Eckart Tolle, in the book, The Power of Now, helped me with the structure of my faith. He taught me how focusing on regrets, or any past mistakes, robbed me of my present happiness. When we focus on the past, where there is nothing we can do to change any of it, we can’t feel the joy that is happening all around us, all the time.
Eckart Tolle also taught me that worrying about anything in the future, was also a meaningless exercise. It is filling our minds with things that may or may not happen, and again, distracting us from the wonderful present. As I examined this knotty problem for me, I realized how foolish it was to worry about my children. It was out of my control. I would waste my precious “Now” mortgaging it to the past or the future. I could come so locked up with regret or worry, I would miss the bright and beautiful children right in front of me, wanting my love and attention–not my furrowed brow. It was so hard to do this initially, because it was an ingrained habit for me. Once I understood that I can trust God to take care of my past and my future, my faith strengthened. I started enjoying my days better, noticing the tender mercies that made my days easier, my heated house with Hollywood snow floating down outside my window, or a spectacular sunset. Best of all I could enjoy my wonderful children more, in the moment.
Eckart Tolle said:
“The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss in the Now, the most precious thing there is.”
In 2016 I had two siblings controlling my mother’s estate and we had to go to mediation to gain back control. We made the mediation appointment in April, and the meditation date wasn’t until November, six months away. Six months to be distracted with worry, and to be miserable. I realized I could worry all summer, every day, and ruin a perfectly wonderful summer with many meaningful things planned– No way! I had recently finished the Power of Now, and I determined I would make this idea work for me. It was hard, but it changed my life. I could control my thoughts and enjoy the days before me.
When I would start getting worked up and worrying about the November mediation, I could still my mind and focus on “the Now”. I could feel the warm sun on my face, or the hot water of a shower. I could smell something baking in the oven. When the thoughts of worry would persist, I would say to myself, “Stop!” I would redirect my thoughts to whatever was in my present state.
When negative thoughts come, Eckart Tolle says to ask ourselves, “Am I at ease at this moment?” I put a gospel template over any troubling situation. When we pray for strength through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can receive it. I have been helped over and over to block negative thoughts trying to interrupt my peace.
Do I still worry? Of course, but less so.
I was at the top of the stairs in my house recently, worrying about one of my children and the Spirit said, “Where is your faith?” Again, like essentialism, it is a disciplined pursuit. In this instance I had to be reminded to guard my thoughts from past or future events. It is a lifelong pursuit for me with much needed help from the Spirit.
I was at a wedding reception a year ago and got reacquainted with a woman who had moved from my neighborhood when her children were young. After sharing some of our challenges she ended with, “That’s our role—we just worry about our children!” I was troubled by that. I stopped and looked at her, and missed an opportunity to say, “I think that’s the role of faith–Jesus begs us not to worry, to rely on His Atoning power and to trust in God’s plan for us.” I don’t want my days spent worrying about my children. I think we are missing the point of the Atonement if we do that. It is a mindful practice for me to not dip into worry or regret.
I believe Jesus when He said in Matthew 6 :34:
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take athought for the things of itself.”
Becoming more aware of the Now, allows me to savor the tender mercies that are put in my path everyday! My gratitude increases and it becomes a virtuous cycle.
I will not pine away for last year’s Christmas, thinking of concerts and parties I went to or thinking about next Christmas, when we can get together with family again. Today is all I have, pandemic or not. I am so grateful my trusty ten-year-old car can get up our snowy hill, the smile on my son’s face, and the fact that I have electricity. Being present is something that is becoming easier because I have been working on it for four years, but it still is work. It is a commitment to living in the present and practicing gratitude continually. It is letting the busyness of my mind subside as I try to stay aware of my present moment, or my–Now.