Be in the Present
by Darlene Barriere
(Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada)
Presence is not a state of mind
Last week, I finished reading Eckhart Tolle's The Power of NOW, A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Tolle published this book some years before A New Earth, the book that I credit with my own Awakening, but even so, I'm glad to have read it as though it was his second book. The lessons are so deep, so vast in number that I felt compelled to read it again.
One of the most enlightening of the lessons for me was learning that my mind has prevented me obtaining true inner peace.
As an adult, I've always known that our past is made up of memories, memories that we can do nothing about because they've already happened. Every experience we've encountered has already happened, and as such, we can do nothing to change them. So if we can't change our memories and we can't change the experiences of the past, what is the answer to inner peace?
I've always thought the answer was mind over matter. That if we simply accept what happened as is and resign ourselves to the inability to change any of it, then a certain sense of peace would ensue. For me, this has been the case. But I must admit that when I say "a certain sense of peace," that's all it was, because until quite recently, inner peace for me was fleeting. My mind seldom shut off; and when it did, it lasted only briefly before the thoughts and inner dialogue were back.
Tolle says our thoughts are mostly "repetitive and useless." I bristled when I first read this, but as I began to pay attention to my thoughts by "watching" them when they made themselves known, I came to realize that he's right. When I use my mind for the task at hand in the Now, that's one thing, but when my mind wonders off on tangents that have nothing whatsoever to do with what I'm doing at the time, it's useless. The only difference between me and someone who is schizophrenic is that those thoughts are silent within my own head and I know that no one is talking to me. All of my thoughts are being generated from my own mind, including all the little scenarios that are created within it, scenarios that are useless and repetitive.
If all this sounds way too deep or perhaps even somewhat delusional, you're on the right track.
We live in a world of perception, our own perception; and that perception is created by our minds. When our minds are all over the map, deep in thought, we are unconscious. The answer is to learn to turn our minds off; and the only way to do that is to live in the Now and to do it consciously.
We are not our pasts and we are not going to become what we plan for our future. We are something much more than that; and the gateway to finding who we really are is to Be in the Present.