“If you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
– Lao Tzu –
I’m just pages away from finishing The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and I cannot recommend the book highly enough. At the tender age of 32 I have read thousands of books in my time and this is, by a country mile, far and away the most incredible, life changing and re-affirming book I have ever read.
I bought it via amazon.co.uk this time last year and got my parents to send it out to me, because books are so darn expensive here in Australia. And for some reason, even after it had arrived, it didn’t feel like the right time to read it, so I didn’t.
After coming back from the most incredible Christmas and New Year holiday in Queenstown and the South Island of New Zealand with friends and family, I started reading it this January and it has taken me the best part of 3 months to finish it.
I have savoured every last word. And I know when I’m reading a book that I really truly love, because I don’t want it to end. It was the same with Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s ‘The Shadow of the Wind‘ and David Nicholl’s ‘One Day‘.
I am literally pages from the end, and part of me doesn’t want to finish it at all. And another part of me can’t wait to finish it, so I can get started on the follow-up to it ‘A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose’. And I guess that is what life is like really. Part of us wants to hold on to the past and things that have gone before. Songs, people, times, places, etc. And another part of us can’t wait to get moving into the future. And this can happen positively and negatively.
Perhaps some of us hold on to things from our past unnecessarily, unable to let them go. Past relationships, people who have passed, pets that are no longer with us, bad feelings, tricky things that have happened, people or things that have hurt us. And this causes us pain and suffering, that if we just decided to let them go, from a place of love, and live in the now, we wouldn’t feel.
And some of us get scared or nervous or anxious about the future, which paralyses us from doing really awesome things. I remember that I was so scared to even book my round the world ticket, because I was so scared about travelling by myself, worried about getting malaria or sick, nervous that something bad might happened. In fact, I had pretty much convinced myself that I could quite possibly die on my trip, so much so that I made sure that I spent time with all of the people who I loved the most back in the UK before I left. They didn’t know it at the time, but I was secretly saying goodbye to all of them, in case I never made it back to the UK. Strange but true.
The danger of thinking thoughts like that is that what we think, we become. So it wasn’t very clever of me to have such a fatalistic view of my trip! As it happened, I did get pretty sick, was hospitalised and was taken from the backpacker trail for 6 weeks after the first few months of travelling. But I got better and made a full recovery.
And, as it happens, I never did return back to the UK (permanently), because I fell in love with Australia along the way, and this is where my heart is now. I still love the UK and everyone back home, but in a funny way, I guess I was right.
The big learning for me through all of it though, was the importance of living in the moment. There was no point in looking back to the UK, missing my friends and family, because it meant that I wasn’t enjoying the time that I had travelling. And there was no point worrying about the future, the unknown and what could or couldn’t be, because again, I would be missing out on the amazing travelling experience by not being fully present to it.
So one of the biggest things I learnt and continue to instil in every day that I have on this beautiful planet is to live in the moment. Life is too short and the world is too awesome to put your energy and attention into anything else.
My goal now, every day that I wake up and in every moment that I have is to be as present as I can and my life is continuing to transform and produce more and more incredible moments. I can’t recommend it highly enough!