Are you habitually drawn into the past by taking trips down memory lane? Maybe ruminating on mistakes made or longing for what used to be?
Or do you find yourself overwhelmed by anxious thoughts of the future? Trying to assess and plan for all the unknown? Is it challenging for you to simply be present in the moment?
“Surrender to what is. Say yes to life and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.” – Eckhart Tolle
In the transformational book, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Tolle lays out what it looks like to become completely present to what is, as much and as often as possible, as a way of being.
This, he says, is consciousness. Enlightenment. And it’s possible for all of us, right now.
Read on to learn about the key messages and takeaways of The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, along with standout quotes and overall cliff notes (though we highly recommend reading this transformative book in full).
The Power of Now: A Brief Introduction to This Transformative Best-Selling Book
In The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle explores the concept of non-attachment. Much as it sounds, non-attachment means releasing your grip – or attachments – in order to experience peace, presence, and ultimately, enlightenment.
Tolle also discusses not only the importance of being present, but the benefits of it, along with how to attain presence (more on this below). He goes on to share the importance of surrender and also what surrendering to the present moment really means.
Spoiler alter: Eckhart Tolle’s main point about the power of being present? That it leads to enlightenment. And not only does it lead to enlightenment; but also that an individual’s enlightenment is what leads to collective enlightenment . . .
Read on for the cliff notes on each of these main points of The Power of Now.
Part 1: The 4 Non-Attachments Needed for Being Present
Being present is a full surrender to what is. A huge part of that is the practice of non-attachment. In this way, we are letting go of things that pull us out of the present moment.
There are four things Echkart Tolle encourages us to release in order to experience the power of now.
1. Non-Attachment to Your Thoughts
“To stay present in everyday life, it helps to be deeply rooted within yourself; otherwise, the mind, which has incredible momentum, will drag you along like a wild river.”
2. Non-Attachment to Your Emotions
Emotions, Eckhart Tolle says, are your body’s reaction to your thoughts.
3. Non-Attachment to Your Pain
Eckhart Tolle explains that accumulated pain is a negative energy field that occupies your body and mind, referred to as the pain-body.
4. Non-Attachment to the Outcome of Your Actions
Tolle states, “so do not be concerned with the fruit of your action – just give attention to the action itself.”
Part 2: How Can We Put The Power of Now Into Practice? Follow These 3 Steps for Being Present:
Having a vision of what it might look like to be fully present in your life is great, but how do you get there? In The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, he gives us a practical three-step process, a type of roadmap, to help us experience consciousness.
He begins with this admonition: “Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.”
Step One: Become the Observer
Become an observer of your thoughts, not attaching to them or judging them or getting consumed by the stories they create in your mind.
Practice noticing your current mental and emotional state. Notice how you feel, what you’re thinking. Resistance to what is, is often what causes our low level, constant state of unease and discontent.
It’s challenging not to react to what you notice, but practice drawing your attention inward and simply observe.
Step Two: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Body
Draw attention away from your thoughts and focus it on how your body feels. Paying attention to the body is a way to keep you anchored in the now.
If you have trouble connecting to the body, especially when the mind is running or anxious thoughts won’t stop, start with the breath.
As you begin to notice thoughts and emotions, and connect to how your body feels, begin to surrender. Let go of any negativity, which can also feel like resistance.
How? By being present. Stop resisting what is and practice surrendering to it. This is often easier said than done and it bears taking a moment to talk about what surrender actually is.
Part 3: What Does It Mean to Surrender Fully to Being Present?
The present moment is not a means to an end. When/then thinking will take you out of the present moment. (For example, when I get married, then I will be happy.)
You can have goals and ambition but focus more so on the step right in front of you. Find gratitude for what is to lessen the need to find more or something else in the future or out there to fulfill the need in you right now.
“Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life.” – Eckhart Tolle
Surrender is not resignation. Tolle states that, “You can still be active and enjoy manifesting and creating new forms and circumstances, but you won’t be identified with them. You do not need them to give you a sense of self. They are not your life – only your life situation.”
Surrendering brings about a different energy, through which you can take positive action to change what needs changing instead of reacting with negative energy, like out of anger or fear, which would only bring about more suffering.
Part 3: According to Eckhart Tolle, Your Enlightenment Gives Way to Collective Enlightenment
By continually surrendering to what is and releasing all attachments, then you not only hold consciousness for yourself but also offer the opportunity for those around you to do the same.
And in that way, our consciousness allows for a collective consciousness that will finally bring about true salvation, which Tolle defines as “A state of freedom – from fear, from suffering, from a perceived state of lack and insufficiency and therefore from all wanting, needing, grasping, and clinging.”
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle: A Final Word
It’s totally normal for our minds to get lost in the past or wrapped up in the anxieties of the future. But with practice, we can begin noticing and surrendering those things. And in doing so, we can experience the power of now – of being present in each moment.
Life becomes simpler as we move with the momentum of what is instead of exhausting ourselves fighting against it.
Give it a try. Stick with it. Just keep coming back to the present moment. Over and over again. That’s the practice. That’s the The Power of Now.
Put Your Presence Into Practice With a Guided Meditation