The power of the present moment! If you’ve been following my blog, you know how I love to explore spirituality, philosophy and psychology in all their forms. If you’re new here, I strongly suggest you have a look at some of my previous posts.
One thing I’ve learned through my life experience and even my latest struggles, is that we so easily escape the present moment. We somehow prefer to focus on the past, rethinking painful events or mistakes and worry about the future.
In that way, our lives become a place of resentment and regrets, or of anxiety and preoccupations. Living the present moment is learning to focus on the now, avoiding escapism into past or future. It is consciously living what life is giving us and savouring every little moment. Obviously, it is so much easier said than done.
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The Present Moment Through the Eyes of Spiritual Masters
That is why we sometimes need to find spiritual masters that will help us better understand the dos and don’ts and avoid the toxic mechanisms that keep us away from living the “now.”
I’ve personally read quite a few books on the topic. Each author has his own take on the subject. Some will give you insights and will talk about the positive fruits of living the present moment, others will teach meditation techniques to help you focus and some will give you daily tricks to help you achieve your goal.
Like any spiritual practice, it is not a read one book and you’ve won the war. It’s more of a long-term and perpetual effort. Practice makes perfect … that’s what they say, right? Well, I don’t know if we will ever become perfect when it comes to spiritual practices.
Blaise Pascal, a Catholic thinker/philosopher (I don’t share his philosophy, by the way…), once said something interesting, “Flies are so mighty that they win battles, paralyze our minds, eat up our bodies.” What did he mean? Well, he’s referring to the fact that even in our best intents of praying, meditating, concentrating, etc., a simple fly can start bothering us and take us away from our main focus.
The Present Moment Through Books
There are very prolific spiritual authors out there that I’d recommend on the topic. To be honest, it is difficult to choose because so many, even non-spiritual authors, will talk about the topic and their take can also be interesting … but let me suggest a few books.
Thich Nhat Hanh was a Buddhist Zen monk who was a meditation specialist. He’s given retreats and conferences all around the world teaching people how to meditate and learn the basics of spiritual practices. Let’s just say, he’s one of the greatest masters who unfortunately passed away not too long ago.
This book focuses mainly on the exercise of mindfulness. It’s based on a retreat he gave to westerners and is sort of a practical guide about how to focus on the “now.” We can simplify mindfulness by exemplifying it as awareness. So it is the daily practice of being aware of your breathing, your walking, your eating, your listening, etc.
Thich Nhat Hanh defines mindfulness as the power of the Buddha that anybody can achieve through breathing in and breathing out… A cycle in which we breathe in what helps us focus and breathe out what no longer serves us.
This book has sold more than 2 million copies and was translated in more than 30 foreign languages. It’s a New York Times Bestseller, Oprah Winfrey and many other public figures that focus on spiritual life recommend it.
It is not a typical and practical manual that will teach the steps and practices to achieve your goal in living the present moment. It is more of a book in which you slowly learn to find in you the path of enlightenment, to find your true and deepest self and reach personal and spiritual growth.
It is basically a spiritual journey in which you embark as you are reading this book. Eckhart Tolle has a very interesting life story and it possibly had a lot to do with his way of teaching and helping others embrace their spiritual journey.
Born in Germany in 1948, Ulrich Leonard Tölle (later changed is name to Eckhart), moved to Spain as a teenager to live with his father. Not insisting on his finishing his studies, his father allowed Ulrich to not finish high school and let him study literature and astronomy and languages at home.
While reading and studying on his own, he was greatly influenced, at the age of 15, by a gift of the five spiritual books by the German mystic Joseph Anton Schneiderfranken. Later, in 1977 at 29 years of age and after a long depression he experienced an inner transformation and came to peace with everything. He then later began counselling and teaching spirituality.
Make sure you subscribe to my blog and read some of my other posts, much more content to come. Let me know if you do read one of the suggested books. I’d love to hear what you think.