The Power of Now Ch. 3 Summary

“Problems of the mind cannot be solved on the level of the mind.”

Humans have so much invested in this, which is why it makes it so hard to let go of this idea. So many people would rather die than lose it all or as we’ve seen in our world, kill another rather than risk losing it all.

The Ego Feels Vulnerable And Threatened

It lives in a state of fear and want, seeking for something to attach itself to. For most people it manifests as a sense of self intimately connected with their problems. The end of problems is the carrot on the stick, which the ego dangles to keep you in a constant state of inner lack. Seeking yourself in the mind is the dysfunction. Stop living through memory and anticipation. End the delusion of time. Remove time from the mind and it stops.

“Past gives identity and the future is the promise of salvation.”

Time Is An Illusion

Acceptance of the present moment isn’t the same as condoning what happens in the world. The now cannot be understood by the mind. The present moment without problems is boring to the mind, so it is usually more occupied with what’s happening instead of your inner state. Not accepting is more interesting, and becomes food for the mind. The food doesn’t matter as long as it is in the service of suffering. Suffering needs time. If you cannot accept the now, your only escape is to cover it up with something. This is not freedom. Your choice to cover it up isn’t a conscious decision, because it wasn’t made from a place of acceptance. Step out of time as much as possible. Don’t be concerned with how many times you stepped out of time or the duration. This is just more food for the mind and another ego trap. It is the quality of this moment which is important.

“Pain cannot feed on joy. It finds it quite indigestible.”

Practice Self Observation

When you realize you aren’t present you are present. There is no reason to condemn yourself for not being in the now. This is not a failure; it is a great triumph when you recognize it. Presence is presence. What does it matter that it came in a way you didn’t expect? Why does it need to fit into some image in order to be worthy? You see, when you become caught up in the judgements of the now you are attached to an image. That image is just a fictitious entity, and a means for the mind to draw you in again and again. Be the watcher of the mind. Don’t make things that come out of your mind a personal problem. That’s just a backdoor for the ego. Identification with the mind gives it more energy, observation withdraws energy from it.

“Presence enhances your ability to use your mind.”

 Transform Clock Time Into Psychological Time

When you make a mistake from the past, and learn from that means you’re using clock time. If you dwell on it mentally, and self-criticism you are caught up in psychological time. Setting a goal and working towards it while honoring the now is non-attachment to the result. If you seek fulfillment or happiness from it you turn it into an identity, and it merely becomes a means to an end. The future is typically a replica of the past. Present experience is a prediction of the future. The states of unease, tension, stress, and worry are all forms of fear caused by too much future and not enough presence. You cannot be free in the future. Living in a constant state of trying to satisfy or appease the mind is an ideal strategy for unhappiness. You don’t need to get permission from your mind to start living. You don’t need its approval.

“You cannot be both unhappy and fully present in the now.”

Problems Are Interchangeable

When you don’t learn from past mistakes, you don’t gain any consciousness as a result. What you perceive as a problem is actually just a life situation. When your life is full of problems, there’s no room for a solution. Make some space. Ultimately it’s not about solving your problems. Being free has nothing to do with achieving an ideal living situation. You can be present anytime, anywhere. Mind loves problems because it gives you an identity of sorts. If you don’t create any more pain for yourself you create more pain for anyone else.

“Life situations exist in time. Your life is now.”

Have You Ever Been In A Life Or Death Emergency Situation?

The mind didn’t have time to make it into a problem. People are capable of doing extraordinary things in these circumstances. Some people climb mountains to experience being fully present. They actually put themselves in a life or death situation just so they can be in the now. In an emergency situation, all of your senses are engaged because you must act immediately to avoid disaster. Stressors are present, but this is healthier than the stress caused by dwelling and suffering over something that might happen in the future. The former strengthens the body, the latter weakens it.

“Accept the present moment as though you have chosen it.”

Some Takeaways

Ask yourself; is there joy, ease or lightness in what I’m doing?

Changing the how you are doing what you’re doing is the key. You cannot give your full attention to something, and at the same time resist it.

Giving attention to the action instead of the fruit of your action is called karma yoga.

Neither failure nor success changes your state of being.

Have no illusory expectations while pursuing goals.

Do not become driven by fear to accomplish your goals. If this happens then the goal is the only thing that matters. It is better that everything is honored but nothing matters.

“When this is your state of being, how can you not succeed? You have succeeded already.”

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