Bye bye to the Power of Now

The problem with BEING in the Now, is that it’s been hard to make myself actually WRITE about it. I’ve been too busy BEING in it to analyse or pin stuff down into sentences. When I have tried, it’s felt like trying to pin down clouds… it’s all been a bit woolly, a bit woo-woo…

But then maybe old Tolle had the same problem because despite the fact that I love, worship and adore this book – I still don’t understand half of it.

I think he’s said somewhere that the language is such that even when you don’t get all of it, when you read it, it does something to change your brain. Or maybe I’m making that up.

Anyway, for all the stuff that’s gone way over my head, this has still been THE book for me. THE BIG ONE. It has blown my mind – and I don’t say that lightly.

No other book has got me googling ‘Is there a god?’ in Costa Coffee as I did last week. At no other point have I phoned my mum and asked her, quite literally, what this life business is all about.

‘The Power of Now says that we are more than our thoughts and feelings – but if that’s true, then what exactly ARE we?  I asked her. ‘I mean, are we just Life? or Love? or Consciousness?’

After a long pause, I got a classic Mary Power come back: ‘I don’t know, Marianne, but Woolf Hall is about to begin.’ Ha ha!

I have never thought about the big things before, I was alway too busy obsessing over my petty neuroses to do that.

And the messages in this book are BIG. To recap:

ALL WE HAVE IS RIGHT NOW – This is it. It really, really is. This moment right now, when you’re reading this, is life so soak up every bit of it. No moment in the future, or moment in the past is more important than this moment right now.

WE ARE NOT THE CRAP THAT GOES ON IN OUR HEADS –  We’re not even our feelings. They are the product of our ego – the part of us that wants to make us different and separate to the rest of the world, a part that is addicted to thinking about the past and the future, the part that, in my case, became quite addicted to being unhappy. When you practice just stepping back and observing your crazy thoughts, instead of getting caught up in them, they start to lose your power. When you actually face your feelings rather than trying to numb them, suppress them or let them take over, you realise that they pass sooner than you think.

SO WHAT ARE YOU LEFT WITH? If you step back from thoughts and feelings – what are you left with? Who are we? I still don’t know. I think the idea is that we are all pure LIFE and LOVE and that, ultimately, we are all connected, we are ALL ONE. But while I get glimmers of understanding and believing this, other times it just feels like New Age gibberish and my brain won’t take it on…What I do accept is that…

HAPPINESS COMES FROM ACCEPTANCE AND SURRENDER.... What if the NOW that you’re in really sucks? You might be sick, divorcing, lonely… Tolle says that no matter how bad our life situation is, resistance (wishing it were other than what it is) is not only futile, it causes greater unhappiness than the situation itself. He says the moment you accept your reality, surrender and let it be – you change so profoundly that your ‘problem’ feels entirely different. A new solution will emerge. And surrender doesn’t mean do nothing… it means accept that you are where you are and then take action, if you want to.

STOP OVER-THINKING- Most of us think that life is a problem to be solved with our brains – it’s not. Yes, we all need to use our brains to function but Tolle believes that our greatest ideas, our greatest creativity and the greatest relationships come from stillness. Try doing less instead of more.

THE WORST OF TIMES CAN BE THE BEST OF TIMES – Tolle was suicidally depressed when he had his epiphany. Tolle believes that the hardest times in our lives can lead to great transformation – that it’s only when we hit rock bottom that we realise there has to be a different way to live life. That has certainly been the case with me.

I met an old school friend last night who told me how brave she thought I was to poke around in my head the way I have – but actually it’s not brave, I didn’t feel like I had a choice. I was so unhappy for big chunks of my life, I had to start looking into all these things. That’s what led me to the Hoffman Process, in January 2013, and starting this blog in January 2014.

Happy people don’t read self-help – they don’t need to. They’re too busy out living life. It’s only lost souls like me that pick them up looking for answers. But given the size of self-help sections in bookshops these days, there’s obviously a lot of us looking.

Well, with the Power of Now I really have found answers. I’ve also found peace.

I now see that all my down patches have served a purpose. The made me question things, question myself, face up to a lot of things I didn’t want to face up to but which were there all the time, even when I was ignoring them… My hard times brought me here, to the NOW.

And I am so grateful for NOW, sitting in my friend’s beautiful kitchen with coffee in my favourite mug, sitting at a laptop typing out my thoughts to people who are actually reading them and relating to them. That lovely song, Hold Back the River, is playing on the radio and for about the umpteenth time this month, I could cry with the beauty of it all.

Peeling away all my layers of crap over the last couple of years has not been fun but it’s been worth it. Right now there is nowhere else I’d rather be, nobody else I’d rather be. Thanks very much for being part of it.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to my newsletter

Sign up for sporadic updates from self-help land and life in general, including details on upcoming talks and events. Promise not to bombard you.