Chapter One – You are not your mind.

Your body is a powerful machine, equipped with all the tools. Like any other tool, you need to use your tools carefully and then put them back in their place when you are done. If you use any tool non-stop then it will break. It sounds like a simple rule to obey right? However, we always forget to give a break to the most powerful tool, our mind. There is a constant conversation going on in our minds, such as, “What will happen if I can’t find a job?” “Oh, I forgot to pay the bills again” “What’s going to happen if I can’t pass the exam?” “Oh, I’m hungry, what should I eat when I get home.”

Constant thinking is a very dangerous addiction. We call something addiction when we can’t say no to it.

Can you stop thinking?

Do you know where the off button is?

If not, then you have an addiction, and it is killing you. I don’t mean it metaphorically, it is literally killing you. Overthinking is the main source of all pain, stress and dissatisfaction. Everyone around us has this addiction and because of that, we think that it is quite normal, however, it is absolutely not.

If you see someone speaking out loud in the street you would call him crazy but just because we don’t verbalize our thoughts does not make us that much different from that person. If you think too much then it becomes repetitive, useless and negative. The tool you are supposed to use will start using you, and you become a slave to your mind.

Tolle says that you can get rid of overthinking by only giving your attention to now, by being present. The present moment is all you have. You can practice this when you are doing simple tasks. For example, when you are washing your hands, watch how the water is pouring onto your hands, smell the soap, hear the sound of water and feel the softness of the towel. In the beginning, it will last a very short period and your mind will bring thoughts from the past or from the future. When this happens just observe your mind, don’t judge, don’t get angry, just watch what your mind is doing observe your mind as if you are observing another person. Tolle calls this

“Watching The Thinker.” By Watching The Thinker you soon realize that you are not your mind. It’s too different entities. Here is your mind, and here is you watching your mind. If you practice being present more you will soon laugh at your mind because you will see its tricks to get your attention.

Chapter Two – Consciousness, the way out of pain.

Since our childhood, every time we experience negativity or pain, some portion of that stays inside us. After some time, it accumulates and finally turns into a monster. Tolle calls this “pain body.” In some people, the pain body is active all the time and in others, there are certain words or things that awaken the pain body. For example, sometimes you say something simple to someone and they get very angry and even become violent. You just look at them and can’t understand why such a simple word made them so angry. I’m sure it’s happened to you as well. Someone says one word and your whole day is ruined. You become very depressed or angry the entire day. If the emotional reaction is much greater than the events or words that made you feel bad or angry, then know that that is the pain body. The Pain Body is not you, it’s a separate monster living in your body and it is feeding on your attention. It always tries to identify itself as you, but it is never you. The Pain Body is part of your ego, which is a false identity that has been created based on external experiences.

Almost all of us have a Pain Body.

The important thing is to catch it before it arises and takes control. If you are present, you can feel it. When it arises, sometimes it’s a very depressive feeling, sometimes it’s anger, and you keep imagining how you would beat someone, and sometimes it’s fear. So when the pain body awakens remain there and watch it, don’t judge it and don’t analyze it. The moment you recognize that it is the pain body and start watching it, it can’t take control of you. By being present you put light into the darkness and the pain body can’t live in the light of presence.

If you don’t believe this then let’s do a small experiment. Stop reading for 30 seconds and in that period watch your mind and take note of what thoughts come to your mind. Watch your mind as a cat waiting for a mouse to come out of its hole. So did you get any thoughts? I’m sure not. Even if you got some thought, it probably took you some time before the thought came in. This is the power of now. This is being present. As you can see when you are present your mind can’t take control of you.

Chapter Three – Moving Deeply Into the Now.

Time and mind are inseparable. If You take the mind out of the equation then time disappears. Imagine there are no humans on the planet and there are only plants and animals. If you go to an Owl and say “Hey, do you know what time it is?” The Owl will say “What time?” “What do you mean by time? It’s now. The time is now. What else is there?”

The past and future are like the Moon. The Moon doesn’t have its own light, it gets light from the Sun in the same way the past and future get the light from the now. There is no other time that you live except in the present moment. Once we understand this, then we can use time as a practical tool. Tolle calls this, Clock Time. For example, if you want to achieve some goal in one year then you use the time for practical purposes. However, if you constantly think about the end goal and forget the present moment then you are using psychological time. Psychological time is the memories of our past and projections of our future. If you’re not aware of it, you will end up living in a psychological time. The source of all stress is based on thinking about what happened in the past and what will happen in the future.

I used to live in the future I just wanted to get to the point as soon as possible because I thought the past sucks and the future will make me happier. When you live in the future you dismiss the present moment. You stop enjoying it. You start wanting what you don’t have, and don’t want what you already have which creates a contradiction and you start hating life. How does this work in your life? All the work you’re doing is a means to get to a destination. Do you feel like if you get that job you will be fulfilled? Do you feel like if you achieve your goal you will be happier? Are you always waiting for something to happen in order to feel complete?

Reaching a destination never leads to happiness. Let me give you an example. Let’s say your biggest goal is to climb Everest. I know helicopters can’t fly that high but if they did, would you feel happy if a helicopter took you and dropped you on top of Everest? I’m sure the answer is no. Happiness is not about reaching the top, nor is it about staying at the bottom of Everest. Happiness is in the journey. Happiness is in the present moment so just relax and handle the present moment that’s in front of you. You will solve future problems when the time comes.

Don’t let your mind take control. If suddenly all your problems disappear right now.  After a few days your mind will start creating new problems. Is this not true? In order to create problems our mind needs time. For example, if suddenly a wild animal jumps into your room then it becomes a challenge. You might run or you might get hurt but it’s not a problem, because in order to make a problem out of something you always need time so that your mind thinks about it and identifies it as a problem. If you’re not convinced yet, then could you please answer this question: Can you tell me what problem you have right at this moment not in 1 hour not tomorrow what’s wrong with this moment? I’m sure you can’t come up with anything because if you had a problem then you would be solving it instead of reading this. Tolle says that he has even received letters from Lifetime prisoners saying that they found freedom in the prison by asking this question because this question makes you realize that you don’t have any problems now. \What you might have are the situations that need to be dealt with. This might be difficult to understand but if you do, it will change a lot of things for you.

Personally for me this part of the book was the “aha moment” so just focus on now. First start being present with small small exercises such as when you are cooking, waiting for the elevator or when you’re having a shower. By this time you’ll be spending more time in the present moment. You can also start meditating 10 minutes a day which can also help you see how your mind is tricking you. Very often you will catch yourself when you are not present. The moment you realize that you are not present you become present. This realization is already a big success.

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