52 of the Best Eckhart Tolle Quotes on the Power of Now
I’m so inspired by these Eckhart Tolle quotes on spiritual awakening, mindfulness and the power of Now, working with emotions, dissolving pain, overcoming challenges, and the purpose of life.
At least for me, it’s not enough to read a powerful book like ThePower of Now [affiliate link]. I need to find ways to keep what I’ve read alive. Otherwise, life’s multitude of distractions quickly lure me into the past or the future. Does that happen to you too?
That’s where quotes come in. They remind me of what’s truly important.
If they resonate, I suggest engaging deeply with these quotes. Turn each one over in your mind. Does it make sense? Does it feel like “truth” to you? Does it elevate your spirit? Choose a quote a day or a quote a week, and bring it alive in your being.
In the Power of Now, Tolle starts off by explaining “enlightenment.” Please don’t be deterred by his use of the word. As you read on, you’ll see that Tolle shows what enlightenment means for the everyday person. It’s possible for everyone - not just monks and nuns in monasteries or yogis in caves.
These quotes are also like a mini-course on mindfulness, presence, and how to work with the conceptual and emotional arisings in the mind so they don’t pull you into suffering, again and again. You can use these quotes as an essential step-by-step guide to living right now.
Ready to be inspired?
Eckhart Tolle Quotes on Enlightenment
“The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some superhuman accomplishment, and the ego likes to keep it that way, but it is simply your natural state of felt oneness with Being. It is a state of connectedness with something immeasurable and indestructible, something that, almost paradoxically, is essentially you and yet is much greater than you.”
“You can know it only when the mind is still. When you are present, when your attention is fully and intensely in the Now, Being can be felt, but it can never be understood mentally. To regain awareness of Being and to abide in that state of “feeling-realization” is enlightenment.
“The compulsive thinker, which means almost everyone, lives in a state of apparent separateness, in an insanely complex world of continuous problems and conflict, a word that reflects the ever-increasing fragmentation of the mind. Enlightenment is a state of wholeness, of being ‘at one’ and therefore at peace.”
“Enlightenment is not only the end of suffering and of continuous conflict within and without, but also the end of the dreadful enslavement to incessant thinking. What an incredible liberation this is!”
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly - you usually don’t use it at all. It uses you. This is the disease. You believe that you are your mind. This is the delusion. The instrument has taken you over.”
“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 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 all the things that truly matter - beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace - arise from beyond the mind. You begin to awaken.”
Eckhart Tolle Quotes on Mindfulness & The Power of Now
“The good news is that you can free yourself from your mind. This is the only true liberation. You can take the first step right now. Start listening to the voice in your head as often as you can. Pay particular attention to any repetitive thought patterns, those old gramophone records that have been playing in your head perhaps for many years. This is what I mean by ‘watching the thinker,’ which is another way of saying: listen to the voice in your head, be there as the witnessing presence.”
“When you listen to that voice, listen to it impartially. That is to say, do not judge. Do not judge or condemn what you hear, for doing so would mean that the same voice has come in again through the back door. You’ll soon realize: there is the voice and here I am listening to it, watching it. This ‘I am’ realization, this sense of your own presence, is not a thought. It arises from beyond the mind.”
“So when you listen to a thought, you are aware not only of the thought but also of yourself as the witness of the thought. A new dimension of consciousness has come in. As you listen to the thought, you feel a conscious presence - your deeper self - behind or underneath the thought, as it were. The thought then loses its power over you and quickly subsides, because you are no longer energizing the mind through identification with it.”
“When a thought subsides, you experience a discontinuity in the mental stream - a gap of ‘no-mind.’ At first, the gaps will be short, a few seconds perhaps, but gradually they will become longer. When these gaps occur, you feel a certain stillness and peace inside you. This is the beginning of your natural state of felt oneness with Being, which is usually obscured by the mind.”
“In this state of inner connectedness, you are much more alert, more awake than in the mind-identified state. You are fully present. It also raises the vibrational frequency of the energy field that gives life to the physical body.”
“Instead of ‘watching the thinker,’ you can also create a gap in the mind stream simply by directing the focus of your attention in the Now. Just become intensely conscious of the present moment. This is deeply satisfying thing to do. In this way, you draw consciousness away from mind activity and create a gap of no-mind in which you are highly alert and aware but not thinking. This is the essence of meditation.”
“In your everyday life, you can practice this by taking any routine activity that normally is only a means to an end and giving it your fully attention, so that it becomes an end in itself. For example, every time you walk up and down the stairs in your house or place of work, pay close attention to every step, every movement, even your breathing. Be totally present.”
"So the single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: learn to dis-identify from your mind. Every time you create a gap in the stream of mind, the light of your consciousness grows stronger.”
“Your mind is an instrument, a tool. It is there to be used for a specific task, and when the task is completed, you lay it down. As it is, I would say about 80 to 90 percent of most people’s thinking is not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is also harmful. Observe your mind and you will find this to be true. It causes a serious leakage of vital energy.”
“Thinking and consciousness are not synonymous. Thinking is only a small aspect of consciousness. Thought cannot exist without consciousness, but consciousness does not need thought.”
Eckhart Tolle Quotes on Working with Emotions
“Mind, in the way I use the word, is not just thought. It includes your emotions as well as all unconscious mental-emotional reactive patterns.”
“The more you are identified with your thinking, your likes and dislikes, judgments and interpretations, which is to say the less present you are as the watching consciousness, the stronger the emotional energy charge will be, whether you are aware of it or not.
“If you cannot feel your emotions, if you are cut off from them, you will eventually experience them on a purely physical level, as a physical problem or symptom.”
If you have difficulty feeling your emotions, start by focusing attention on the inner energy field of your body. Feel the body within. This will also put you in touch with your emotions.”
“If you really want to know your mind, the body will always give you a truthful reflection, so look at the emotion, or rather feel it in your body. If there is an apparent conflict between them, the thought will be the lie, the emotion will be the truth. Not the ultimate truth of who you are, but the relative truth of your state of mind at the time.”
“To watch an emotion in this way is basically the same as listening to or watching a thought, which I described earlier. The only difference is that, while a thought is in your head, an emotion has a strong physical component and so is primarily felt in the body. You can then allow the emotion to be there without being controlled by it. You no longer are the emotion; you are the watcher, the observing presence. If you practice this, all that is unconscious in you will be brought into the light of consciousness.”
“Make it a habit to ask yourself: What’s going on inside me at this moment? That question will point you in the right direction. But don’t analyze, just watch. Focus your attention within. Feel the energy of the emotion. If there is no emotion present, take your attention more deeply into the inner energy field of your body. It is the doorway into Being.”
“An emotion usually represents an amplified and energized thought pattern, and because of its often overpowering energetic charge, it is not easy initially to stay present enough to be able to watch it.”
“Often a vicious circle builds up between your thinking and the emotion: they feed each other. The thought patterns creates a magnified reflection of itself in the form of an emotion, and the vibrational frequency of the emotion keeps feeding the original thought patterns. By dwelling mentally on the situation, event, or person that is the perceived cause of the emotion, the thought feeds energy to the emotion, which in turn energizes the thought pattern, and so on.”
“Basically, all emotions are modifications of one primordial, undifferentiated emotion that has its origin in the loss of awareness of who you are beyond name and form. Because of its undifferentiated nature, it is hard to find a name that precisely describes this emotion. ‘Fear’ comes close, but apart from a continuous sense of threat, it also includes a deep sense of abandonment and incompleteness.”
“Love, joy, and peace cannot flourish until you have freed yourself from mind dominance. But they are not what I would call emotions. They lie beyond the emotions, on a much deeper level. So you need to become fully conscious of your emotions and be able to feel them before you can feel that which lies beyond them. Emotion literally means ‘disturbance.’ The word comes from the Latin emovere, meaning ‘to disturb.’”
“Real love doesn’t make you suffer. How could it? It doesn’t suddenly turn into hate, nor does real joy turn into pain. …even before you are enlightened - before you have freed yourself from your mind - you may get glimpses of true joy, true love, or of a deep inner peace, still but vibrantly alive.”
Eckhart Tolle Quotes on Dissolving Pain & Problems
“Pain is inevitable as long as you are identified with your mind, which is to say as long as you are unconscious, spiritually speaking. I am talking here primarily of emotional pain, which is also the main cause of physical pain and physical disease. Resentment, hatred, self-pity, guilt, anger, depression, jealousy, and so on, even the slightest irritation, are all forms of pain. And every pleasure or emotional high contains within itself the seed of pain: its inseparable opposite, which will manifest in time.”
“There are two levels to your pain: the pain that you create now, and the pain from the past that still lives on in your mind and body. Ceasing to create pain in the present and dissolving past pain - this is what I want to talk about now.”
“The pain that you create now is always some form of nonacceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the thought level, the resistance is some form of judgement. One the emotional level, it is some form of negativity. The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment, and this in turn depends on how strongly you are identified with your mind. The mind always seeks to deny the Now and to escape from it. In other words, the more you are identified with your mind, the more you suffer. Or you may put it like this: the more you are able to honor and accept the Now, the more you are free of pain, of suffering - and free of the egoic mind.”
“Yes, we need the mind as well as time to function in this world, but there comes a point where they take over our lives, and this is where dysfunction, pain, and sorrow set in.”
“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 the past and future when required to deal with the practical aspects of your life situation.”
"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.”
“Power over others is weakness disguised as strength. True power is within, and it is available to you now.”
“Be present as the watcher of your mind — of your thoughts and emotions as well as your reactions in various situations. Be at least as interested in your reactions as in the situation or person that causes you to react. Notice also how often your attention is in the past or future. Don’t judge or analyze what you observe. Watch the thought, feel the emotion, observe the reaction. Don’t make a personal problem out of them. You will then feel something more powerful than any of those things that you observe: the still, observing presence itself behind the content of your mind, the silent watcher.
“Ultimately, this is not about solving your problems. It’s about realizing that there are no problems. Only situations — to be dealt with now, or to be left alone and accepted as parts of the “isness” of the present moment until they change or can be dealt with. Problems are mind-made and need time to survive. They cannot survive in the actuality of the Now.”
“When you create a problem, you create pain. All it takes is a simple choice, a simple decision: no matter what happens, I will create no more pain for myself. I will create no more problems. Although it is a simple choice, it is also very radical. You won’t make that choice unless you are truly fed up with suffering, unless you have truly had enough. And you won’t be able to go through with it unless you access the power of the Now. If you create no more pain for yourself, then you create no more pain for others. You also no longer contaminate the beautiful Earth, your inner space, and the collective human psyche with the negativity of problem making.”
“To alert you that you have allowed yourself to be taken over by psychological time, you can use a simple criterion. Ask yourself: Is there joy, ease, and lightness in what I am doing? If there isn’t, then time is covering up the present moment, and life is perceived as a burden or a struggle.”
“If there is no joy, ease, or lightness in what you are doing, it does not necessarily mean that you need to change ‘what’ you are doing. It may be sufficient to change the ‘how’. ‘How’ is always more important than ‘what.’ See if you can give much more attention to the doing than to the result that you want to achieve through it. Give your fullest attention to whatever the moment presents. This implies that you also completely accept what ‘is’, because you cannot give your full attention to something and at the same time resist it.”
“The best indicator of your level of consciousness is how you deal with life’s challenges when they come. Through those challenges, an already unconscious person tends to become more deeply unconscious, and a conscious person more intensely conscious. You can use a challenge to awaken you, or you can allow it to pull you into even deeper sleep. The dream of ordinary unconsciousness then turns into a nightmare.”
“You don’t seek permanency where it cannot be found: in the world of form, of gain and loss, birth and death. You don’t demand that situations, conditions, places, or people should make you happy, and then suffer when they don’t live up to your expectations.”
“Why are you always anxious? Jesus asked his disciples. ‘Can anxious thought add a single day to your life?’ And the Buddha taught that the root of suffering is to be found in our constant wanting and craving.”
“Make it a habit to monitor your mental-emotional state through self-observation. ‘Am I at ease at this moment?’ is a good question to ask yourself frequently. Or you can ask: ‘What going on inside me at this moment?’ Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside world will fall into place. Primary reality is within, secondary reality without. But don’t answer these questions immediately. Direct your attention inward. Have a look inside yourself. What kind of thoughts is your mind producing? What do you feel? Direct your attention into the body. Is there any tension? Once you detect that there is a low level unease, the background static, see in what way you are avoiding, resisting, or denying life — by denying the Now. There are many ways in which people unconsciously resist the present moment. I will give you a few examples. With practice, your power of self-observation, of monitoring your inner state, will become sharpened.”
“Negativity is never the optimum way of dealing with any situation.”
“Deep unconsciousness, such as the pain-body, or other deep pain, such as the loss of a loved one, usually needs to be transmuted through acceptance combined with the light of your presence —your sustained attention. Many patterns in ordinary unconsciousness, on the other hand, can simply be dropped once you know that you don’t want them and don’t need them anymore, once you realize that you have a choice, that you are not just a bundle of conditioned reflexes. All this implies that you are able to access the power of Now. Without it, you have no choice.”
“See if you can catch yourself complaining, in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always non-acceptance of what ‘is’. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is useless.”
“Die to the past every moment. You don’t need it. Only refer to it when it is absolutely relevant to the present. Feel the power of the moment and the fullness of Being. Feel your presence.”
“Whatever you need to know about the unconscious past in you, the challenges of the present will bring it out.”
“So deal with the past on the level of the present. The more attention you give to the past, the more you energize it, and the more likely you are to make a “self” out of it. Don’t misunderstand: Attention is essential, but not to the past as past. Give attention to the present; give attention to your behavior, to your reactions, moods, thoughts, emotions, fears, and desires as they occur in the present. ‘There’s’ the past in you. If you can be present enough to watch all those things, not critically or analytically but non-judgmentally, then you are dealing with the past and dissolving it through the power of your presence. You cannot find yourself by going into the past. You find yourself by coming into the present.”
Eckhart Tolle Quotes on Life Purpose
“Your life’s journey has an outer purpose and an inner purpose. The outer purpose is to arrive at your goal or destination, to accomplish what you set out to do, to achieve this or that, which of course, implies future. But if your destination, or the steps you are going to take in the future, take up so much of your attention that they become more important to you than the step you are taking now, then you completely miss the journey’s inner purpose, which has nothing to do with ‘where’ you are going or ‘what’ you are doing, but everything to do with ‘how’. It has nothing to do with your future but everything to do with the quality of your consciousness at this moment. The outer purpose belongs to the horizontal dimension of space and time; the inner purpose concerns a deepening of your Being in the vertical dimension of the timeless Now.
“The sooner your realize that your outer purpose cannot give you lasting fulfillment, the better. When you have seen the limitations of your outer purpose, you give up your unrealistic expectation that it should make you happy, and you make it subservient to your inner purpose.”
I gathered these quotes from the first 5 chapters of The Power of Now [affiliate link]. In fact, I couldn’t stop highlighting. There is so much more; I highly recommend this book if you want to learn about mindfulness.
And if you’re specially interested in mindfulness, you might also want to read some of my previous articles on the topic:
As you apply Tolle’s wisdom in your life, it’s important to remember that the power of Now does not lie in dissociation from your emotions or experience. Nor does it lie in denial of pain or challenges.
It’s only through opening yourself up fully in each moment - to both comfort and discomfort - that you can learn to dissolve unnecessary pain and suffering and learn to live in more comfort and ease.
Tell me: What inspired you most from these quotes? I would love to hear in the comments.
Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious! Don’t forget to sign up for Wild Arisings, my twice monthly letters from the heart filled with insights, inspiration, and ideas to help you connect with and live from your truest self. Subscribers receive access to the Always Well Within Library of free self-development resources.