The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle

The first book that started me on my current journey of self-examination and exploration is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

It’s quite a heavy book, rich with thought provoking ideas and concepts and the basis for a lot of my further thoughts on our existence and what this life all means.

The essence of the book is that all we have is the present. Everything happens in the present. Nothing happens in the future and nothing happens in the past. The most important factor of our lives is what we do in the present, far more important than the past or the future.

There’s a lot that can be discussed surrounding living in the now, but one thing that is interesting, especially for people on a personal spiritual discovery is how they are looking to the future for what will happen. I know this to be true for myself and others I know.

The thought that I’m not happy where I am now, but when I have learned a certain skill, I’ll be able to transform my life and then I’ll be happy. For example, I don’t like working in my job, but when I get that promotion, then I’ll be able to do the fun stuff at work, so then I’ll be happy. That will make me complete.

The reality is that we are all complete right now. We are all doing what we’re supposed to be doing right now. If we weren’t supposed to, then we wouldn’t be. It makes sense when you look at a child. In general four and five year olds are not reading the newspaper, they are reading simple story books with large type. Why? Because that’s what they’re supposed to be doing. When they’ve mastered that and understand more complex issues they progress to more advanced books and so on. They are doing now what they are supposed to be doing. And if they are reading the Wall Street Journal at five then that’s what they are supposed to be doing too!

All of us are different levels of ability, intelligence and spirituality based on what lessons our soul has learned. We’re all here for a journey and to learn something, and depending on who we are, we have a different lesson, one no better than another, simply different.

We are all complete now. Yes, we all do have learning to do, but when that learning is done, then what? If we feel incomplete now, then we’ll still feel incomplete then because we’ll still have more learning. We only stop learning when we die, and even then there will be unfinished business, so it’s futile to think that we will at some stage in the future become complete, or that we will feel like we have arrived if we don’t already feel it now.

So the point is, that to feel happy now, we have to accept who we are now. We have to be happy in our own skin… something the plastic surgeon association would not be advocating too loudly. We are who we are and we do what we do because that’s the way it’s meant to be. It doesn’t mean there isn’t free choice, becasue there is. What it means is that we can’t change who we are, even if we change our appearance or qualifications or experience. All of that makes us who we are, like it or not.

When you look at movie stars, who are rich and famous and seem to have everything, but aren’t happy, and compare them to the regular person who has little and isn’t happy, it shows you that having things doesn’t make you happy.

Feeling happy about yourself is the only thing that will make you happy. It sounds so simple, but evidence would suggest it’s incredibly difficult.

I would recommend this book to anyone.

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