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The Power of Now

A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment

By Eckhart Tolle
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The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now (1997) offers a specific method for putting an end to suffering and achieving inner peace, living fully in the present and separating yourself from your mind. The book also teaches you to detach yourself from your “ego” – a part of the mind that seeks control over your thinking and behavior. It argues that by doing so you can learn to accept the present, reduce the amount of pain you experience, improve your relationships and enjoy a better life in general.

Key idea 1 of 10

By focusing only on the present – and ignoring the past or future – you can greatly improve your life.

Many of us want to find inner peace and improve our lives. We’re seeking – in a word – enlightenment, yet we don’t know which steps to take to find it.

Well, the first step may be easier than you imagine.

We tend to live in the past and in the future. One moment we’re reminiscing or regretting, the next we’re planning or worrying. Meanwhile, we neglect the one moment that is fully available to us: the present.


Only the present is important because nothing ever occurs in the past or future; things happen only in a continuous stream of present moments.

Whenever you feel something, that feeling is experienced in the present, because your senses can only give you information about this specific moment. So when we say that something happened in the past, that’s not quite true: it actually happened in a single, present moment.

Indeed, what we call “the past” is really a collection of once-present moments that have passed. Likewise, “the future” is made up of present moments that have yet to arrive.

As this suggests, there are no advantages to worrying about the future or dwelling in the past, but there are many to living “in the now.” If you manage to achieve that, you’ll experience no major problems, just small ones that can be dealt with as they arise.

For example, a challenging task, like writing a scientific paper, often seems too large and complicated to be achievable. If you’re anxious about the work that’s remaining, or regret missed opportunities to work on it in the past, you’ll get nowhere. But if you just solve one little problem after another – gathering the data, developing a structure, writing the first chapter – you’ll accomplish it more easily.

So try to live in the present! Stop clinging to the past and stop fearing the future, and you’ll see how dramatically your life will improve.

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