To make the journey into the Now we need to leave our analytical mind and its false created self, the ego, behind. Although the journey is challenging, author Eckhart Tolle, in his New York Times bestseller The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, uses simple language and an easy question-and-answer format to guide us. A word-of-mouth phenomenon since its first publication, The Power of Now presents Tolle’s profound yet simple teachings that have helped countless people throughout the world find inner peace and greater fulfillment in their lives. At the core of his teachings is the invitation to transform consciousness, creating a spiritual awakening that he sees as the next step in human evolution. We hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from the book.
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Most of the so-called bad things that happen in people’s lives are due to unconsciousness. They are self-created, or rather ego-created. I sometimes refer to those things as “drama.” When you are fully conscious, drama does not come into your life anymore. Let me remind you brieﬂy how the ego operates and how it creates drama.
Ego is the unobserved mind that runs your life when you are not present as the witnessing consciousness, the watcher. The ego perceives itself as a separate fragment in a hostile universe, with no real inner connection to any other being, surrounded by other egos which it either sees as a potential threat or which it will attempt to use for its own ends. The basic ego patterns are designed to combat its own deep-seated fear and sense of lack. They are resistance, control, power, greed, defense, attack. Some of the ego’s strategies are extremely clever, yet they never truly solve any of its problems, simply because the ego itself is the problem.
When egos come together, whether in personal relationships or in organizations or institutions, “bad” things happen sooner or later: drama of one kind or another, in the form of conﬂict, problems, power struggles, emotional or physical violence, and so on. This includes collective evils such as war, genocide, and exploitation — all due to massed unconsciousness. Furthermore, many types of illness are caused by the ego’s continuous resistance, which creates restrictions and blockages in the ﬂow of energy through the body. When you reconnect with Being and are no longer run by your mind, you cease to create those things. You do not create or participate in drama anymore.
Whenever two or more egos come together, drama of one kind or another ensues. But even if you live totally alone, you still create your own drama. When you feel sorry for yourself, that’s drama. When you feel guilty or anxious, that’s drama. When you let the past or future obscure the present, you are creating time, psychological time — the stuff out of which drama is made. Whenever you are not honoring the present moment by allowing it to be, you are creating drama.
Most people are in love with their particular life drama. Their story is their identity. The ego runs their life. They have their whole sense of self invested in it. Even their — usually unsuccessful — search for an answer, a solution, or for healing becomes part of it. What they fear and resist most is the end of their drama. As long as they are their mind, what they fear and resist most is their own awakening.
When you live in complete acceptance of what is, that is the end of all drama in your life. Nobody can even have an argument with you, no matter how hard he or she tries. You cannot have an argument with a fully conscious person. An argument implies identiﬁcation with your mind and a mental position, as well as resistance and reaction to the other person’s position. The result is that the polar opposites become mutually energized. These are the mechanics of unconsciousness. You can still make your point clearly and ﬁrmly, but there will be no reactive force behind it, no defense or attack. So it won’t turn into drama. When you are fully conscious, you cease to be in conﬂict. “No one who is at one with himself can even conceive of conﬂict,” states A Course in Miracles. This refers not only to conﬂict with other people but more fundamentally to conﬂict within you, which ceases when there is no longer any clash between the demands and expectations of your mind and what is.
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Eckhart Tolle is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Power of Now and A New Earth, which are widely regarded as two of the most influential spiritual books of our time. Visit him online at EckhartTolle.com.
Excerpted from the book The Power of Now. Copyright © 1999 by Eckhart Tolle.