The Power of Now
This is not a book review. I have decided to select books that I love and share my experience of them as a part of my blog. This book has been an invaluable tool to exercise my power of choice.
‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle.
I was given this book by my mentor Dr. Ameeta Thacker at EKAA (http://ekaa.co.in) where I was studying Hypnotherapy in 2014. I started reading it and could not put it down until I had reached the end. Ironically this is quite the opposite manner in which it is recommended to read. The author has interspersed the book with symbols that denote a break and it is advised that you pause at that point for introspection and reflection.
Every person has a different thing to say about the book. I have come across people who say it has changed their life, whilst there are friends who own the book but haven’t been able to open it, or read beyond the first few pages. I believe that people are only able to read the book when they are ready for it.
In the Introduction, Eckhart Tolle says, “I trust that this book will find its way to those who are ready for such radical inner transformation and so act as a catalyst for it. I also hope that it will reach many others who will find its content worthy of consideration, although they may not be ready to fully live or practice it. It is possible that at a later time, the seed that was sown when reading this book will merge with the seed of enlightenment that each human being carries within, and suddenly that seed will sprout and come alive within them”.
The book is presented in a question and answer format, and for me it flowed from cover to cover as easily as I conduct my inner dialog with myself. I am glad I didn’t stop to pontificate or analyze each and every chapter. While I was reading the book, I let the words wash over me and carry me along.
I live in Mumbai. This city is crowded, noisy, polluted and very busy. It is hot and humid pretty much the whole year round. Oh yes, did I say noisy? Traffic jams are normal on every road and in each by-lane. We drive in groups, not in lanes and the horn and accelerator are used simultaneously. There are cycles, autorickshaws, motorbikes, buses, trucks, mini vans, hand carts, small cars, medium cars as well as BMWS and Audis – all vying for a place and space alike.
To say it is a sensory overload would be an understatement. Roads are dug up randomly, it is commonplace to see a bulldozer or steam roller hanging out in the middle of road, yet another obstacle to drive around.
The cacophony threatens your sanity. You attempt to drown it out with music or talking on the phone. It is a distraction not a lessening, and only serves to add to the madness. Raw nerves, irritation, headaches and migraines, bad moods and road rage are but a heartbeat away.
SOUNDS AND SILENCE
A few days after having finished reading the book I was sitting in a cab, bang in the middle of the chaos. I tried tuning into every sound I was hearing. As I concentrated I was able to differentiate between the sounds. The bells, the people, loudspeakers, different horns and even the music playing on the radio. The cacophony that had surrounded me like a blanket started separating. At first what had seemed like a relentless attack on the senses indeed had tiny gaps in between them, separating them. I closed my eyes and started chasing the gaps, like a video game.
Each time I found a gap I jumped into it in my mind’s eye. I was primarily using my sense of hearing, followed by my sense of self. What followed was nothing short of a miracle, the gaps grew larger and the rest of the noise receded. I could still hear it all, but it was muffled. And I was floating in a place of calm and infinite peace. I opened my eyes, was I imaging things? The world was exactly the same. The same traffic, noise and insanity. Only I was doing something different.
I closed my eyes again trying to recreate the experience. And I did. It was exhilarating. I tried doing it again, this time with my eyes open. Looking, really looking at, and actually seeing the things around me. The sunlight, the dust particles dancing in its rays, the trees on the side of the road, the leaves on the tree, the people on the road. Instead of being irritated at the sea of humanity jostling on the road, I looked at each and every one of them. Each person, each element separate from the other. And the world slowed down. As I observed the whole, the parts and the whole again, it was like a dance, in slow motion.
In front of me I saw an old bus. Rusty, decrepit, tilted to one side with smoke billowing out from the exhaust pipe. Instantly judgment, indignation and disgust rose up inside me. Thoughts of corrupt politicians, careless drivers and rising pollution levels were crowding my mind. I took a breath and focused on the bus: now I observed faded remnants of old posters, each number on the dusty license plate standing out separately. I spent time looking at the “Horn Not OK Please” painted on the rear in careful red brush strokes. On either side each flake of rust was resting next to flecks of blues and paint that was once white. I saw each and everything.
As I was immersed in each detail, all thoughts vanished and with it the bile. Once again all the sounds were muffled and my breathing was easier. For want of better words I felt bliss. And this is how I discovered the Power of Now for me.
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When I was a student of Pranic Healing (http://www.pranichealingmumbai.com), Grandmaster Choa Kok Sui had taught us to meditate not on the chanting of the OM but in the silence between the OMs. As a meditative technique that was wonderful. Although now, it is even more amazing to be able to bring a sense of sacredness to each and every sound I hear. Doing this as a part of everyday life, finding the gaps and living a moment in that silence, as I go about my daily routine, is a magical experience.
I was telling a friend of mine about my experience and she said the official term for this is Mindfulness. I looked it up and found this page quite informative. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mindfulness/
For me the catalyst was the Power of Now. Others may find different books, articles, coaches or practitioners who will introduce them to the concept. At BodySpeak we integrate Mindfulness teaching and techniques into our therapeutic practice.