I’m reading Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now” but I’m not getting why he thinks Now is such a big deal. What am I missing?
Now or Never
Well… er… you’re missing the Power of Now. Fairly literally in this case. Which may prove helpful. Sometimes things are easier to see from farther away. You’re likely thinking of Now as a time, but in fact it’s the only time. The concept of linear time is an invention—an illusion—and our belief in it is what keeps the door to Now shut. So rather than it being a time, think of Now more as: silence-as-a-verb. It’s about not-thinking.
Thinking is what creates our sense of separateness and it’s also what places us in time. Without it we are like children—we are fully awake and alive in the moment we are in. That is why children learn so phenomenally fast. I’ve said it many times; you learned at least one language by the time you were two, including a large vocabulary and the ability to do algebra in real time because if you couldn’t do that you couldn’t assemble those words into coherent ideas using grammar. And you did all of that without anyone really attempting to even teach 99% of it, and you were also functioning without any sense of trying to grow or learning. You were just being. Being is where the wisdom’s at.
Now is a very specific place/mindset/time. It is ultimately where 100% of your life takes place. But by using super-subtle narratives of thought and pre-loaded beliefs, we can create scenarios in our consciousness in which we are lonely, or offended, or hurt. We can also tell ourselves positive stories and feel happy or satisfied or warm but that still requires having a being to experience the happiness or satisfaction or warmth. Even better is to have no being. To not be anyone. To be free and clear. To be transparent. To be alive, but not be a life. To have no story. To simply be. To be awareness itself. That is what it is to live in the Now. Eckhart’s not kidding—it’s pretty amazing.
The most important thing I can say is that you cannot try to achieve Now. It’s not something achievable. It must be realized. You don’t find it by seeking it, or learning about it, or meditating on it. You realize it by being it. You become One with Now. Like a child, you function without time. Without definition. You are a verb. You surrender the story of your identity in favour of diving into the Present Moment.
Now is an important idea. Study your assumptions. Re-consider your beliefs. And practice going quiet. Completely quiet. Because a profound silence deep within yourself is the only access point to Now. Only you can open that door and the key is to quiet your chattering story-telling ego. It’s a journey well worth it.
Good luck with your reading.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.