Eckhart Tolle “The Power of Now”

Dr. Joel Ying, MD

Physician, Educator, Storyteller. He hosts this website for "Living the Present Moment" as a conscious journey of Body, Mind, Emotion & Spirit. Holistic and integrative, his practice includes Tai Chi and Yoga, Craniosacral Therapy, Healing From the Core, Meditation. Always exploring his edges, he shares them in the blog, newsletter, courses, and online study group.

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“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” ― Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

On the path to a more conscious life of living the present moment, Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” was one of the first books that came my way – a giveaway from a friend who was moving in 2008. One of the gifts of modern technology is the audio-book read by the author. There is a special gift of wisdom in the author’s voice and inflections. Eckhart and I spent many long commutes together.

The language of the spiritual is not one that translates well into everyday language, especially English. Spiritual concepts transcend the mind; however, we use the mind to understand the spiritual and move us toward an experience of the spiritual. Eckhart Tolle’s gift as a Spiritual Teacher is his clarity. He is able to translate spiritual concepts into everyday language. Since he is trying to describe an experience beyond the mind, some of the concepts needed to “soak in” for me to understand them, but I could “feel” the wisdom and truth in his words.

The first chapter tackles “the greatest obstacle to enlightenment”, which is the mind itself. Chapter one is titled: “You Are Not Your Mind.” Later, he introduces the concept of The Watcher. This is his version of mindfulness, which I sometimes like to call “thinking about thinking”. You are not your mind, and you can be The Watcher of your mind. Emotions exist between the mind and the body. The mind has thoughts. Sometimes an emotion arises in response. We feel the emotion as a sensation in the body. The Watcher can also watch our emotions. The emotional pain-body accumulates all of our pain when we do not access the power of the present moment. The pain body begins in childhood, accumulating emotional pain. The pain-body takes on a life of its own, and can run our life as well. Much of the book is written in a Q&A style, with practical questions and answers to how we can transcend the mind and dissolve the pain body. Practical topics also cover relationships, love, presence, the nature of time, happiness, compassion, and surrender.

I am currently rereading the book and recognizing a new depth to the spiritual teachings. It was there all along; I just have a new perspective from new life experiences over the past years. This is a must read for anyone on the spiritual path. What is the spiritual path? For me it is contained in the title, “The Power of Now.” The spiritual path is living the present moment fully and completely, recognizing that we are body, (emotions), mind, and spirit – a spirit that is interconnected into the whole of the Universe.

“It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living.” ― Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment