Has Presence Lost Its Mind?


I recently read a review or two of the Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I am not a huge fan of the book, nor am I against it. I fit somewhere in the middle. What struck me the most was the notion that the book called for shutting down your mind.

I don’t know what the intention of the author was. But I know that this is not what I took from it. Being present is not about being numb or eliminating the mind. It is more about rising above the mind chatter and experiencing life without the mind’s commentary on everything.

To clarify, I use the following terms interchangeably: presence, awareness, attention, focus, mindfulness.

The mind is not good or bad. What matters is how it can be harnessed and used. If we allow our thoughts to dwell on fears and worries, the only outcome is increased anxiety that may manifest into something physically damaging to the body. Got Stress?

“Let us not bankrupt our todays by paying interest on the regrets of yesterday and by borrowing in advance the troubles of tomorrow.” ~Ralph W. Sockman

I’m not talking about positive thinking. It is controlled thinking. I don’t mean exercising control through willpower or force.  You can control your thoughts by simply observing or being aware of them. The simple act of paying attention to what you’re thinking will change your thoughts. Some thoughts just fade away while others may persist.

Being present is a state where you are fully aware and focused on the thing you are doing, thinking or sensing. It is when your mind and consciousness are in sync.

When you are present your mind is not running stories about the drama of the past or wants or fears of the future. You are fully immersed in what you are experiencing that time stands still. It is referred to as a state of flow. You are one with your life. You are one with now, the present moment.

Presence is about acknowledging your thoughts and then moving on to what you are experiencing now. Presence may lead to enlightenment but it doesn’t mean we can’t use it in our daily lives.

Focus is one of the most effective ways to enhance productivity and excel in what we do. Mindfulness adds flavor to every experience and makes it unique. A calm, controlled mind may have a spiritual element if it leads to awareness of our deeper selves and connectedness to life.