The Power of Now
Tolle also posits that all pain is simply the result of resistance to the things we cannot change. If you feel a constant heartache over that one thing you did when you were drinking, this is resistance to a thing you cannot change. If you worry about the fact you got fired last week, this is a resistance to a thing you cannot change. To be certain, we can effect change around these things—we can make amends for the things we did while drinking, we can start the job hunt and get our resumes out there—but the thing causing us active pain is something that is unchangeable in our lives.
So Tolle says that, to free ourselves of our pain, we focus on the present. And Tolle calls on a principle that we’ve been practicing throughout Reframe: nonjudgment, or the act of simply observing our thoughts and feelings without assigning a positive or negative label to them. When we acknowledge the pain or suffering or whatever else is coming up for us in the present, and we allow it without judgment, we are actively detaching from ego.
If you’re reading this with a little skepticism and aren’t sure how this will apply to your life directly, let’s take a look at what Tolle says we should do about complaining, shall we? According to Tolle, complaining is simply non-acceptance of what is actually reality. If you criticize or complain, you are denying the existence of reality and only causing yourself more pain. (This reaction comes from what you wish was different about the situation—usually something you have little control over.) And this has nothing to do with the person or situation you find yourself complaining about—much like holding a grudge, this is all about how little it impacts the other and how much it impacts you.
So instead of complaining, we’ve got some choices:
Remove ourselves from the situation
Change the situation
Accept the situation
The end. Anything outside of those directives fall into the wishing, complaining, fantasizing realms, which will often lead us to emotional pain. When dealing with unpleasant realities here in the now, we can use this framework to take conscious action and reduce our suffering.
What do you think about Tolle’s theory about the power of now? Does this align with your experiences, or do you prefer temporal time balance? Or perhaps you like some combination of the two theories; as always, take what works for you and leave the rest. This is your path.
Tolle, E. (1997). The Power of Now. New World Library.