Best Spirituality Book for Depression: Practicing the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
I guess I wasn’t the only one who, after reading The Power of Now, said, “More, please!”
Can this book help me overcome depression?
Does it address depression specifically?
Just a bit. But being in the Now changes your mind and thus deals directly with depression.
What does it say that can help?
This book doesn’t use the word meditation. However, that is what it’s about. It’s about rising above the mind, separating onesself from the mind, and not just while sitting in the lotus position, but all the time.
- FOCUS ATTENTION ON THE FEELING INSIDE YOU. Know that it is the pain-body. Accept that it is there. Don’t think about it — don’t let the feeling turn into thinking. Don’t judge or analyze. Don’t make an identity for yourself out of it. Stay present . . .
- The pain-body is an energy field, almost like an entity, that has become temporarily lodged in your inner space. It is life energy that has become trapped, energy that is no longer flowing.
- WHEN YOU KNOW YOU ARE NOT AT PEACE, your knowing creates a still space that surrounds your nonpeace in a loving and tender embrace and then transmutes your nonpeace into peace.
- If you no longer want to create pain for yourself and others, if you no longer want to add to the residue of past pain that still lives on in you, then don’t create any more time, or at least no more than is necessary to deal with the practical aspects of your life. How to stop creating time? REALIZE DEEPLY THAT THE PRESENT MOMENT is all there is.
- The single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: Learn to disidentify from your mind. Every time you create a gap in the stream of mind, the light of your consciousness grows stronger. One day you may catch yourself smiling at the voice in your head, as you would smile at the antics of a child.
- Enlightenment means rising above thought. In the enlightened state, you still use your thinking mind when needed, but in a much more focused and effective way than before. You use it mostly for practical purposes, but you are free of the involuntary internal dialogue, and there is inner stillness.
- When you do use your mind, and particularly when a creative solution is needed, you oscillate every few minutes or so between thought and stillness, between mind and no-mind. No-mind is consciousness without thought.
On being present in the Now:
- Whereas before you dwelt in time and paid brief visits to the Now, have your dwelling place in the Now and pay brief visits to past and future when required to deal with the practical aspects of your life situation.
- The essence of what I am saying here cannot be understood by the mind. The moment you grasp it, there is a shift in consciousness from mind to Being, from time to presence. Suddenly, everything feels alive, radiates energy, emanates Being.
- BREAK THE OLD PATTERN of present-moment denial and present-moment resistance. Make it your practice to withdraw attention from past and future whenever they are not needed. Step out of the time dimension as much as possible in everyday life.
- The enlightened person’s main focus of attention is always the Now, but they are still peripherally aware of time. In other words, they continue to use clock time but are free of psychological time.
- Learn to use time in the practical aspects of your life — we may call this “clock time” — but immediately return to present-moment awareness when those practical matters have been dealt with. In this way, there will be no buildup of “psychological time,” which is identification with the past . . .
- It is impossible to have a problem when your attention is fully in the Now. A situation needs to be either dealt with or accepted. Why make it into a problem?
- “Problem” means that you are dwelling on a situation mentally without there being a true intention or possibility of taking action now and that you are unconsciously making it part of your sense of self.
- ASK YOURSELF: Is there joy, ease, and lightness in what I am doing? If there isn’t, then time is covering up the present moment, and life is perceived as a burden or a struggle. If there is no joy, ease, or lightness in what you are doing, it does not necessarily mean that you need to change what you are doing. It may be sufficient to change the how. “How” is always more important than “what.” See if you can give much more attention to the doing than to the result that you want to achieve through it. Give your fullest attention to whatever the moment presents. This implies that you also completely accept what is . . .
- GIVE UP WAITING AS A STATE OF MIND. When you catch yourself slipping into waiting . . . snap out of it.
- So next time somebody says, “Sorry to have kept you waiting,” you can reply, “That’s all right, I wasn’t waiting. I was just standing here enjoying myself — in joy in my self.”
- Attention is essential, but not to the past as past. Give attention to the present; give attention to your behavior, to your reactions, moods, thoughts, emotions, fears, and desires as they occur in the present. There’s the past in you. If you can be present enough to watch all those things, not critically or analytically but nonjudgmentally, then you are dealing with the past and dissolving it through the power of your presence.
- Now let your spiritual practice be this: AS YOU GO ABOUT YOUR LIFE, don’t give 100 percent of your attention to the external world and to your mind. Keep some within.
- It is quite possible to be conscious of the Unmanifested throughout your life. You feel it as a deep sense of peace somewhere in the background, a stillness that never leaves you, no matter what happens out here. You become a bridge between the Unmanifested and the manifested, between God and the world. This is the state of connectedness with the Source that we call enlightenment.
- WHEN YOU ARE UNOCCUPIED FOR A FEW MINUTES, and especially last thing at night before falling asleep and first thing in the morning before getting up, “flood” your body with consciousness.
- At times, it may be appropriate to point out certain aspects of your partner’s behavior. If you are very alert, very present, you can do so without ego involvement — without blaming, accusing, or making the other wrong.
- When you have removed the two factors that are destructive of relationships — when the pain-body has been transmuted and you are no longer identified with mind and mental positions — and if your partner has done the same, you will experience the bliss of the flowering of relationship.
- If your partner is still identified with the mind and the pain-body while you are already free, this will represent a major challenge — not to you but to your partner. It is not easy to live with an enlightened person, or rather it is so easy that the ego finds it extremely threatening.
- WHEN YOU SAY “NO” to a person or a situation, let it come not from reaction but from insight, from a clear realization of what is right or not right for you at that moment. Let it be a nonreactive “no,” a high-quality “no,” a “no” that is free of all negativity and so creates no further suffering.
- But if you are fortunate enough to find someone who is intensely conscious, if you can be with them and join them in the state of presence, that can be helpful and will accelerate things. In this way, your own light will quickly grow stronger.
- Once you have disidentified from your mind, whether you are right or wrong makes no difference to your sense of self at all, so the forcefully compulsive and deeply unconscious need to be right, which is a form of violence, will no longer be there. You can state clearly and firmly how you feel or what you think, but there will be no aggressiveness or defensiveness about it.
- WATCH OUT FOR ANY KIND OF DEFENSIVENESS within yourself. What are you defending? An illusory identity, an image in your mind . . .
On acceptance of the Now:
- You can still be active and enjoy manifesting and creating new forms and circumstances, but you won’t be identified with them. You do not need them to give you a sense of self. They are not your life — only your life situation.
- DON’T LOOK FOR PEACE. Don’t look for any other state than the one you are in now; otherwise, you will set up inner conflict and unconscious resistance.
- When you accept what is, every moment is the best moment. That is enlightenment.
- In fact, it is not the overall situation that you need to accept when you surrender, but just the tiny segment called the Now. For example, if you were stuck in the mud somewhere, you wouldn’t say: “Okay, I resign myself to being stuck in the mud.” Resignation is not surrender. YOU DON’T NEED TO ACCEPT AN UNDESIRABLE OR UNPLEASANT LIFE SITUATION. Nor do you need to deceive yourself and say that there is nothing wrong with it. No. You recognize fully that you want to get out of it. You then narrow your attention down to the present moment without mentally labeling it in any way. This means that there is no judgment of the Now. Therefore, there is no resistance, no emotional negativity. You accept the “isness” of this moment. Then you take action and do all that you can to get out of the situation. Such action I call positive action. It is far more effective than negative action, which arises out of anger, despair, or frustration. Until you achieve the desired result, you continue to practice surrender by refraining from labeling the Now . . .
- Not only your psychological form but also your physical form — your body — becomes hard and rigid through resistance. Tension arises in different parts of the body, and the body as a whole contracts. The free flow of life energy through the body, which is essential for its healthy functioning, is greatly restricted. Bodywork and certain forms of physical therapy can be helpful in restoring this flow, but unless you practice surrender in your everyday life, those things can only give temporary symptom relief . . .
- Until you practice surrender, the spiritual dimension is something you read about, talk about, get excited about, write books about, think about, believe in — or don’t, as the case may be. It makes no difference. NOT UNTIL YOU SURRENDER does the spiritual dimension become a living reality in your life.
To what degree do you think this book can help me overcome depression?
Depression effectiveness rating: 9 on a scale of 1-10
Where can I find it?
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