I fancy myself an intellectual, a deep thinker that thirsts for substance. Occasionally I need to step away from the Clinton vs Trump/Kardashian filled news and the never-ending saga of sports and exercise my brain with something more meaningful. And in that search I found “The Power of Now”.
Eckart Tolle is a German author, living in Canada, that has written a handful of best-selling self-help books. He has had his own internal battles with depression and overall dissatisfaction with life that triggered an inner transformation. This newly acquired awareness is obvious in his writings and something that everyone can benefit from.
In Tolle’s first book, “The Power of Now”, he dives into how it’s pointless to concern yourself with the past or the future. All we have is now – this moment. No one can change what they’ve done and no one can manipulate the future. He’s not saying don’t learn from your mistakes, or to not prepare for upcoming events, but focusing on this moment, and this moment only, is the only way to find genuine satisfaction in life.
In a nutshell, human brains have two sides – the calculator side and the conscious side. The calculator side is basically there to keep us from walking into traffic and the conscious side is there for everything else. What Tolle describes is that modern humans have developed a society that leans too much on the calculator brain. A good example of that would be our monetary system. Too many of us measure ourselves, and others, by how much money a person makes. “Keeping up with the Jones'” is an exercise of the calculator brain and a waste of time and potential.
Obviously, both brains are crucial for human existence and can be credited for our climbing out of the trees and our progression as a species. We’ve created some pretty cool stuff, no one denies that. Unfortunately, humans burn too many calories making sure that their shoes match their shirt. It’s not a bad thing to make yourself presentable for public, but there’s only so much time we have. Through Tolle’s writing, I’m beginning to understand how precious that time is and what really matters in life.
Allow me to digress for a moment. When I start to think of what is truly important in life, I’m left with things like family and friends. How I look as I pull up to a potential client’s home – the car I’m driving or the clothes I’m wearing – are meaningless. It’s the interactions we have with each other that provide the social experiences that we all desire. We are mammals; being social is what we do.
Tolle describes a deep satisfaction that hinges on living in the moment. We live in a big garden (Earth). This garden provides us with everything we could ever want and need. It’s only when we allow ourselves to be distracted with watered down, non-substantial, instant gratifying bullshit that we find ourselves empty and craving more. Tolle is telling us that we don’t need the latest iPhone, what we need is genuine relationships and the experiences that they provide. Being present in this moment is the only way to achieve that.