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StoryShots Summary, Analysis and Key Insights of The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
Life gets busy. Has The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle been gathering dust on your bookshelf? Instead, learn the key insights now.
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Eckhart Tolle’s Perspective
A German resident of Canada, Eckhart Tolle is a spiritual leader and author. In 2008, the New York Times described Tolle as "the most popular spiritual author in the United States.” Additionally, the Watkins Review claimed in 2011 that he was the most spiritually influential person in the world. Although not identified with a particular religion, Tolle claims to be influenced by multiple religions and spiritual works.
The Power of Now states that living in the now is the most authentic path to happiness and enlightenment. Eckhart Tolle awakens readers to their role as a creator of pain. He also shows them how to have a pain-free identity by living fully in the present. If you surrender to the present moment, your problems will no longer exist. The present is where you will find joy, embrace your true self, and discover you are already complete and perfect.
StoryShot #1: Your Mind and Body Are Separate
Your mind is the primary origin of pain. So, if you allow your ego to take over, you will endure considerably more pain. Your mind is associated with pain because it frequently brings up memories. Focusing on your memories often leads to worries about the past and more significant anxiety about the future. Generally, our mind fixates on negative memories. Subsequently, this prevents us from living in the present. The pain associated with memories is compounded by us having no control over these events. Eckhart Tolle highlights that we only have control over the present. We have no control over our memories or future events.
Tolle suggests you try to separate yourself from your mind due to the pain associated with your mind. Try to focus on your body. Your body understands what is best for you. Subsequently, you can learn a lot about the critical factors within your life by choosing to focus on your body. Tolle argues that nobody has ever found enlightenment by focusing on their mind and ignoring their body.
The Buddha was passionate about the concept of separating your mind from your body. The Buddha learned from spending six years abstaining and intermittently fasting that he could not reach enlightenment by separating his body. Instead, he found the only effective practices were those that helped him feel united with his body.
StoryShot #2: Observe Your Relationship With Your Mind
When you seek to detach yourself from your mind, you must be fully conscious of your mind’s power. This consciousness should allow you to highlight the subtle ways your mind causes you pain. This pain could be through behavior or thoughts. Simply observing your relationship with your mind will create a gap in the flow of your thinking. For example, suppose you ask yourself what your next thought will be. There will likely be a delay before your next clear thought arrives. Consistently using questions like this will help you become more conscious of how you become so used to your mind’s flow. Alternatively, breaking up your thoughts will help you isolate your mind and separate yourself from it. Try to accept these thoughts as they arise. But, do not necessarily follow the advice of these thoughts.
StoryShot #3: Focus on the Present
You likely spend most of your time thinking about the past and future. Tolle suggests you could be neglecting the only moment fully available to you, which is your present. No events occur in the past or future. Life is just a continuous stream of present moments over time. The past is a collection of once-present moments that have passed. The future is filled with several present moments that are yet to arrive.
As the past and future are simply alternative versions of the present, there are no advantages to worrying about them. If you can simply focus on the present, you will only be dealing with minor problems as they arise. You can break a challenging task into several minor challenges.
StoryShot #4: Accept the Tragedies in Your Life
Tolle introduces the readers to the concept of pain-body. According to him, pain-body is an accumulation of painful life experiences that were not fully faced and accepted in the moment they happened. They leave an energy form of emotional pain behind. They come together with other energy forms from other instances, and so after some years you have a pain-body: an energy entity consisting of old emotion. It’s a heavy burden for us to carry around and it continues to grow as we add more pain. The residual pain can overwhelm us, so we must learn to cope with it.
Living in the present does not mean you should surrender to the present. You should adopt mental strategies to deal with any negative feelings that emerge from dealing with the present. Not all pain is within our control, as we all experience challenging moments like loved ones passing away. That said, you must accept these traumatic events for what they are. Doing so will limit the quantity of pain and the length of this painful period. Understanding that nothing can now be changed will help you avoid unnecessary suffering. Detaching from your mind will provide you with the inner strength required to accept painful situations.