I’m listening to a fascinating audiobook about the power of the present. There are so many ways of expressing it.
“Stay in the now.”
“It’s called the “present” because it’s a gift.”
Deepak Chopra refers to it as slipping in the gap during meditation.
In this audiobook, Eckhart Tolle says that living in the now is the “truest path to happiness and enlightenment.” Tolle stresses that mindfulness, and a learned ability to stop the ever-chattering, negative inner voice will free us of the chains of the past created by mistakes and failures in times gone by. Stilling that inner voice will also free us of anxieties and fears when contemplating the future.
Of particular interest to me was Tolle’s observation about creativity. Creativity cannot exist in the past, or in the future. Creativity inhabits only the now. As I recall my most creative times, writing lyrics, poems, short stories and novels, I experience a “melting away” of life’s gnarly details—social complexities, financial responsibilities, life’s frustration—all that slips off my shoulders and evaporates, and I am in … the now.
Looking at a lake, a mountain, a deer, a flower, the ocean’s waves—these are the rejuvenating gifts of vacations, when we successfully escape “the voice” and simply … live.
All one must do is still that voice—the one that we ‘think’ is us but is really a compilation of parental ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’ and family/community/global expectations and standards—and we can enjoy simply being, every day of our lives, not just during getaways.
This message is also found in Buddhist and yogi writings, and in Deepak Chopra’s books and videos. Chopra in fact recommends The Power of Now.
Reviews for this book cover the spectrum, from deep appreciation for the book having helped people change their lives, to others who call it regurgitated rubbish and New Age babble.
For your further study, should you wish to do so, check out the reviews on Goodreads.
I was reminded of two important truths from the book.
- Unless you have a time machine, nothing happens in the past. Nothing happens in the future. The only place anything really happens is in the present. It makes sense to silence any voice of the past, whether you think it’s your own or some kind of universal/conglomerate voice that seems motivated to make you suffer or limit you based on activities in those time periods. (Excepting criminal acts, of course.)
2. As it pertains to writers, our chiding, deriding inner voice does not belong in our creative “now.” I really like Tolle’s suggestion that we have the power to silence that destructive, crippling voice. I’ve had some good success countering it with yoga and powerful affirmations. I like to think of nurturing my “critique friend inner voice,” the one that’s based on the positive. Rather than, “This scene stinks. What makes you think you’re a writer?” my CFIV offers, “This scene can be more effective if the conflict is ramped up—how can we do that?”
I can envision a writers’ therapy session, where we gather and write a “silencing scene” in which we explore possible dialogues to say, "No!" --to quiet The Voice.
“Time’s up, buddy. Out you go.”
“Who are you, and what are you doing in my head?”
“There’s an app for that!” (pushes red ‘eject’ button)
“Sorry. Wrong number.” (gestures as if hanging up)
“No membership card? You don’t belong here.”
“I’d heed you, but then I’d have to kill you.”
Or my favorite –
“Get a life! Oh, that’s right—you don’t have one!”
The Power of Now offers writers insights into how to quiet that negative, often destructive inner voice so we can reach our potential and realize our dreams.
I’m wishing you many peaceful, creative moments!