Opinion: Using the present moment to overcome suffering

Odyssa Rivera Abille

There is no better moment than this.

It isn't because I enjoy typing these words. It isn't because writing is my way to express myself. There is no better moment than this because this is all I have. The present is all we have.

Reading Eckhart Tolle's book, The Power of Now and A New Earth has changed everything I know about who I am, why I am here, and how to live this life.

After going through a painful separation, this book fell into my hands. I'm certain it did for a reason.

In a few days, I absorbed lessons from the book. My latest suffering led me, once again, to ask the important questions about my existence, why I am here, and what my purpose is. This book holds all the answers.

These are the biggest lessons from one of the greatest spiritual teachers of our time.

The past is not real. It is a memory. It's an accumulation of events that already happened and are now part of a dream. Do you remember the dream you had last night? Your dream and the past fall under the same dimension.

What you think of as the past is a memory trace, stored in the mind, of a former Now. -Eckhart Tolle

Because the past is not real, it has no power over the present. Let's go back to how I started this article. I said that typing these words on the screen is the most important thing in my life right now, not the person I used to be, not my past jobs, not my income, not what happened to me 10 years ago.

Remembering the painful events from my past had become my excuse to lash out, to be enraged, like I am entitled to this anger. I am not denying the truth of the past. It's true that I said those words, that I had that job. But I don't have to bring them up over and over again to let them rule my present, affect my emotions and thoughts.

The present moment is all you have and nothing else. The only way to be friends with life is to be friends with the present moment. You cannot resist the present moment because this is what it is. Whether you are in a state of turmoil or joy, all you can do is embrace and be fully present here, feel the aliveness in your body and breathe deeply.

The present moment is the only thing that remains constant. Nothing else.

Always say "yes" to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to something that already is? What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? -Eckhart Tolle

What does he say about the future?

Just like the past, the future is not real either. It has not happened yet. The future will come later. Worrying is pointless. It's only a form of fear.

According to Deepak Chopra, "fear is a passing emotion that can be released." When you can accept that you feel fear, sit with it, and recognize in yourself that it is fear you are feeling (or worry or anxiety). Awareness is consciousness, and being able to observe your thoughts and emotions is one step into your spiritual journey.

Most of the time, what we fear is not real. So what is the point of worrying about the future? Let the future worry about itself.

I am not an advocate of Tolle's teachings.

But because of them, I am present more times in a day than ever because that is where I find peace and calm. I'm used to inserting pockets of stillness into my day, but now, I make sure to make those pockets more meaningful.

In the now is where restlessness goes away. Clearly, there is suffering when we remember and look at our past. We can't help but worry when we ruminate over a future where nothing is guaranteed.

It is only the present moment - being conscious and aware of what is happening now inside our bodies and around us - that can give us the power to overcome suffering.

It's not a coincidence that the present moment is called present. It's the best gift we can ever receive. Let us see it for what it truly is.

Odyssa is the author of two poetry collections on love and travel. Visit her website here.

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I write about relationships, the complexities of human life, and writing. I'm a self-published author of two poetry collections entitled "Like A New Sun Rising" and "From Where I Stand" available at www.amazon.com/author/Odyssa.


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