Book Summary: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Are you looking for a book summary of The Power of Now By Eckhart Tolle? You have come to the right place.

Last week, I finished reading this book and jotted down some key insights from Eckhart Tolle.

You don’t have to read the whole book if you don’t have time. This summary will provide you with an overview of everything you can learn from this book.

You may also read some popular quotes from The Power of Now here.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

In this The Power of Now: A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment summary, I’m going to cover the following topics:

What is The Power of Now About?

In The Power of Now, you will learn how to put an end to suffering and achieve inner peace through living fully in the present moment and separating your mind from your body. 

Positive emotions about ourselves and our lives as a whole impede us from experiencing the fullness of life and appreciating who we are at our most authentic. The difficulty is that this is problematic on two levels.

The tendency to spend too much time thinking about the past or the future causes us to miss
out on the pleasures of the present moment, and these ideas do not always carry us to pleasant places. Our thoughts are frequently negative, and we might become entangled in feelings of regret for the past or worrisome anxieties about the future as a result.

Who is the Author of The Power of Now?

Eckart Tolle is a spiritual teacher and author who is well-known and widely respected. His fundamental message emphasizes the present moment, allowing us to move beyond the noise and clutter that come with overthinking and instead live in the present moment.

The Power of Now Chapters

  • Chapter 1: You are not your mind
  • Chapter 2: Consciousness: The way out of pain
  • Chapter 3: Moving deeply into the now
  • Chapter 4: Mind Strategies for avoiding the now
  • Chapter 5: The state of presence
  • Chapter 6: The inner body
  • Chapter 7: Portals into the unmanifested
  • Chapter 8: Enlightened Relationships
  • Chapter 9: Beyond Happiness and unhappiness there is peace
  • Chapter 10: The meaning of surrender

The Power of Now Book Summary

Introduction

We’ll briefly discuss how reclaiming a profound sense of calm and well-being can be accomplished by focusing on the present moment and being in the present now.

Also covered will be the mental blockages that prevent us from experiencing the present moment fully, as well as some techniques for bringing ourselves back to the present moment when we are distracted.

The Power of Now is not only a guide to assist us on our journeys towards spiritual enlightenment, but it also allows us to become more conscious, allowing us to manage our brains rather than letting our minds rule us.

We are instructed to accept pain and suffering while also becoming more alert. Our egos are also
taught to be understood, as is the need of tuning into our bodies rather than our intellect. Put these ideas into action and start living in the present moment, we’ll see positive changes in our lives and how we see ourselves concerning the rest of the world for a long time to come.

Lesson 1: Truth Is The Hidden Treasure Within Us All

We tend to think of enlightenment as a superhuman trait that is only available to a restricted group of spiritual individuals. However, enlightenment is truly a condition of being that is always present and focuses on experiencing a joyous oneness with one’s surroundings. The difficulty is that we tend to look beyond ourselves while we are looking for it.

For example, we may emphasize our accomplishments, belongings, and experiences as sources of happiness, yet a lasting and genuine sense of calm comes from within one’s own heart.

To better understand this, consider the following instructive tale about enlightenment: “The Path to Enlightenment.” When a stranger walked past a beggar who had spent his entire life on the side of the road on one specific day, he was overjoyed.

He approached the visitor in his regular manner, holding out his old baseball cap, and asking for some spare change in his normal manner.

The stranger replied that he had no change, but instead of going away, he approached the beggar and inquired as to what he was sitting on. ‘It’s just an old box,’ the beggar explained, adding that he had been sitting on it for whatever length of time he could recall. When the stranger was asked another inquiry, he chose to continue rather than move on.

In response to his question about whether the beggar had ever peered inside the box, the beggar said, ‘What’s the point?’ “There isn’t anything inside.” The stranger waited for a moment before
instructing the beggar to open the box and look inside. The beggar stared at the man with a puzzled expression before pulling open the ancient box.

What the beggar discovered was incredible; the ancient box was stuffed full with a colossal amount of gold. The moral of this story is that we must go within ourselves to locate the gold, rather than looking outside ourselves for pleasure because happiness comes from within.

Each of us possesses a treasure that is far greater than anything the world can provide. A deep sense of well-being and an unshakable sense of calm that comes with acknowledging our inner selves can be found within each of us.

Understandable since it cannot be intellectually grasped or articulated, it is difficult to grasp. Our intuition is based on our experience, and we can only recognize it when our minds are fully silent and our attention is completely focused on the present. As a result, the more we live in the present moment, the more we can connect with our enlightened selves and enjoy life to its fullest.

Lesson 2: Obstacles That Prevent Us From Being Present In The Moment

Have you ever found yourself utterly buried in contemplation, over-identifying with the ego, or simply dragging suffering from the past around with you? This manner frequently causes us to feel nervous, and it hinders us from feeling the oneness of all that we are and have been.

First and first, let us consider those bothersome ideas, those thoughts that frequently keep us awake at night or whirl about in our heads, making us feel stressed and anxious. Many of us make ambitious goals for the future, but many of the time these ambitions spiral out of control, and we begin to worry about whether or not we will be able to fulfil our objectives.

And, what’s worse, what if we don’t succeed? Welcome to the world of mental time travel, which is something that we all engage in regularly. Unfortunately, such thoughts keep us from being positive and present, which makes it more difficult to attain our goals in this manner.

The ability to maintain a tranquil and present state of awareness is even more difficult to achieve when so much of our cultural fixation is tied to clock-time rather than psychological time.

Psychological time refers to those periods during which we become absorbed in our thoughts about the past or the future. Also, there isn’t anything fundamentally wrong with this because mind-wandering is an integral aspect of the human experience and should be encouraged.

In truth, our memories of the past give us a sense of who we are, and our expectations for the future are often optimistic. There is, however, a negative aspect to mind-wandering. While many
of us choose to focus on the positive aspects of our lives, it is also human nature to dwell on the negative aspects.

As an example, consider the things that went wrong or the things that could go wrong in the future. So frequently, too much emphasis is placed on the negative consequences of the past, which causes sentiments of regret or sadness to surface.

Similarly, concentrating on the negative parts of the future causes us to feel anxious and stressed. Furthermore, even when we have a positive expectation of what is to come, we all too often neglect to fully engage with the current moment in which we find ourselves.

Waiting is a psychological time trap that causes tension since it is a waste of time. These feelings of stress are brought on by an inner split, which occurs when you are present in the moment but are not experiencing it because you are waiting for things that would presumably make you happier in the future. ‘Get busy living,’ says a passage from the film The Shawshank Redemption, which perfectly captures this sentiment.

Alternatively, ‘get busy dying’. The point is that none of us should be seated in the audience,
waiting for our lives to start. As a result, while having goals is important, we must also be careful of how we perceive and interact with them.

Lesson 3: The Consequences Of Having An Ego

One of the many difficulties we have, when we become overly identified with our ego, is that the ego is our false self. Since our thoughts constantly feed us stories about who we are and what has happened in our lives, we are unable to be fully present.

This, according to the author, was the beginning of the difficulty with assertions such as ‘I believe; therefore I am.’ As a result, Descartes succumbed to a basic fallacy in which we associate thinking with being and in which we believe that our thoughts define our identity.

If we become overly identified with our thoughts, the lens through which we see ourselves and the world might become distorted. As a result, the ego, also known as the false self, is an interpretation of the universe rather than a true reflection.

It is common for the ego to be associated with markers such as social status and material goods, our occupations, earning praise from others, and our religious beliefs, among other things. Since the ego is constantly in flux, we are trapped at the surface level of these identifications, which means that we never engage with our genuine selves.

For example, our social status can be altered by a single bad investment, we could be laid off tomorrow, and our physical appearance will change with time. Those things that fuel our egos are not lasting, and they have nothing to do with our inner selves or being present in the moment.

As long as we think and feel in this way, we will cling to thoughts about the past or the future and reject the opportunity to live in the now and now, which is what the ego wants us to do.

Our ego, on the other hand, can be a major source of sorrow for us. By its very nature, the ego makes us feel inadequate and unfinished. It’s the voice that convinces us that if we have certain things, we will be content with our situation.

It also takes all necessary precautions to defend itself. It’s for this reason that we could become irrationally offended when we’re told that we’ve made a mistake.

If our beliefs about who we are being revealed to be incorrect, our sense of self will be jeopardized. This way of thinking prevents us from living in the present moment and, as a result, from being truly happy.

Lesson 4: The Influence Of The Ego

The power of the ego is not only restricted to our intellect. We experience emotional responses to our thoughts, and our bodies experience physical responses to these emotions. For example, when we are experiencing mental suffering, it is common for it to present itself as physical discomfort.

It is the pain-body, as the name implies, that is made up of accumulated suffering that is kept in the body. It’s a form of vibrating energy that permeates around us, and when triggered by another similar pain, it rears its head and reacts destructively. When you are experiencing a painful emotional reaction to a certain incident, you may observe your painful body making an appearance.

It is, therefore, necessary to cope with unpleasant feelings because else they would become a reminder of the suffering that we will carry with us throughout our life.

Strong negative emotions, like strong negative ideas, can also cause us to lose sight of the present moment and become detached from our genuine selves.

We should never let our ego stand in the way of dealing with hardship, for it is frequently through suffering that we learn the most about life, and ourselves.

Lesson 5: Obstacles Provide Opportunities For Growth

So far, we’ve talked about the three barriers that keep us from being fully present and re-connecting with the most fundamental aspect of ourselves.

The first thing that happens is that we become disoriented in our thoughts. Second, we over-identify with the ego, and third, we cling to the memory of past traumas and disappointments.

How can we overcome the impediments now that we are aware of their existence? The first stage is to learn to observe our thoughts and emotions without becoming emotionally attached to them. We can accomplish this by keeping our feet firmly planted in the current moment.

It is the knowledge that we are not our thoughts that marks the beginning of true liberation. The ability to be a witnessing presence is a vital practice to begin implementing right now.

That is, instead of thinking, one must learn to be a passive observer. To accomplish this, we must notice and listen to our thinking streams without being identified with them. We shall be able to acquire a greater degree of consciousness and enlightenment as a result of this exercise.

Close your eyes and think about what you’ll say next to yourself after that.

Although this question appears to be trivial, it will have a huge impact on your mental processes. Furthermore, if you do this technique, you will find that you are better able to live in the now, which is particularly useful when you are caught up in a train of past or future ideas.

By maintaining a constant state of attentiveness, you will no longer be a passive observer of your cognitive processes. So the concept is that while you’re experiencing a surge of thoughts, you should stop and consider what your next thought will be before continuing.

You’ll discover that doing so effectively blocks out the preceding notion and replaces it with a blank instant during which your mind can readjust to your query.

It is through this practice of being patient and waiting for the next thought to arise that we may learn to simply be attentive and detached from our thoughts.

Because we’ll have made a pause in the flow of our thoughts, it will likely take some time for the next thought to come to us. This allows us to regain control and be present.

The trick is to remember that thinking is only a small part of the overall experience of consciousness. Thus, there is a large universe of knowledge beyond thought, and thinking is merely a small part of this intelligence; if we properly understand this, we begin to awaken.

Lesson 6: Keep Your Feet Firmly Planted In The Present

We must maintain our grounding in the present if we are to remain in this awakened presence. And, to stay grounded in the present, we must direct our focus away from our thoughts and onto our bodies.

Our bodies’ signals should be recognized by everyone because they aid in the recognition of our emotions and the repetitive thoughts that contribute to them being sustained.

How often do you think about your breathing and the patterns that you use to breathe?

Using our breath to create a state of the present in our bodies is a straightforward method of doing so. Now is a good time to try to pay attention to your breath. Don’t try to force it into a certain beat; instead, simply be aware of it for a few minutes.

In many cases, this exercise will be challenging since painful memories may come while you are attempting to concentrate. The goal is to just attempt to pay attention to your body without passing judgment on it. The best way to tackle this situation once you’ve gone through this ordeal is with an attitude of forgiveness and acceptance.

When we realize that our jaw is clinched or that we have tension in our shoulders, we might take a moment to reflect on the fact that the root of this tension may be anxiety or anger. Just as we can learn to become observers of our thoughts, we can learn to become observers of our own emotions, rather than getting drawn in and overwhelmed by them.

It is important to try to let go of negative emotions when dealing with unpleasant situations. If this is not possible, practice seeing it as a separate mental and emotional process.

As soon as we begin to observe our feelings rather than participate in them, we can dissociate ourselves from them and go on. However, staying in the present moment and being present with whatever happens is not always simple.

The cultivation of an attitude of acceptance, forgiveness, and surrender is necessary for this reason.

Lesson 7: Cultivate A Profound Awareness Of One’s Reality

Developing a thorough understanding of reality as it exists is essential to accepting the current moment.

It is about being able to see clearly and see-through bad reasons and erroneous identifications to the truth. Seeing and feeling life as it is also important; this allows us to respond rather than react when faced with challenging circumstances.

This enables us to act following our deepest selves and to see what is genuinely important to us in our lives. It’s crucial to remember that acceptance of the present does not imply passive resignation from one’s obligations. It is, paradoxically, about being awake and action-oriented at all times.

There are numerous approaches to dealing with difficult present-day problems. For example, if we find ourselves in a position that we do not enjoy, we have three options.

The first option is to try to get ourselves out of that circumstance as quickly as possible. The second option is to see whether we can make any changes to the current situation.

Final option: Can we honestly accept our current circumstances as if we had decided to be in this position? The final option may be difficult to swallow, especially when we’re faced with a difficult
situation.

As an example, coping with the death of a close family member is never easy. Accepting death as an inevitability, on the other hand, can assist us in moving toward acceptance and concentrating on the present. The task is to learn how to become an alchemist…that is, are you capable of taking stress and pain and turning them into something positive?

Final Summary

It is the indestructible essence of our being that lies beyond the mind and the frantic pace of our daily lives. However, to experience it, we must first make the journey into the present now. This entails relinquishing and putting our analytical minds to the back of the bus.

This approach appears to be counter-intuitive, considering that humans are essentially intelligent and analytical creatures; nonetheless, we are provided with insightful practices that allow us to
reframe how we think about thinking.

The idea of this book is that our thoughts may be a trap and that they can cause us to become stuck in a loop where we live in the past and the future while never truly experiencing what is happening in the now.

At our heart, we must all come to terms with the fact that the current moment is all that we have to offer. As a result, we have a responsibility to make the present the primary focus of our life. As long as we can accomplish this and remain content on the inside, the rest of our lives will fall into place naturally.

The Power of Now Review

The book has received some criticism, and I can understand why. Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now has very “new agey” language, making it difficult to avoid being distracted. For example, how does he define “dimensions of consciousness”? Is it true that mental practices can reduce the density of your body’s molecules, as he claims?

It is still a brilliant book, despite some questionable paragraphs. I struggled with anxiety and neurosis during my teenage years. But then I discovered The Power of Now. Eckhart Tolle’s exercises helped me reduce my thinking and live more at the moment. 

Guess what? They completely changed the way I experience life. By separating myself from my neurotic negative thinking, I was able to move past a lot of my anxiety.

As I look back, I realize I was introduced to mindfulness and meditation techniques through this book.

Some people misunderstand the book’s message because they perceive it as abstract philosophy. Eckhart Tolle, however, is almost always practical. If you read this book, you will find most of his ideas easy to apply and your attitude toward life will change.

Further Reading

If you like the book The Power of Now, you may also like reading the following book summaries:

Buy The Book: The Power of Now

If you want to buy the book The Power of Now, you can get it from the following links:

Related Lists

Or, browse all book summaries.

Leave a Comment