THE POWER OF NOW by Eckhart Tolle
If someone is seriously ill and completely accepts their condition
and surrenders to the illness, would they not have given up their
will to get back to health? The determination to fight the illness
would not be there anymore, would it?
Surrender is inner acceptance of what is without any reservations.
We are talking about your life this instant not the
conditions or circumstances of your life, not what I call your life
situation. We have spoken about this already.
With regard to illness, this is what it means. Illness is part of
your life situation. As such, it has a past and a future. Past and
future form an uninterrupted continuum, unless the redeeming power
of the Now is activated through your conscious presence. As you
know, underneath the various conditions that make up your life situation,
which exists in time, there is something deeper, more essential:
your Life, your very Being in the timeless Now.
As there are no problems in the Now, there is no illness either.
The belief in a label that someone attaches to your condition keeps
the condition in place, empowers it and makes a seemingly solid
reality out of a temporary imbalance. It gives it not only reality
and solidity, but also a continuity in time that it did not have
before. By focusing on this instant and refraining from labelling
it mentally, illness is reduced to one or several of these factors:
physical pain, weakness, discomfort or disability. That is what
you surrender to now. You do not surrender to the idea of
Allow the suffering to force you into the present moment, into a
state of intense conscious presence. Use it for enlightenment. Surrender
does not transform what is, at least not directly. Surrender transforms
you. When you are transformed, your whole world is transformed because
the world is only a reflection. We spoke about this earlier.
If you looked in the mirror and did not like what you saw, you would
have to be mad to attack the image in the mirror. That is precisely
what you do when you are in a state of non-acceptance. And, of course,
if you attack the image, it attacks you back. If you accept the
image no matter what it is, if you become friendly toward it, it
cannot not become friendly toward you. This is how you change the
Illness is not the problem. You are the problem as long as
the egoic mind is in control. When you are ill or disabled, do not
feel that you have failed in some way; do not feel guilty. Do not
blame life for treating you unfairly, but do not blame yourself
either. All that is resistance. If you have a major illness, use
it for enlightenment. Anything bad that happens in your
life, use it for enlightenment. Withdraw time from the illness.
Do not give it any past or future. Let it force you into intense
present-moment awareness and see what happens.
Become an alchemist. Transmute base metal into gold, suffering into
consciousness, disaster into enlightenment. Are you seriously ill
and feeling angry now about what I have just said? Then that is
a clear sign that the illness has become part of your sense of self
and that you are now protecting your identity, as well as protecting
the illness. The condition that is labelled illness
has nothing to do with who you truly are.
When disaster strikes
As far as the still unconscious majority of the population is concerned,
only a critical limit-situation has the potential to crack the hard
shell of the ego and force them into surrender and so into the awakened
state. A limit-situation arises when, through some disaster, drastic
upheaval, deep loss or suffering, your whole world is shattered
and doesnt make sense anymore. It is an encounter with death,
be it physical or psychological. The egoic mind, the creator of
this world, collapses. Out of the ashes of the old world, a new
world can then come into being.
Adapted from The Power of Now, copyright 1999 by Eckhart Tolle. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA, 800-972-6657 (ext. 52). Visit www.eckharttolle.com.