Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tip #9: Remember the Power of Now

Some years ago I bought the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It was when he was in Oprah and it seemed like everyone was talking about it. I didn't have time to actually watch Oprah, but I found the title intriguing enough to buy the book. I started reading it, felt totally lost and bored after 10 pages and that was that. Still, the words in the title, the power of "right" now, were very alluring. I just had a bit problem with the idea of "But what if "now"actually sucks?" In any case, I decided to give it a try last year. I needed to know there was power somewhere, and the power of now started to sound good again.

Well, I have to say that now I'm a convinced believer and that book  is one I love to recommend. I think everyone should read it, at least give it a try (more than 10 pages). But you should particularly read it if you are going through a crisis.

I will tell you now my super short version of what I learned from it, with the hope that you find it interesting enough so you read it, or at least consider it. Here it goes.

In our daily lives, we tend to be accompanied by a voice inside our heads that is constantly talking like a mad person. The voice tells us things like "You should do that instead," "Who do you think you are," "I cannot believe she said that. She really is pushy," "Does this dress make me fat?," "What are we going to have for dinner? I forgot to buy the salad dressing." Or, much, much worse things. You all know what I'm talking about. Well, we need to pay attention to that voice (who he calls "ego"), listen to it as if it were other person talking and realize that it is not reality, and then proceed to stop it completely or minimize it as much as possible. Reality is what's in front of you, in my case the computer where I'm typing. Nothing hurts me as I type. Nothing bothers me as I type. And, as I'm quite distracted with this activity, that is, I am consciously typing, there are no voices in my head telling me anything. Of course, I can stop typing and then I can hear it: "Writing a blog post? How stupid is that? I still have to make dinner. I forgot the laundry. How can I make plans for the summer? My PET scan is in May, I'm getting nervous already. What if I'm not in remission any more?" We need to learn to say STOP to this voice that we all have. What we have is now, pure and simple. The past is not there any more. We can remember it, if we want to, but we cannot go back. And the future does not really exist either. No one can assure us tomorrow (or even five seconds from now).

So, what to do? I have trained myself now, more or less, to be in the moment as much as possible. I love that sentence: "be in the moment" (my yoga teacher says it in every class and it is such a great reminder). In this "moment" you can plan for the future, for things like "I need to go to the grocery store before I go to school." Maybe even retirement, or long term plans like that. But make those plans part of your now, that is, enjoy making them as much as getting there.

Remember this one thing: make this moment count as much as possible. It is what we have. Don't waste it listening to that voice that teaches you nothing. In my weekly walks to school, I often hear that voice telling me a million things. I then remember to say: STOP! And you know what happens every time? I see my surrounding with new eyes. I notice the trees, or a flower, or a bird, or a cloud and I see their beauty and wisdom and I feel peace.

And, together with this idea of the power of now, come the concepts of acceptance (instead of resistance) and surrender. But I will talk about them in other tips.

PS: What do you think of the sign my eleven year old son made me for this post on Photoshop? Pretty cool, isn't it? I love it!

Let me know if you have read the book and what you thought about it!


  1. Pilar - I saw Eckhart on Oprah and went out and bought his book and like you I had a hard time getting into it - I even borrowed his book on tape from a friend but couldnt stand to listen to his creepy sounding voice. I love his message and do really want to try to live in the moment w/o the chatter in my head.....Its a learned process for sure and takes time to quiet the mind. Maybe I will give the book another go. Love the picture that your son made for the post - Holly( :

  2. Holly, thanks so much for your message. I recommend you start with the book The Power of Now, even though the beginning is a bit strange, but just keep reading. It gets better. Then, you can read A New Earth (the one that Oprah showed more). I liked it a bit less, but I still enjoyed it. Believe or not, after finishing The Power of Now, I really felt like I was missing something. I had to read something else by Tolle. It's too bad, though, that he now has a website where he charges for almost everything. At least we have the books! I'm glad you'll give it another try!