The Power of Now™

The Power of Now

By Eckhart Tolle



I have little use for the past and rarely think about it; however, I would briefly(ˈbrēflē) like to tell you how I came to be a spiritual(ˈspiriCH(o͞o)əl) teacher and how this book came into existence(iɡˈzistəns).

Until my thirtieth year, I lived in a state of almost continuous anxiety interspersed(ˌin(t)ərˈspərs) with periods of suicidal(ˌso͞oəˈsīdl) depression. It feels now as if I am talking about some past lifetime or somebody else’s life.

One night not long after my twenty-ninth birthday, I woke up in the early hours with a feeling of absolute dread(dred). I had woken up with such a feeling many times before, but this time it was more intense than it had ever been. The silence of the night, the vague(vāɡ) outlines of the furniture(ˈfərniCHər) in the dark room, the distant noise of a passing train — everything felt so alien(ˈālēən), so hostile(ˈhästl), and so utterly(ˈədərlē) meaningless that it created in me a deep loathing(ˈlōT͟HiNG) of the world. The most loathsome(ˈlōTHsəm) thing of all, however, was my own existence. What was the point in continuing to live with this burden of misery(ˈmiz(ə)rē)? Why carry on with this continuous struggle? I could feel that a deep longing for annihilation(əˌnīəˈlāSHən), for nonexistence, was now becoming much stronger than the instinctive(inˈstiNG(k)tiv) desire to continue to live.

“I cannot live with myself any longer.” This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar(pəˈkyo͞olyər) thought it was. “Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with.” “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”

I was so stunned(stənd) by this strange realization that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts.