Here are 4 lessons from Tolle’s book ‘The Power of Now’:
- the mind is not your true self,
- the key to enlightenment is giving up the belief of separation,
- time is an illusion,
- trying to achieve fulfilment only by external pleasures carries with it disappointment.
There are millions of life forms in the air, sea, and land. Individuals live and die quickly yet when they realise that they are all One, they get to grasp the essence of Life and experience all forms as One.
Each person is part of the Great Unity, the Ultimate Source. When a person becomes the Being, they then see beyond the visible form. Male and female are then working as one entity.
A person can find God the moment they realise that they do not need to seek God (because they are already part of God)…
Concept 1: the mind is not your true self.
The mind cannot be defined as your true self, because your true nature and essence (your ‘Being’) is an experience, and not a thought in a mind… Associating ourselves with our own thoughts is a common error…
Concept 2: the key to enlightenment is giving up the illusion of separateness.
The mind creates labels, judgments, facts, and opinions about life. It labels people according their jobs, educational background, history, and beliefs. Yet, the Being knows life directly, with no labelling.
The ego evokes problems, conflicts and enemies; and these are required conditions that allow a person to effectively live in a state of separateness. Separation exists even within relationships. For example, many relationships are based on role plays – social, emotional or political roles. Such relations are not based on love or on the state of Being. As a result, pain, problems and conflicts arise. Some ego-minded people will find it hard to live with a partner who experienced enlightenment.
Once we develop acceptance, there is a loss of the ego. With acceptance comes freedom.
Concept 3: time is an illusion.
Time is an illusion which often hinders people from living in the now.
People have been conditioned to think in terms of past, present, and future. Humans are limited by their own selves since they are preoccupied with looking back at the past and forward into the future instead of just paying attention to the present.
Many people focus on their past because they believe that what they have done in previous years are the defining moments that determine their identities. Other people focus on the future because they believe that there are great things and experiences awaiting for them that are yet to be felt, seen, and encountered. These are the things that they would love to see play out in their future; this is why they neglect what is taking place at the present.
Some people tend to instil fear in their future. Fear is a mind’s creation of an imagery future. The reality is that no-one can ever cope with anything that is just about to happen in the future, because the future has not happened; therefore, no one can ever predict what might take place. The future is only a mental creation, a phantom, which people have imposed upon themselves. Humans often believe that anything worthy is in the future; but the truth is, the worthy world is present in the Now.
The key to overcome this common hurdle is to observe the mind without judging it. Through self-observation, we can move entirely into the present moment.
People do not need the past to define their identity, and do not need the future to experience fulfilment. People do not get to find themselves by going to their past, but by coming to the present, the Now.
Problems are nothing more than mind-made issues that require time to survive. Problems create identities so if a person will focus on the “now”, something powerful will take over him. Doing so, you will no longer be able to create mind-made pain. You will no longer be able to create things that will hurt others.
People have the power to choose to let go of things that are not needed. People are not just a bundle of conditioned reflexes; rather they have powers that they can utilize for their own benefits.
Complaining is an act of not accepting the Now. When a person complains, it is because they choose to make themselves the victims of a situation.
If a person chooses to change things, they must do so without being negative about it. Actions that arise from insights are much more effective than actions arising out of negativity. It is through this how an individual’s unhappy-self dies out. Through surrender and acceptance, the free-inner-self can be revived.
Time is mere an illusion. In some cases people do shift into the present moment, where it seems as if time stops, and a sense of stillness comes over a person. This is why there are people who enjoy extreme sports. It forces them into the Now where they can be free from problems and even their own personality.
Usually, when a particular situation demands people to react, they react based on the past; but when they are in the Now, they react based on present-moment awareness. This is how their reactions become clear and effective.
In the Now awareness, people become grateful for what they have. Prosperity is something which cannot be expected from the future for it is already present in the Now.
Concept 4: Trying to achieve fulfilment only by external pleasures carries with it disappointment.
Beggars are not those who are financially unstable, but those who do not find truth and joy inside themselves. Pleasure cannot be found in the external environment, so whatever brings external pleasure to a person will never be consistent. Today, some extremal wealth or pleasure may bring a sense of comfort o someone – but the next day it may bring sorrow and dismay. External Wealth and pleasure are perfectly fine, as long as they derive from internal joy.
Only deep within true joy can be found. This is why love is not a duality of joy and pain. All cravings and needs people have are mere results of the mind’s pursuit for external fulfilment, as a substitute for the absence of the true joy of being.
So, how can you effectively connect to your own self?… it is essential that you listen listens to your whole body. Keeping one’s attention on the outer world, and combining it at the same time with the inner world will help you to link to your inner self; and this is something which can be done almost anywhere at any time.
Paying attention to the “within-world” is how a person’s body can become a portal to the inner-body of truth. The outer world requires the inner essence of a person in order to exist. Both the outer world and inner world are needed. The outer world of space and time is needed to create an illusion, which helps the inner world reach enlightenment.
When you need a creative solution or new idea in important situations, then stop for a while and become aware. It is important to pause. Going between thinking and inner-stillness-listening will empower and enable you to think with your head and with your whole essence.
When listening to another person, attention can be drifted away from thinking, and instead you can create a space of stillness that gives the other person a space to be. This is a true listening which takes place without the mind. It is a gift; a manifestation of silence.
Silence is the beginning of sounds. Sounds are born out of silence, and die back into silence. If there was nothing but silence, it would not exist for us, as we would not know it. Only when sound appears does silence come into Being.
For many, failure, loss and illness prove to be teachers as these calamities teach people how to let go of their false self-image. There are some who do not need any suffering to reach the point of enlightenment since they have sufficiently evolved and are capable of accepting reality. They accept that things that happen in their lives are neither good nor bad; instead, things are just how they ought to be. When a person accepts life as it is, there is no more good or bad. There is only a higher-good. In order for a person to accept the Now, they first need to forgive. When people learn to accept, they are free of mind-resistance; thus it enables them to connect with the Being. When accepting, even pain transmutes into inner-peace.
Forgiveness is a realisation that there is no past. Forgiveness can take place without doing anything aside from being true to one’s self.
When pain blocks a person from accepting the Now, they need to strive not to think of the pain, and not thinking about the person who had caused the pain. The mind often uses pain to create a victim identity to a person; but feeling sorry for one’s self will not help since it keeps a person stuck in the pain by making them re-live the suffering. If a person moves into the pain and puts their attention on acceptance (and avoiding labelling it) then healing can come. Accepting things is great practice, but in accepting things, one must be careful not to seek identity through things and conditions. Identity through things and condition is something that the modern advertising industry seems to be very fond of in promoting among consumers.
Being unhappy is only a belief in the mind. Unhappiness is not a natural phenomenon. There are no unhappy flowers, or stressed trees, or depressed dolphins. Low energies are needed to create high energies. There is a cycle in life, a cycle of regeneration; but when this cycle is resisted by people (by not accepting the low energies) they become ill. Illnesses force people stop. In illness people cannot find strength, and have to stop. Illness acts as a form of low energy that allows regeneration to start. People can stop, without experiencing illnesses. People can enter the kingdom of Now, right here, right now.
» Further lessons from ‘The Power of Now’, click here.
22 March 2015. Update 7 Nov 2015.
© Gil Dekel