Rohit Arya on how The Power of Now impacted his life

The Power of Now is one of those great unrelenting beasts of a book, a genuine spiritual classic, something obviously from another level of consciousness. Eckhart Tolle became a phenomenon with this book and every bit of it is not only well deserved, people still do not value the man as he should be! There is really nothing much one can add to the praise for the book so I restrict myself to what it gave me, what it taught me, how it impacted me. These are myraid, but I will talk about the 4 most important impressions.
The pain-body
Now this was something I had always experienced, both in myself and others, but I could never put my finger upon what exactly was it that was so brilliantly sabotaging lives. Eckhart has done mankind an enormous favour by identifying this energy being within almost each and every one of us. When I first read about it I was stunned. Rem acu tetigisti – he has touched the matter with a needle! Such precision, such elegance, such compassion about what is a snarly, nasty, dark side element of our personality, and he is only on page 27! He talks about the pain body at length in his follow up masterpiece, Towards a New Earth. It is infused with his deeper wisdom and experience but the sheer magnitude of the impact the concept had belongs to The Power of Now.
In Tolle’s own words, “The accumulated pain is a negative energy field that occupies your body and mind. If you look at it as an invisible entity in its own right, you are getting quite close to the truth…It can then rise up, take you over, “become you”, and live through you… it will feed on any experience that resonates with its own kind of energy, anything that creates further pain in whatever form: anger, destructiveness, hatred, grief, emotional drama, violence and even illness.”
This kind of insight would have him burned at the stake a few hundred years back. I am still dealing with all the implications of this discovery for I was well on the way to complete dominance by my pain body. It occasionally sneaks in a victory, and they are ghastly defeats let me tell you, but increasing Presence is weakening the pain-body, God be praised.
I thought I knew what it meant, I thought I was practicing it, but it was all ego acting out. “Surrender is inner acceptance of what is without any reservations.” This sentence sank deep into the mind, and it has acted as a change agent ever since. Before that ‘surrender’ was a reasonably happy state when things seemed to flow well and I did not lose my temper as often as I used to. These were significant gains, but they were all dependent upon external factors. Too much pressure, more than two unexpected ‘setbacks’ in a row and the pain-body got its full share of nourishment. I was nicknamed “Smiling Cobra” at this time, for I had a perpetual surface happiness and smile, but the venom was always ready and I was not reluctant to use it! In fact I used to believe that since I struck without foul language and shouting, my usual accompaniments in the past, I was actually just being ‘frank’ and ‘honest’. Yeah, I know.
Now I am not always happy, but I am permanently in ananda, ever new joy. The difference is subtle, but enormous. Surrender was the core element in this change. It is not even the cynical wisdom of “Shit happens!” Yes, but that is only armour to protect from the blows of life. To be open, to be- not vulnerable, but uncluttered with expectations- to not ‘push the river’ of life, the relief it provided to a control freak like me… words fail… as they should. Nowadays when people ask me how I am I have a response that disconcerts them – “I am always awesome!” I am being factual, not facetious.
I was a healer. A damn good one. No longer. I was – and remain- a superb Tarot consultant. A damn expensive one, thanks for asking. When I would intervene in people lives, ‘help’, there was always the problem, “Now what?” what do I tell them, give them, so that whatever transpired during the consultation is strengthened, does not wither away in the natural course of things? I had middling success in keeping people on the right track but once I started recommending The Power of Now, everything changed. I got a lot of popularity and gratitude that I perhaps did not deserve; many people experienced spiritual awakenings on reading the book and began to mediate; even larger numbers began to get a serious grip upon their lives. It was magic. It Is Magic.
What I learned from the whole experience was the futility of thinking we can “help and heal”. At best we can facilitate people into becoming Integral and even that they actually do so by themselves, not because of us. Once people become more and more Integral, these problems start drying up on their own! Not good for the ego, and certainly not good for the income stream, but it is wisdom.
I began to meditate only when I was in my mid-thirties. Not out of choice or desire but out of sheer necessity. The Kundalini had spontaneously activated, and it was either meditate and get it under some sort of control or go stark raving mad, perhaps die. Soon I discovered, to my personal consternation, that I had a natural aptitude for sadhana – spiritual practices. I would zoom along, achieving things really fast, prompting my guru to once give out this immortal zinger – “Tumhari na aukaat hain na haisiyat, bus kismet hain!” {“You have neither the stature nor the earned effort for such success, but get it all because of destiny”} That took the puff out of my sails for a while.
But in all this I had a huge nagging problem. The biographies of sages and masters seemed unanimous that they were naturally talented at spiritual effort and were at it, consciously or unconsciously since childhood.  Where did that leave me, what hope did that leave me with? For I had no illusions about the karmic load I came with, and I had done everything possible to increase it in this lifetime by being as obnoxious as possible and having a very good time, if you get my drift. That is fun, until the karmic bill has to be paid, when you realize the sheer colossal stupidity of promiscuity. I persisted with meditation, for it was keeping me alive and sane, but I had no real hope of any genuine spiritual attainment, all my success notwithstanding. I was stupid.
When I read about Eckhart, and his awakening upon a park bench, after the sort of harsh early years he endured, the sense of relief was enormous. The whole ‘deservedness’ argument that took up internal space died, and the space was being filled up with Presence. The shift in mind-set was one of the most significant things that ever happened to me. Sadhana did not become a process or goal to ‘achieve’ anything any longer, it just was what one did, like breathing. Of course when one stops this frenetic striving one progresses faster! So Eckhart inspired me with Ordinariness – you do not have to be super special, you just be in Presence.

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Available everywhere.


Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book} to be published in the last quarter of 2011. He has also written A Gathering of Gods due at the same time. He is the Editor of The Leadership Review, a corporate trainer, as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga

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