudo-self, a fake-you formed from rumination. Enlightenment ends the servitude to continuous contemplation and dissolves the faux-you.

The thinking-mechanism just blathers on about life, shouting its constant commentary and criticisms, predicting dire doom, worrying about this and that. The thinking-mechanism is the terrorizer within, the source of all your problems. YOU must strive to disassociate with this fiend — becoming that which masters thoughts.

You are to transform into a neutral observer of the thinking-mechanism. A thought is just a thought, it comes and goes while you watch it drift away. Those are no longer your thoughts, they’re just concoctions of conjecture floating by, worthless byproducts of the creative mind.

As thoughts are no longer invited into your mental abode, a silence develops within that space. And the more often you shut the door on these unwelcome solicitations, the more this silence grows into serenity. And from this serene state, your awareness strengthens and you become present.

You can always reach right-now by focusing on right-now. In whatever activity you find yourself, you can make it into a meditation by performing the requisite action with full focus, eschewing all incoming noise from the thinking-mechanism. You’ll know it’s working when you feel the contentedness flowing through.

As the space between thoughts increases, your degree of consciousness increases. You’re currently driven by an unconscious addiction to the thinking-mechanism, a problem that won’t end without intervention. Thoughts are not who you are, they’re a diversion from who you are, resulting in an existential dissatisfaction.

Your true self exists in this moment only — that’s it. Your consciousness is simply trying to experience existence, but the thinking-mechanism is polluting the process and preventing this from happening. Your goal is to allow the consciousness to experience life without intrusive thoughts getting in the way (leading to enlightenment).

Creativity is also hindered by the turbulent thought stream. Artistry stems from a depth below thought, thus a mind free of thought allows the creative potential to surface.

The thinking-mechanism also incites and inflames your emotions. Fierce emotions are the body’s response to the constant blathering of the thinking-mechanism. In other words: if the mind is a mess, the body and its emotions will manifest the mess. And beyond that, your external environment will even react to your volatility.

When you feel an emotion, you don’t have to be the emotion. Instead of “I am angry”, it becomes “I feel anger”. In this way you remain present, you’re simply an observer who’s sensing the ongoings within. You can even be proactive about it, and regularly query yourself with: “What am I feeling?”. Don’t think about it, just notice it.

The thinking-mechanism cannot solve problems, it is their source. And when silenced, affection and enjoyment and serenity bloom from within. Believing oneself to be the thinking-mechanism, is a source of suffering. The way out of suffering is by being present.

Intro to Buddhism

There’s an underlying dissatisfaction that we experience in life. Typically, we blame this dissatisfaction on a particular circumstance that we believe is fixable sometime in the future.

For example: “I’m currently unsatisfied with life because I’m ten-pounds overweight.” In this scenario, everything that goes wrong can be blamed on being ten-pounds overweight. This small problem serves as a scapegoat for the underlying dissatisfaction with life: “Oh boy, when I eventually lose the weight, EVERYTHING is going to be awesome!”

But what happens when the ten-pounds IS lost? Uh-oh, the dissatisfaction doesn’t disappear. Now a new scapegoat must be found. And it’s best to find a problem that’s fixable in the future (but not too soon!). If the problem doesn’t have an obvious solution, then frustration will set in. And if you can’t find a small problem, you’ll likely accept a larger more daunting one.

OR, you can stop using scapegoats altogether, and tackle the broader dissatisfaction that’s been underlying life this whole time. It’s doable, but not by attaining something on the outside. It’s brought about by cultivating an inner satisfaction, a sense of satiety no matter what you’re served. And that journey begins and ends now, literally.

Long-story-short: Through mindfulness, quiet all intrusive thoughts and develop a perspective that allows you to trust and appreciate life.