The Power of Now

By: Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now is a straightforward introduction to what we in the western world refer to as “eastern philosophy,” or what I've come to recognize as a set of basic truths we can experience firsthand that nobody ever told us about. If you've never encountered the concepts of Buddhism, Taoism, or the thought that we might be something other than an individual brain or soul separate from all else, this book is a great place to start.

I read the first third of this book before attending a ten-day silent Vipassana meditation course and the rest in the wake of those one hundred hours of meditation. One of the most mind-blowing experiences of my life, I experienced this what much of this book points at.

I wouldn't call The Power of Now a “religious text.” I'd simply call it a better understanding of being.

My 10 Favorite Index Cards:

A beggar had been sitting by the side of a road for over thirty years. One day a stranger walked by. “Spare some change?” mumbled the beggar, mechanically holding out his old baseball cap. “I have nothing to give you,” said the stranger. Then he asked: “What’s that you are sitting on?” “Nothing,” replied the beggar, “Just an old box. I have been sitting on it for as long as I can remember.” “Ever look inside?” asked the stranger. “No,” said the beggar. “What’s the point? There’s nothing in there.” “Have a look inside,” insisted the stranger. The beggar managed to pry open the lid. With astonishment, disbelief, and elation, he saw that the box was filled with gold.

I am the stranger who has nothing to give you and who is telling you to look inside. Not inside any box as in the parable, but somewhere even closer: inside yourself.
— Eckhart Tolle
You believe that you are your mind. This is the delusion. The instrument has taken you over.
— Eckhart Tolle
Do you find this frightening? Or is this a relief to know this? All of these things you will have to relinquish sooner or later. Perhaps you find it hard to believe and I am certainly not asking you to believe that your identity cannot be found in any of those things. You will know the truth of it for yourself. You will know it at the latest when you feel death approaching. Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to “die before you die”—and find that there is no death.
— Eckhart Tolle
How do you drop a piece of hot coal that you are holding in your hand? How do you drop some heavy and useless baggage that you are carrying? By recognizing that you don’t want to suffer the pain or carry the burden anymore and then by letting go of it.
— Eckhart Tolle
Are you so busy getting to the future that the present is reduced to a means of getting there?
— Eckhart Tolle
It is also possible to fail completely in your outer purpose and at the same time totally succeed in your inner purpose. Or the other way around which is actually more common: outer riches and inner poverty, or to “gain the world and lose your soul,” as Jesus put it. Ultimately, of course, every outer purpose is doomed to “fail” sooner or later, simply because it is subject to the law of impermanence of all things. The sooner you realize that your outer purpose cannot give you lasting fulfillment, the better. When you have seen the limitations of your outer purpose, you give up your unrealistic expectations that it should make you happy, and you make it subservient to your inner purpose.
— Eckhart Tolle
Even inside every physical body there is far more “nothing” than “something.” Physicists tell us that solidity of matter is an illusion. Even seemingly solid matter, including your physical body, is nearly 100 percent empty space. What is more, even inside every atom there is mostly empty space. What is left is more like a vibrational frequency than particles of solid matter, more like a musical note. Buddhists have known that for over 2,500 years. “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form,” states the Heart Sutra, one of the best known ancient Buddhist texts. The essence of all things is emptiness.
— Eckhart Tolle
Happiness depends on conditions being perceived as positive; inner peace does not.
— Eckhart Tolle
And when you live in complete acceptance of what is – which is the only sane way to live – there is no “good” or “bad” in your life anymore. There is only a higher good – which includes the “bad.” Seen from the perspective of the mind, however, there is a good-bad, like-dislike, love-hate. Hence, in the Book of Genesis, it is said that Adam and Eve were no longer allowed to dwell in “paradise” when they “ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”
— Eckhart Tolle
To perceive yourself as a vulnerable body that was born and a little later dies – that’s the illusion. Body and death: one illusion. You cannot have one without the other. You want to keep one side of the illusion and get rid of the other, but that is impossible. Either you keep all of it or you relinquish all of it.
— Eckhart Tolle

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