Keep an eye on the little things

All we have is the present moment — a valuable lesson I learned while reading “Practicing the Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle over spring break. With just half a semester remaining in the school year, students at Wichita State who are struggling picking up their grades should find time to read this book.

In “Practicing the Power of Now,” Tolle preaches the lesson of letting go of thoughts of the past and future and completely engulfing yourself in the present moment. No matter how good or bad the first half of the semester was, things could change for the better or worse if you we take our eyes off the details.

Too often — myself included — we get fixated on the “big picture” that we forget the fine details, the ones that go unnoticed, that makes the “big picture” possible. Many of us are not aware of this costly mistake. I sure was not.

The purpose of this book varies depending on the objective of the individual. Many people use this book as a guide to meditation and peacefulness. This book contains several strategies that is intended to help people lead a richer, more satisfying life.

 In many ways it’s the work journal or exercise of Tolle’s previous work, however it contains many quotable lines which you want to come back to. For example:

“To be identified with your mind is to be trapped in time: the compulsion to live almost exclusively through memory and anticipation,” Tolle writes. “The past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of salvation, of fulfillment … Both are illusions. Wherever you are, be there totally. Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there.’ It’s the split that tears you apart inside.”

Quotes such as those can apply to any student that struggles trying to balance several things at once. Perhaps that is the problem. Toole believes it is virtually impossible to balance a myriad of things at once and be effective and efficient in them all.

Remember: it is all about the fine details that makes people and things a success.

Another quote that stands out: “Nothing exists outside the Now. Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future: it will happen in the Now.”

This can be interpreted in multiple ways, but I think it most applies to us as students. Whatever happened this first half of the semester does not exist anymore — we cannot alter it in any way possible. So what do we do?

We simply work forward. We try to master the fine details through day which will ultimately create a successful week; a successful week leads to a successful month; a successful month leads to more successful months; several successful months leads to a successful year; and before you know it your life is in order.

But it will never get there by holding on to the past or believing your are entitled a great future because you think of it.

Nothing about the future is guaranteed — it doesn’t exist without the now. The power of now is a powerful book — it’s cheap — and it will help students get through the semester and through college if it is read with an open mind.