A Precise Chapter-Wise Summary of The Power of Now

Eckhart Tolle is a German-born teacher and author whose philosophy is rooted in mindfulness.

Tolle’s best-selling book “The Power of Now” established him as a leading voice in the modern spiritual movement through mindful awareness.

Mindfulness is a meditative technique that helps us stay in the present moment, accept our negative emotions without letting them control us, and boost our happiness and satisfaction in life.

Summary of The Power of Now by Tolle

Summary of The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Quick Summary: In The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle presents a practical roadmap to achieve “a profound transformation of human consciousness, … available now.” Tolle explains why we must learn to live in the present moment if we seek a deeper grasp of our spiritual self. He outlines precise steps for integrating mindfulness into our life and finding inner peace.

Chapter 1: You Are Not Your Mind

We often forget that we are not necessarily what our thoughts make us.

Eckhart Tolle picks this up in the first chapter and challenges you to separate your true self from the one created by your thoughts.

He says we have come to identify ourselves so strongly with our thoughts-generated self that we lose touch with our inner self. This keeps us preoccupied with past events and future worries, causing mental suffering and negative emotions.

Tolle says that we begin by observing our thoughts without judgment, distancing ourselves from our mental activity.

Tolle introduces the concept of “watching the thinker,” that is, observing our own thoughts and emotions without getting entangled in them. It can help us disengage from the negative thought patterns that keep us trapped in pain and discontent.

When we realize that our thoughts are distinct from our being, we find inner peace and fulfillment. It also makes it easier to connect with the deeper sense of our existence.

“You are not your mind. You are the awareness behind the thoughts, the silence behind the noise, the stillness beneath the mental turbulence.”

Chapter 2: Consciousness: The Way Out of Pain

Tolle notes in this chapter that most of us are laden with emotional baggage and advises that building a present consciousness is the path to freedom from this pain.

He implores us to realize deeply that the present moment is all we will ever have.

Of course, the present moment can be unpleasant or terrifying at times, but these are labels that our mind give to the moment, causing pain and unhappiness.

When we become more conscious of the present moment, as it happens in the “now,” we can release negative thoughts from the past and the future.

We then start unloading the emotions keeping us stuck in overthinking loops.

“The pain that you create now is always some form of non acceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is.”

Chapter 3: Moving Deeply Into The Now

Tolle here says we live in a state of fear and want because the ego feels vulnerable and threatened.

Since all our problems are illusions of our mind, he claims, we cannot solve these problems of the mind on the level of the mind.

He points out a simple, yet brilliant insight: Stop believing in the concept of time.

Once you do, you realize that nothing exists outside the now. The past is a reactivated now, and the future is an imagined now.

You cannot escape your problems in the future. You will not be saved by time. You can only be free now.

Tolle gives us these beautiful words for becoming more fully present in the now:

Be where you are. Look around. Just look, don’t interpret. See the light, shapes, colors, textures. Be aware of the silent presence of each thing. Be aware of the space that allows everything to be. Listen to the sounds; don’t judge them. Listen to the silence underneath the sounds. Touch something – anything – and feel and acknowledge its Being. Observe the rhythm of your breathing; feel the air flowing in and out, feel the life energy inside your body. Allow everything to be, within and without. Allow the “isness” of all things. Move deeply into the Now.

Tolle points out that many of our problems are not caused by external circumstances, but by our own negative interpretations based on our beliefs.

When we become more aware of these controlling beliefs and thoughts, we can see through these illusions and find greater peace.

“End the delusion of time. Time and mind are inseparable. Remove time from the mind and it stops – unless you choose to use it.”

Chapter 4: Mind Strategies For Avoiding The Now

In this, Tolle tells us why a mind that is dissatisfied with the now would always try to escape the present, yet will not be satisfied with the future.

If you are dissatisfied with what you have got, or even frustrated or angry about your present lack, … deep down you will continue to feel unfulfilled. You may have many exciting experiences, but they will … always leave you with an empty feeling and the need for further physical or psychological gratification.

Tolle says having a purpose in life is important, but focusing too much on the destination rather than the journey can cause us to miss the inner purpose.

Our outer journey has a horizontal dimension of space and time, while the inner journey is a deepening of our being in the vertical dimension of the timeless Now.

The present is the only thing that is ultimately real about our journey. Accessing the power of Now, which is the power of our presence liberated from our thoughts, can help us deal with the past on the level of the present and dissolve it.

“What is essential is your conscious presence. That dissolves the past. That is the transformative agent. So don’t seek to understand the past, but be as present as you can.”

Chapter 5: The State Of Presence

In the fifth chapter of “The Power of Now,” Tolle delves deeper into the concept of presence and its importance for achieving inner peace.

He defines presence as a state of heightened consciousness that enables us to fully engage in the present moment without being distracted by thoughts or emotions.

Being present means being completely focused and alert in the moment, without any stress or fear holding you back. When you achieve this state of consciousness, you’ll feel your ego has melted away, and you will be more in tune with your true self.

Being present also helps you appreciate the beauty of nature and feel a deeper connection to everything in existence.

You’ll start to see the world as a kind of divine game, where every living thing expresses the essence of God in its own unique way. So if you’re feeling disconnected or just want to get more out of life, try being simply present.

“All you really need to do is accept this moment fully. You are then at ease in the here and now and at ease with yourself.”

Chapter 6: The Inner Body

Tolle argues most of us are disconnected from our bodies, which keeps us disconnected from the present moment.

We can learn to connect with the inner body and deepen our sense of presence.

Tolle reveals how to connect with your inner self:

Please try it now. You may find it helpful to close your eyes for this practice. Later on, when “being in the body’ has become natural and easy, this will no longer be necessary. Direct your attention into the body. Feel it from within. Is it alive? Is there life in your hands, arms, legs, and feet – in your abdomen, your chest? Can you feel the subtle energy field that pervades the entire body and gives vibrant life to every organ and every cell? Can you feel it simultaneously in all parts of the body as a single field of energy? Keep focusing on the feeling of your inner body for a few moments. Do not start to think about it. Feel it. The more attention you give it, the clearer and stronger this feeling will become. It will feel as if every cell is becoming more alive, and if you have a strong visual sense, you may get an image of your body becoming luminous.

When we tune in to the inner body, we can tap into a deeper source of creativity and inspiration and find a profound sense of well-being and being grounded.

“To be in the body is to be in the present moment, the only place where you can experience true inner peace and freedom from suffering.”

Chapter 7: Portals Into The Unmanifested

In this, Tolle explores the different ways we can access the unmanifested, which he says are the hidden source of creativity and inspiration within us.

He says we can access this realm through many portals, such as the sense perceptions, the inner body, and the cessation of thinking.

So use your inner body as a portal through which you enter the Unmanifested, and keep that portal open so that you stay connected with the Source at all times. It makes no difference, as far as the inner body is concerned, whether your outer physical body is old or young, frail or strong. The inner body is timeless.

Tolle believes that through these portals, we can access a state of consciousness beyond our emotions and thoughts, as well as tap into the infinite wisdom and intuition of the universe. When we access the unmanifested, we can unleash our full potential and contribute to the betterment of the world.

Tolle encourages us to spend time in nature, cultivate loving relationships, and develop a deeper connection with our bodies.

“When you become aware of silence, immediately there is that state of inner still alertness. You are present. You have stepped out of thousands of years of collective human conditioning.”

Chapter 8: Enlightened Relationships

In this, Tolle explores how we can cultivate enlightened relationships with others.

He argues that the key to healthy relationships lies in being fully present and aware in the moment, without getting caught up in our egoistic patterns of thinking and behavior.

When we are fully present in our interactions with others, and listening attentively to them, we communicate from a place of authenticity and compassion.

He asks us to recognize that the other person is not separate from us, and that we are all connected to the same underlying consciousness. By cultivating this awareness, we can create relationships that are full of love, respect, and understanding.

Tolle explains that our relationships can be helpful in understanding ourselves better.

When we observe how we react to others and how they react to us, we can learn about our patterns and triggers. This can deepen our self-awareness and help us become more compassionate and empathetic toward ourselves and others.

In essence, Tolle sends the message that enlightened relationships are grounded in the present moment and offer a path to deeper spiritual co-awakening.

“When you interact with another, an alert and loving presence emerges from you both. This presence is essentially who you are.”


Why are women closer to enlightenment?

In “The Power of Now,” Eckhart Tolle suggests that women are closer to enlightenment because of their deeper connection to the present moment. He feels women are generally more in tune with their bodies and emotions than men, which makes them more receptive to the spiritual nature of their presence. He also thinks that women’s role in childbirth and nurturing life increases their spiritual awareness. However, one’s gender is a physical form or choice, and true enlightenment transcends identity labels.

What surprises the readers in the book The Power of Now?

One of the most surprising things in The Power of Now is the idea that we are not our minds. Tolle argues that we tend to identify with our thoughts, which leads to negative emotions and mental suffering. But, by recognizing that our thoughts are separate from ourselves, we can break free from this cycle and achieve inner peace. This can be a major paradigm shift for readers and can lead to a transformative experience.

What is the message of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now?

The core message of The Power of Now is to encourage readers to practice living in the present moment. Tolle argues that by embracing mindfulness, we can achieve inner peace and lasting happiness. He offers practical advice for living more mindfully and cultivating a deeper connection with ourselves and others.

Further Reading

Three other insightful books on mindfulness that you may not know of are:

  1. How to be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys To Mindful Loving” by David Richo.
  2. Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence—The Groundbreaking Meditation Practice” by Daniel J. Siegel.
  3. Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body” by Daniel Goleman & Richard J. Davidson.

Final Words

All you really need to do is accept this moment fully. You are then at ease in the here and now and at ease with yourself.

Mindfulness can help us realize the ultimate purpose of our existence and expand our relationships with ourselves.

Here are three take-home messages from The Power of Now:

  1. Embrace the present moment, away from clinging to the past or worrying about the future. Presence can draw us away from anxiety and stress to peace and joy.
  2. Let go of negative thoughts, since all your thoughts are not truthful. You can separate yourself from your thoughts and break free from negative emotions and find true peace.
  3. Connect with your true self, which Tolle defines as the consciousness that lies beyond our thoughts and emotions. When you tap into this profound awareness, you can find fulfillment and meaning in your life.

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Author Bio: Written and researched by Sandip Roy — a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher, who writes on mental well-being, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).

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