The Power of Now: Freedom from Unhappiness
"The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle encourages us to focus on the Now and be present. But what if your current life situation is not the most pleasant place to be for so many valid reasons. It can be health issues that you are dealing with, the loss of a loved one, or a financial crisis. It can also be resentment toward your job or regret in your relationships or disappointment toward yourself.
If you always find yourself unhappy with your Now, I hope the following excerpts from the book encourage you on how to break free from that unhappiness.
You have a choice to choose peace and happiness.
Do you resent doing what you are doing? ... Have a good look inside. Is there even the slightest trace of resentment, unwillingness? What thoughts is your mind creating around the situation? Then look at the emotion, which is the body’s reaction to those thoughts. Feel the emotion. Is it the energy that you would actually choose to have inside you? Do you have a choice?
Whether your thoughts and emotions about this situation are justified or not makes no difference. The fact is that you are resisting what is. You are making the present moment into an enemy. You are creating unhappiness, a conflict between the inner and the outer.
Either stop doing what you are doing, speak to the person concerned and express fully what you feel, or drop the negativity that your mind has created around the situation and that serves no purpose whatsoever except to strengthen a false sense of self. Negativity is never the optimum way of dealing with any situation. In fact, in most cases it keeps you stuck in it, blocking real change. Anything that is done with negative energy will become contaminated by it and in time give rise to more pain , more unhappiness. Furthermore, any negative inner state is contagious: Unhappiness spreads more easily than a physical disease. Through the law of resonance, it triggers and feeds latent negativity in others, unless they are immune — that is highly conscious.
You are responsible for your inner peace; nobody else is, just as you are responsible for the planet. As within, so without: If humans clear inner pollution, they will also cease to create outer pollution.
But if you call some emotions are negative, aren’t you really saying that they shouldn’t be there, that it’s not okay to have those emotions? It’s okay to feel resentful; it’s okay to be angry, irritated, moody, or whatever — otherwise, we get into repression, inner conflict, or denial.
Of course. Once a mind pattern, an emotion, or a reaction is there, accept it. You were not conscious enough to have a choice of the matter. That’s not a judgment, just a fact. If you had a choice or realized that you do have a choice, would you choose suffering or joy, ease or unease, peace or conflict?
Coming back specifically to what you said — it is certainly true that when you accept your resentment, moodiness, anger, and so on, you are no longer forced to act them out blindly, and you are less likely to project them onto others. But I wonder if you are not deceiving yourself. When you have been practicing acceptance for a while, as you have, there comes a point when you need to go on to the next stage, where those negative emotions are not created anymore. If you don’t, your “acceptance” just becomes a mental label that allows your ego to continue to indulge in unhappiness and so strengthen its sense of separation from other people, your surroundings, your here and now. True acceptance would transmute those feelings at once.
Are you defending your right to be unconscious, your right to suffer? Don’t worry: Nobody is going to take that away from you. Once you realize that a certain kind of food makes you sick, would you carry on eating that food and keep asserting that it is okay to be sick?