The Beginning of Freedom

By Eckhart Tolle

The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not the possessing entity — the thinker. Knowing this enables you to observe the entity. The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence. You also realize that all the things that truly matter — beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace — arise from beyond the mind. You begin to awaken.

If you no longer want to create pain for yourself and others, if you no longer want to add to the residue of past pain that still lives on in you, then don’t create any more time, or at least no more than is necessary to deal with the practical aspects of your life. How to stop creating time? Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life. Whereas before you dwelt in time and paid brief visits to the Now, have your dwelling place in the Now and pay brief visits to past and future when required to deal with the practical aspects of your life situation. Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to something that already is? What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.

The present moment is sometimes unacceptable, unpleasant, or awful. It is as it is. Observe how the mind labels it and how this labeling process, this continuous sitting in judgment, creates pain and unhappiness. By watching the mechanics of the mind, you step out of its resistance patterns, and you can then allow the present moment to be. This will give you a taste of the state of inner freedom from external conditions, the state of true inner peace. Then see what happens, and take action if necessary or possible.

Accept — then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.

54 responses to “The Beginning of Freedom

  1. Yesss to the above.

    How does one stop the pain body from sitting on your chest causing paralysis and therefore being ‘stopped’ in all practical and necessary activity? I can regain spontaneity and work hard when away from my home, but the (pain body) baggage of over 40 years wells up when I am in my home and sits on my chest.

    In gratitude for ‘The Power of Now’. It changed my life.

    1. Wendy, What I’ve come to learn and practice over the years from a longtime personal friend, Linda Taft Walburn, who has encouraged me and who has written in a recent book “Soul Voice”, ask your soul voice for guidance “help me, teach me, show me in a way that I can receive what is right for me”. Then begin to observe…observe the mind and whirling thoughts and the things that distract you from Presence, from your own Soul Voice. Remember you are the conciousness behind the thoughts; the Observer. The things that feel like an Elephant sitting on you chest, on your life, are not the essence of the deeper you. I encourage you to always ask your deeper self, your Soul Voice, for guidance while then beginning to take small baby steps out from under the elephant. Give yourself permission to do one small thing, then another, then another. Keep asking, keep listening and observing, keep moving. Just asking without movement is like attempting to take a road trip. Sitting in your car, just looking at the map without actually beginning to drive will get you anywhere–EVER! Bless you as you move forward. Your true Self and your Soul Voice are greater than that elephant. Namaste.

    2. Shift your attention away from ‘the pain body sitting on your chest’ to something simple like your breath going in and out, or the sounds that your ears are hearing, or perhaps the subtle tingling sensation in your finger tips. When thoughts about the pain body come don’t pay them any attention. LOVE David

      1. Yes its the identification with the painbody that needs to let go, watch only yr breathing , i speak out of experience…singing mantras will also help you..namaste.

    3. Hi Wendy, I just want to say that I had that pain body sitting on my chest. In the power of Now Eckhart explains how to deal with it. Not an easy thing to deal with, it took me a few attempts. The main thing to know is that you can not push it aside as it will only resurface again and again. You have to allow it, feel it and then watch it, the same old thoughts will come and you must allow them too, you keep your attention on the pain, just watch it, it will not swallow you up. Remain calm and watch it. Tell yourself that this too shall pass. I did feel a sense of panic at times, thinking it could take me over but stay as the watcher and you will be free of it once and for all. You feel lighter after ,Eckhart explains it so much better than me. I know you can rid your wonderful self of this pain. love jackie

  2. The Power of Now and A New Earth changed my life and I have bought the books for so many people wanting to help them to find peace of mind. I have a Friend I am in love with who is highly depressed. I would do anything to help him to get over the depression but I make almost no progress regardless what I try and do. I guess I have to admit that he is the only one who can do something about it. I have bought him the books but he says he doesn’t understand them. I’m assuming he is not ready. Is there anything I can do besides letting him know I’m there for him if he needs me? Thank you for changing my life, thank you for making this world a better place! Love, V.

    1. just be there for him. The depression could be a period of growth. The main thing is not to pressurize him to find an answer. It will come in its own time. God bless.

    2. I encourage you to offer the audio book as an option to your friend – that way, not understanding is fine you can just continue to listen and feel the words, well that’s the plan anyway =P
      And besides, its relaxing listening to eckhart’s voice =D

    3. Depression is not a bad thing. It’s a sign of spiritual awakening. Of the old no longer satisfying and the new awaiting to be chosen. The greatest gift you can give give anyone is to trust they know what to do. It’s the ultimate compassion.

      1. My experience with depression was a significant influence on who I am today. I love who I am, and love my life. There is always hope, and when the time is right for your friend to emerge into his awareness, it will happen just as it is meant to happen. Practice loving detachment. Namaste.

    4. Audiobooks narrated by Eckhart himself are wonderful. I couldn’t grasp Eckhart’s teachings very well through reading text but audio version of books helps dramatically.

  3. I need to read this over and over until it becomes automatic to me. It would help with my anxiety if I can remember this “simple” teaching. Thanks Eckhart!

  4. Eckhart Tolle ´s wisdom and state is one of my treasured ¨tools¨ to learn how to live .. how to find my way.
    I´m very greatful for all this giving of him!

  5. Thank you Eckhart and to all the teachers that have weaved through the illusion and continue to pass on the messages ,which all seem to be the same essence.

  6. Being an esoteric student and teacher Eckhart makes it very simple for anyone to get an “Ah hah.” The “mind” gets in the way with too much intellectual information (especially the internet) It gets you confused! Thanks for making it so simple on a pre-school level for US intellects!

  7. I first saw Eckhart on the Oprah show right around the time “New Earth” first came out…I followed the sessions that were given online with Oprah and Eckhart. I was truly facinated! My thought was; could “New Earth” finally be the book that would be the tool that would finally answer some of the many questions (bragged about voices in my head) could get some answers or was Eckhart a clever “Postit Notes” salemans, since my copy of New Earth was brimming with posit notes from our online sessions. I only put them on those areaS of the book that I thought was meaningful or noteworthy, so when “New Earth” started to show signs of “Posit Fatigue”….I knew I had found the Answers to many years of unanswered questions. Thanks Eckhart….I read from “New Earth” or “Now” every single day when I awake …No Exceptions!, hence I HAVE found “PEACE”.

  8. What I have noticed is that Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie and Harrison Klein did not become healed by using their “tools”, they were suddenly healed ( apparently from above)
    Also Hans King says “not everyone becomes healed”.
    When I discover something that works and my life improves,after a while my mind somehow puts a block on it and I am back to pain, scratching my head in disbelief.
    I am a good guy and here to create harmony, however it is true what they say, is that “Nice guys come last”
    Nick Fraser

    1. I had the same thought—that they were healed without any doing or practice and that’s the only way it can happen. But then the thought came that it’s their path and how wonderful it is that they can now pass along their wisdom. That transformation can happen suddenly but it can also happen gradually too. No way is better than the other! How wonderful to realize!

    2. My experience is that it takes work, practice and patience, a large dollop of compassion for self never goes awry either. Bringing myself back to the present moment again and again and yet again is the only way I know. Sometimes I fail but I never stop trying. Focusing on what my body is feeling is a big help too. Something I have told myself a million times will seemingly suddenly click and resonate, in a way that lasts. Sometimes it takes years and it is never finished. The observer is always present if we listen.
      Gary Zukav says there is only love and fear, this is a grounding thought for me, it helps me access that which observes.

    3. Nick is it perhaps your belief that “nice guys come last” that you keep manifesting? Or perhaps there is another subconscious belief or reason that prevents you from maintaining a ‘pain’ free state? Sometimes it is easier to remain in the state you are in than to ‘live up to’ the expectations of the state you are trying to live in or think that you want to live in. Just a thought 🙂

  9. “Be you transformed by the renewing of your mind” and your heart will be awakened.
    Grateful thanks to you Eckhart

  10. Thanks Eckhart for these mighty words. Just reading this brings me back to being. Its very calm and peaceful.

  11. I am amazed every time to read again and again Eckharts words. I am more amazed since these words make sense and hit an absolute truth within. Inner space recognizes the words, the mind though finds trickey ways to conveince me that this is not true..Well..what is new for me is that the mind starts not to be the protagonist and its not my problem that it doesn’t like it..ha ha!

  12. We surrender .. but there’s more than one I.
    Living within 100 egos ( multiple personality disorder) some awakening many are melded with the pain body .. wish there was some help with such a complex , ego issue .. how to find quiet with so many in one body ?

  13. More and more it gets easier and easier to realize that I am never separate from the One Life. I just look out through my eyes and there it is!

  14. My mantra…
    “If only we arrange our life according to the principle which counsels us that we must hold to the difficult, then that which now still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful.”

  15. I liked what Patti said, The Power of Now needs to be read and practised over and over again until the “thinker” will give up. Then again that moment is always now, any given moment.

  16. I am so grateful for all your sharing. I have been very lost & lonely and SO much miss my old self but have just found a wonderful therapist who does neurofeedback. I finally am seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you Eckhart for your caring for humanity. I’ll definitely be buying your book because I believe in you & am sure it will help me. My best to you & all those reading.

  17. Everyone of you are “exactly” where you are supposed to be along the journey to self-discovery and enlightenment.

    To subscribe to anything contrary to this simple truth is only to perpetuate the continuance of an as yet “unfulfilled sense of me”. Joy, peace, & love on the journey that never was.

  18. how does this help the issue of facing lack of funds, home foreclosure and deep stress because of these 2 NOW’s ?
    blessins and love

    1. Janice, perhaps this is (paradoxically) the ONLY thing that will truly help you through these issues, and I speak from experience, as I was where you are a few years ago. On my own, a horrible job that didn’t pay enough to live on, and losing my house. The stress was, as you know so well, appalling. It was this one passage from The Power of Now (which I also quoted below) that truly got me through: “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.” It was my mantra. I can’t explain it, but it was only by opening and accepting–even embracing–that I found peace. It (the situation) was what it was, and it became a very powerful learning. I wish you great peace as you struggle with what can be horrifically difficult–OR–a tremendous blessing. Namaste

  19. I really enjoyed & benefited greatly from your audio book “The Power of NOW”. You are exactly right about being present in each now! All else is just thought forms created in the holographic illusion. I’ve seen the infinite fractal for myself and that transformed me. I can never go back to being lost in the game of life. I create my own world NOW! Thanks for all your contributions to the awakening of humanity!

  20. Maybe there is also pain in wanting not to feel pain? In wanting to do exactly what Eckhart teaches? Are you a robot responding to what you think/believe is a higher teaching? Or do you listen and follow your OWN Heart that maybe sometimes tell you another truth than the one of Eckhart Tolle? For are you not more or larger than just submitting to Words of another (person)? What about your own voice from within? How much is that voice worth to you? And WHO exactly told you that your thoughts or your ego is bad – they are truely not all you are but still thoughts and ego are a side of you that is real (because of the simple fact that it is). Isnt it your thoughts and ego that make it possible for you to find yet a higher truth within yourself. For without the darknes how will you recognize the light? Do you really think that rescenting the darkness and loving the light will make you one hole. For is not everything a part of WHO you really are and not just one part and not the other?

  21. “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.”

    I’ve had this quotation printed and hanging in various work spaces for years, and I can’t tell you how many people have asked to copy it.

  22. Eckhart’s books have helped me to understand who I really am. Understanding these truths have given me peace, healing and joy. I try to practice presence in the now as much as I can which is probably 40% of my day.
    It has improved a little tiny bit everyday…And some days I live in the moment longer periods of time than others days… Thank you, thank you Eckhart for all your teachings and wisdom!

  23. “Always say “yes” to the present moment,” and don’t get anywhere… while i can say yes to the above, reality is different:
    the present moment isn’t the philosophy of many enterprises and deadlines don’t care – sometimes a future project or the fullfillment of a desire (life!) requires getting up in the morning and changing frequency and energy to a higher level, which compromises automatically the present moment, i’m afraid.

  24. Me puedes escribir..leí.. tu libro y lo que escribes.. me fué de lo más interesante.. por favor escribe… me gustaría comentar contigo… lo importante que es escuchar tu voz interior… mil gracias….

  25. Pure awareness ,the consciousness of the true self is the experience of our oneness ,our wholeness as our true self.. The ego personalizes God , that is the only way it can relate to that which it truly is.

  26. What helps me very well when the painbody jumps on me, is Heart-meditation.
    Breath all this pain in, and than breath out through your heart feeling love and expansion, for yourself and for all other lifeforms who are in pain too. In this way you will transform the painbody and feel the connection to your heart again.Just do this for 10 minutes and see what happens…you can do it as many times a day as you like, the minute your painbody starts to show up!
    (This is called “tonglen” in buddhist tradition)
    It’s the female answer to dealing with the painbody and my experience is that this kind of meditation works very strong even when you are in tremendous and unbearable emotional pain!


  27. Those unpleasant moments are the external stimuli that forces your conciousness to adapt, which is how evolution works, adaptation to environmental stimuli. all things evolve. a singularity evolved to energy, evergy to matter, and matter to life. conciousness evolves too, so be grateful for those unpleasant moments, they are stimulating the evolution of your conciousness. 🙂

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