This is my interpretation of the book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle.
Should you approach the experience of existence distrustfully, constantly on-guard, waiting for the doom-hammer to fall, belligerently opposing everything that comes your way? Or, should you willingly allow the experience to unfold before you, surrendering yourself to existence?
In other words, do you say, “OH NO!! What is this place?! Someone get me off this crazy ride! No! Get that away from me! Keep everything away from me! I don’t trust it! It’s gonna hurt! Ahh! Noo!” Or, do you say, “Wow, this place is kinda cool! Whoa would ya look at that! Neat! Aw man what a weird sensation! Ha! This place is wacky! I love it!”
Surrendering to the experience of existence is not the same thing as quitting or giving up. Surrendering in this context essentially means approaching life with a good attitude — with acceptance and appreciation. You can do what you want as long as it comes from a positive spirit whereas you’ll want to avoid acting out of fear or anger from a bad attitude.
Whenever you notice that you’re in an unpleasant situation, you can use the power of surrender to turn things around. Essentially, you’re saying, “Ha, I’m okay with this! Let’s do it! I’m ready for the rollercoaster, baby! Yeeha!!” And with that attitude adjustment, everything from that moment forward improves — you’ve positively altered your future.
Negativity and unhappiness creep in when you’re unconscious. Whereas when you’re conscious and aware, these things readily dissolve. When present, you’ll observe that your unpleasant state naturally goes away. And through surrender (the practice of an accepting attitude), you’ll notice the external world improving right before your eyes.
Your choice is this: resist life or surrender to it. In other words: Bad attitude or good attitude — you decide. When you interact with the world while maintaining a bad attitude, you’re going to have a bad time as you denigrate and disparage everything in your path, you’re going to attack and defend as you navigate an imagined minefield.
When you surrender, you’ll feel clarity and peace of mind. Then from that vantage point, you can act or not-act as necessary — it is the most powerful position to proceed from. Surrender isn’t saying, “I must accept the crap I’m given”, it’s saying “Obstacles? I freakin’ love ’em! Give me more!” It’s not abandonment of life, it’s you being yourself but with a better attitude.
And if you’re not feeling well, don’t label it, just use the irritation as a reminder to remain present. What you’re trying to change is your perspective of the world and thus change the way in which you perceive and experience the world. Of course the world looks horrible when you have a horrible outlook. But have an awesome outlook, and the world seems suddenly better.
Again, there is no problem “out there” — your lack of consciousness is the problem. The thinking-mechanism of the mind is taking you on a wild ride through the rapids, resulting in an upset stomach. Consciousness is the realization that you can simply stand up in the middle of the rushing thoughts — it’s shallow, you were only imagining the danger — oops.
Fighting against the rapids is where struggle and pain originate. Whereas if you stand and look upon the flow from an elevated position, you see that there was no problem — your readiness to fight was the problem. And if the pain is already there, then focus on the feeling itself — don’t think about, don’t craft clever narratives around it, just feel the sensation and stay present.
The thinking-mechanism of the mind is the origin of your resistance and bad-attitude. Surrendering, i.e. adopting a positive attitude of absolute acceptance, removes the authority of the mind, stripping it of its self-appointed leadership position. Look, you can continue suffering until you can’t stand it any longer, or you can consciously choose to remain present from here on out.