What's Wrong with The Power of Now? Eckhart Tolle's Mistake
About Conscious Awareness
Asking Questions in Other Places
- Fifteen Reasons Not To Trust Esther Hicks and Abraham
What's wrong with Esther Hicks and Abraham? Plenty, it turns out. Plenty enough to put aside trust.Ten Reasons Not To Trust Esther Hicks and Abraham is an idea I got after I'd written several others, mostly supportive, about the duo (or trio, really,
Anthony Robbins and How to Be Ready
Did He Get Something Wrong?
Did Eckhart Tolle miss his point and some of the power too?
In his seminal work and follow up lectures, the author described how The Power of Now lead him to a personal rebirth. Getting into that now moment, fully realizing and appreciating it, brought strength and fulfillment.
I loved this book. It was a difference maker for me. That made it a little embarrassing when I discovered that it his theory was based on a false premise. Eckhart Tolle's mistake was in not really understanding what now is.
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Eckhart Tolle's Mistake: The Power of Now is Something Else
Think for a minute about what it means to have a "now," that personal awareness of the present.
Eckhart Tolle teaches the power of relishing that awareness, appreciating it fully. The problem is, given how our physical brains create our sense of the present, we are always–and I mean without exception –looking at the past.
We are never fully aware of the present moment. Our brains, as amazing as they are, didn't evolve to do that. That's the problem in Tolle's mistake and also, I think, where he got off the track with the more downbeat tone in his more recent books – instead of the world being wonderful, he now seems to think it's broken.
Multiple operations contributing a wide range of mindful and unconscious services make up a soft machine of unimaginable versatility, better known as your brain, highly prepared at birth, tuned and retuned throughout life.
Our minds evolved to be so powerful our skulls were forced to expand so quickly that the rest of our bodies, especially those of women who must give birth in more pain than that experienced by virtually any other living thing, may never catch up.
Yet, our brains are malleable, constantly adapting to new inputs, new observations, synthesizing, gaining strength. We're capable of amazing things.
Experiencing the present in the moment it happens, however, is not one of them. We had to invent time, just to account for the gap.
Why The Power of Now Is Not What You Think
Our consciousness, our mind's eye, is a creation put together from many resources, running like a documentary that won't end.
Our eyes accept photons and send them up the optic nerve. Receptors in our ears interpret vibrations in air flow. Simultaneously, our skin, our taste buds, our noses are all gathering information and sending it brain-ward.
Our minds scramble to assemble a workable reality out of the endless flood of information, millions of items per second, combining it with stored learning, memory and, perhaps most importantly, expectation.
The process is more complex than even that description allows, but it is a process, a sequence of occurrences that, by definition, can't happen without an elapse of time.
Moreover, that process, the creating of a reality from wildly disparate elements is continuous. One slice of reality is so infused with before and after that the idea of a moment grows absurd.
We may pause for sleep but only to change context. What we see as "now" is the product of an incredible capacity for invention and interpretation - of what already happened.
If the miracle of what your brain, supported by sensory processes, does isn't impressive enough to... well, make your head spin, consider that all the data it uses for invention is raw. By this, I mean that what we see arrives at our optic nerves without color. Smells and sounds are inventions, mental interpretations of differing chemical and vibrational data.
We put the bomp in the bompabompabomp, answering Gerry Goffin's classic pop question, and we keep putting it in.
We put the red in roses and the blue in sky. Evolution has prepared us very well for our work, and it's the universality of evolution that guarantees we all see, feel and hear the same things in the same way.
The Truth about Now and the Way Out
When we think we are appreciating our now, our present moment, we are in reality appreciating what just happened, no matter how quick we are. But there are good reasons for retaining the illusion.
The first is that it makes us happy to find in our lives things that fulfill us, and much of that is an ineffable presence in nature, what we often think of as the presence of God for lack of a better explanation.
The closer we come to that membrane that separates us from wholeness, the more peaceful and content we are. The second is that, appreciating our moment just passed teaches us and prepares us for what comes next.
The universe around us is chock full of things to see, touch, feel, hear and taste. It's impossible to take in everything and assemble it in our mind's eye. We can't pick and chose in the instant of now because we aren't really there yet.
What we can do, what we do actually do in the act of awareness and emotional attachment is shift gears in our direction to the future. We do this immediately, moment by moment, automatically.
When you think about it, you understand that the future is all we can ever do anything about. Our beloved "now" is gone before we see it, falling off into the accumulation of history and memory.
Our preparation for the future allows us to absorb that unconscious moment and relish it as it settles into the collections of the past. Evolution built us to look forward for a good reason. For all intents, it's where we really are.
Awareness is about history. The future is now, even for Eckhart Tolle.
The Power of Now
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Inspired by Fritjof Capra's Tao of Physics
Eckhart Tolle's Work
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