Here are my comments on the book:
How can you reach spiritual enlightenment now? Eckhart Tolle, who was listed by Watkins Review as the most spiritually influential person in the world in 2011, states that it’s all about being present in the moment. He states that true enlightenment comes within and being focused on the present moment is what brings joy fulfillment in one’s life. Throughout the book, Tolle repeatedly addresses the importance of staying in the present moment and how that can help you in all facets of life. Here are some of the points to the book:
1. If you don’t learn to “control your mind,” you become a slave to it. As opposed to living and experiencing life, every day you’ll just be “going through the motions” and not know where your attention or presence flows to. By becoming more aware of your state of mind, you’ll get a better grasp of your life. “Let me ask you this: can you be free of your mind whenever you want to? Have you found the ‘off’ button? You mean stop thinking altogether? No, I can’t, except maybe for a moment or two. Then the mind is using you. You are unconsciously identified with it, so you don’t even know that you are its slave. It’s almost as if you were possessed without knowing it, and so you take the possessing entity to be yourself. The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not the possessing entity — the thinker. Knowing this enables you to observe the entity. The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence. You also realize that all the things that truly matter — beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace — arise from beyond the mind. You begin to awaken.“
2. Make a conscious effort to start living in the present moment now by directing your full attention to what you’re doing as you’ll discover that it’s a source of happiness; extract more feelings from the task that you’re doing. In the book Search Inside Yourself by Chade Meng-Tan, he talks about how true happiness can be found within and staying focused in the present moment. Staying in the present moment is just like skill that takes time to develop. You may not be good at it now but over time as you consciously practice being in the present moment, you’ll become great at it. “Just become intensely conscious of the present moment. This is a deeply satisfying thing to do. In this way, you draw consciousness away from mind activity and create a gap of no-mind in which you are highly alert and aware but not thinking. This is the essence of meditation. In your everyday life, you can practice this by taking any routine activity that normally is only a means to an end and giving it your fullest attention, so that it becomes an end in itself. For example, every time you walk up and down the stairs in your house or place of work, pay close attention to every step, every movement, even your breathing. Be totally present. Or when you wash your hands, pay attention to all the sense perceptions associated with the activity: the sound and feel of the water, the movement of your hands, the scent of the soap, and so on. Or when you get into your car, after you close the door, pause for a few seconds and observe the flow of your breath. Become aware of a silent but powerful sense of presence. There is one certain criterion by which you can measure your success in this practice: the degree of peace that you feel within. So the single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: learn to disidentify from your mind. Every time you create a gap in the stream of mind, the light of your consciousness grows stronger. One day you may catch yourself smiling at the voice in your head, as you would smile at the antics of a child. This means that you no longer take the content of your mind all that seriously, as your sense of self does not depend on it.“
3. Do you have an addiction to something because it helps you take your mind away from everything else except for the present moment on what you’re doing? Or have you experienced a situation where time has just flown by because you were just so engaged with what you’re doing? That’s the power of being in the present moment, i.e. the power of NOW. “How does this mind pattern operate in your life? Are you always trying to get somewhere other than where you are? Is most of your doing just a means to an end? Is fulfillment always just around the corner or confined to short-lived pleasures, such as sex, food, drink, drugs, or thrills and excitement? Are you always focused on becoming, achieving, and attaining, or alternatively chasing some new thrill or pleasure? Do you believe that if you acquire more things you will become more fulfilled, good enough, or psychologically complete? Are you waiting for a man or woman to give meaning to your life? In the normal, mind-identified or unenlightened state of consciousness, the power and infinite creative potential that lie concealed in the Now are completely obscured by psychological time. Your life then loses its vibrancy, its freshness, its sense of wonder. The old patterns of thought, emotion, behavior, reaction, and desire are acted out in endless repeat performances, a script in your mind that gives you an identity of sorts but distorts or covers up the reality of the Now. The mind then creates an obsession with the future as an escape from the unsatisfactory present.“
By Ryan Timothy Lee
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