When I was a child, I remember persistently asking my parents on our way home from mass on Christmas Eve, “When will it be tomorrow?” Excited for the presents and festivities that we planned for weeks, I yearned to escape the now and fast forward to the reality that seemed to might not ever arrive. Needless to say, tomorrow, and Christmas, always came in due time, with sweets and laughter and twinkle lights. But it wasn’t really tomorrow, was it? As I matured over the years, I realized that my question was impossible to answer. The “tomorrow” that I had longed for would always, eventually, be “today,” otherwise known as “now.”The notion of fully and unapologetically living in the present–hence the titular “Now”–is the proposition expressed in Eckhart Tolle’s inspiring, best-selling book “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment.” The title may seem to display indications of a nonsensical, otherworldly book, the kind I ordinarily think of as a waste of time to read. Yet, believe me, this one is unique.Tolle is a straightforward kind of author, and he doesn’t allow the reader to make any excuses for not embracing the power of now. The publication is formatted in a series of questions and answers, derived from real questions he has asked himself over the years before experiencing a major personal epiphany about this notion. Within his writing, he often raises the exact doubts and inquiries that I had while reading, therefore, his words felt directed very much at myself.Within ten chapters, the book delineates the various ways that one can achieve one solitary objective: accomplishing the ability to be present in the current moment.What does that even mean, exactly? Essentially, there is no past or even future–no tomorrow or yesterday–for they do not exist, only now does. It’s all about now–how you are handling this moment. This might sound easy in concept–aren’t I always living in the now?–but it’s actually quite hard to do at all times and with your whole self.So how is one intended to accomplish this ideal state, one that Tolle claims can possibly spare the world from its own self-destructing propensities such as stress and anxiety? The answer I’ve obtained from reading is practice. Establishing simple routines so that you not only can deal with being overwhelmed at times, but rise above it is crucial. Whether that means honing in on your breathing for a few minutes, observing the beautiful blooming flowers on the borders of the sidewalk, or breathing in the crisp air and feeling the sun on your skin, being present can be a simple act that is often overlooked. Continually reminding yourself to focus on now will help you construct the foundation of your future without worrying about the mistakes of the past and hesitating about the future’s unpredictability.
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