By Natalie Amsden
Eckhart Tolle, one of my favorite teachers, tells us that freedom from suffering and access to our dreams are available only in the “Now”. In fact, he postulates that this Now moment is, in fact, all that exists. He would tell us that our visions, our dreams, are nothing but a figment of the imagination, as there is no “future” within which we will experience them. When we do experience the dream, it will not be in the future, it will be “Now”. Tolle would advise that we should not spend a great deal of time imagining our future dreams. I have experienced what he describes as the “anxiety gap” that exists when I focus my thoughts on something I want in the “future”—which takes my mind and energy somewhere other than in the here and Now. The distance between where I am and where my mind is—this is the anxiety gap. Why is it called that? You guessed it—because focusing on the future when you are living in the now causes anxiety.
For the untrained mind (which refers to most of us) it is really hard not to think about what we want in the future without being acutely aware of the fact that we don’t see it in our “now” reality. This leaves us feeling anxious and lacking. Tolle’s prescription for a joyful life is to focus your attention on the Now. Become intensely aware of this moment and ask yourself, is there anything wrong with this specific moment? Unless you’re in an emergency situation, there is rarely anything wrong with this exact moment. By focusing on this moment—rather than thinking about and judging the “life situation” you perceive in this moment and imagining how much better it will be in the elusive “future”—you can find peace.
I have experienced this too—the freedom and peace of the Now. But, like most people I have a hard time staying there for long. I jump right back into conjuring up fanciful future moments in my mind, and of course feel the painful twinge of unfulfilled dreams when I observe my current “life situation” and realize I’m not there yet. And so I snap myself out of it and focus my attention back on the Now; I experience some relief, resistance stops—at least for a moment or two.
Adding more confusion to the mix, my other favorite teacher is Esther Hicks. For anyone who has ever studied both Tolle and Hicks it can seem that their teachings are exact opposites. Tolle teaches us to let go of the future and focus our attention on the Now, while Hicks teaches how to use the Law of Attraction (LOA) and urges us to ignore what’s happening in our “now reality” and remain focused on what we want. Yes, somehow amongst this tug of war between the two teachings I have found a solution.
So, if you think about it, the “now” is all that exists and so any future possibility is only in our head anyway. But, if we think about our dreams we’re thinking about them NOW. The only problem with thinking of the future exists when we think about it and focus on the fact that it is NOT happening now, which creates “the gap”—the resistance. But, since our imagination is happening now, and now is all that exists, it really IS happening now.
Now, remember how I mentioned that the key to dreaming is believing it’s possible? That’s why in LOA the key is to imagine your dream as if it’s happening NOW – because that fills in that gap of “time” that causes the resistance. You see, when you think about something you want and don’t have, you resist not having it, but if you imagine you already have it you don’t feel resistant anymore.
Esther Hicks teaches that the only way for the Law of Attraction to work is to have 100% faith and NO resistance.
But, like I mentioned, most people’s untrained minds have a hard time imagining a glorious vision of their future without feeling resistance to not having it Now. This is why Tolle teaches us to stop pondering the future and focus on the now, where we can find peace with where we are at—eliminating the resistance.
You see, what they’re both teaching is how to release resistance. If thinking about the future causes you anxiety because you can’t help focusing on NOT having it now, then stop. For you, it would be better to focus on the present moment – not the “life situation” you believe exists at this period of time (the one you resist) but the ACTUAL present moment. Notice your breathing, the sounds around you, the space in the room you are in, the light. If you just stop thinking you’ll stop resisting.
On the other hand, if you can’t seem to focus on your immediate surroundings without your inner thinker judging all the things wrong with your current “life situation” – you would be better off changing your focus to what you DO want. The key here being that you must imagine it happening NOW—and believe it—in order to eliminate any resistance.
As it turns out Tolle’s “Now” teachings and Hicks’ “LOA” teachings are two sides of the same coin. The lesson is one of releasing resistance. It’s your choice whether to focus on the Now or your dreams—whichever works for you.
But always remember, it’s all happening Now anyway so you might as well enjoy the moment! It is, after all, the only destination.
Natalie Amsden is the Publisher of Transformation Magazine. She is a transformation life coach, specializing in conscious personal evolution and discovering your purpose. Natalie is also a Motivational Speaker, presenting on topics such as Enlightened Relationships, Personal Transformation, and Entrepreneurship. Connect with Natalie at www.transformationservices.org.