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