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My Evening With Eckhart Tolle At The Riverside Church

Last night I dragged my husband with me to listen to Eckhart Tolle speak – the man that literally changed my life. I know at times I can get dramatic… but this is a truth that is undeniable.

Have you heard of ‘The Power of Now’? The book’s message is one that is so simple and pure that it’s almost ridiculous. The only important moment in your life is now. It doesn’t matter what happened to you in the past. It doesn’t matter what you hope for in the future. The moment you should concern yourself with it right now. And right now I am safe and happy and loved – so that’s the only thing that is real.

This is very powerful to me because (as I’ve mentioned before) I struggle with letting go of hurt and pain. Before reading this book I couldn’t be alone with my thoughts because I would start to cry about this or that. Eckhart taught me that the past is not real. The past cannot hurt me anymore. The only truth in life is NOW.

This is going to be a long post – so brace yourself.

He started the talk warning us that two issues will arise during our time together – one minor and one major.

The minor issue was our “bum” would start to hurt because we will be seated for so long. The crowd laughed.

The major issue was that we will be thinking about the fact that our bum hurts and that will pull us away from the talk and this moment.

The message is so clear. Our thoughts take us away from what we do. How many times have you been in a conversation and while “listening” you are already thinking of your next question? Or the fact that your nail polish is chipped? Or the 3 pounds you gained? (You get the point)

How about when you are playing with your kids and all you can think of is the errands you have to run in the morning?

You are there but you aren’t. Your mind is taking you elsewhere – worries, complaints and all things that pull you away from actually living your life. Our brains are like broken records constantly spinning the same concerns over and over again. Sometimes we get so caught up in the thoughts that we forget to actually be in the now.

This is my greatest struggle.

This is why he says you have to let it all go. If we worry or dwell in hurt then that is what our lives will be filled with. If you are a “glass is half empty” person then that is the life you will lead. If you think everyone in the world is a liar, then you will seek out liars to prove your point or at least not pay attention to those people you meet who are honest because they don’t solidify your mind’s position.

Here is another story Eckhart said. It’s one that’s been said many times, but it brings up a great point.


Man A was sitting in a cafe when Man B walked in and asks him a question.

Man B: “Excuse me. I’m thinking of moving to this town. How are the people who live here?”

Man A: “Well, how are the people like where you currently live?”

Man B: “They are dreadful! They complain. They are crooks. They are all liars and I can’t trust anyone.”

Man A: “Well, that’s exactly how the people in this town are.”

The next day Man A returns to the cafe and Man C walks in and asks him a question.

Man C: “Excuse me. I’m thinking of moving to this town. How are the people who live here?”

Man A: “Well, how are the people like where you currently live?”

Man C: “They are kind. They are pleasant and very helpful. They are filled with love and enjoy life to the fullest.”

Man A: “Well, that’s exactly how the people in this town are.”


When he finished that little story I started to cry. We shape our reality. It’s that simple. Sometimes we feel so helpless but we are the ones that control our happiness. Some don’t believe that because they equate happiness with money or status. But that cannot be because it isn’t true that you will be happy if you have money. There is no correlation. Today is the day to let it go and take control of our lives again. Whatever happened already happened and worrying about the future is pointless because you are just worrying about a thought – it isn’t real.

The only thing to do is live in the moment and enjoy it with each of our senses.

Yes, there is a place to make plans for your life. We all need to set goals. We all need to worry about the future to some extend. Eckhart isn’t talking about removing ALL thoughts – just the ones that prohibit us from being in the moment. The ones that steal us away. There is a time and a place for everything – we still have to remain responsible for our lives so future planning is a necessity. But WORRYING about whether or not you will earn a million dollars before 50 every single moment of your life in not necessary. As long as you are working towards your goals and doing what you know you have to do… there is nothing to worry about.

After I read ‘The Power of Now’ I traveled to LA. This was about three years ago. I was actively shutting down the complaining voice in my head and making a real attempt to just be happy in the moment. I was flying home and landing in JFK and as I looked down at the ground I saw stars twinkling everywhere. The entire ground looked like it was set up for Christmas or something. I KNEW that I was misunderstanding what I was seeing and I kept trying to figure out how it was possible.

As we got closer and closer to the ground I realized that the lights were actually lamp posts and they were twinkling because as the plane flew trees would block and then unblock the light from my view. At that moment I started to cry hysterically (and even can’t say this story without crying again) because I was able to experience that beautiful moment. Why had I not ever noticed it before? I’ve flown a million times and never saw how beautiful NYC looked at night while flying in. It’s because I was never present on a plane. I would be working, or reading, or thinking about what baggage claim area I would have to go to, or worrying about the plane crashing. But on that flight my mind was empty and I just looked out the window and saw life. My now. The moment I was in and it was something I will never forget.

Now, I’m not saying it’s easy to turn off that record. We all complain or judge or worry. It is what it is and its name is HUMAN. ‘The Power of Now’ is like an awakening to the notion that our minds are in complete control when instead we should be the ones living our experiences. Remove the chatter and just be.

This is by NO MEANS justification to Tolle’s work. NONE AT ALL. I can’t even BEGIN to get into how he explains it, but I am hoping that I made you a little interested in learning more. Once you read the book you will never be the same.

Even Bill said he took away from the talk and I won’t TELL YOU what he was telling me while we were driving in. He was not happy – let’s just say that.

Be aware of how much you think of things that don’t relate to what you are doing. And when you find yourself getting swept away by your mind’s negativity, tell yourself to shut it – and get back into the moment.

The more you do that the more you will see the beauty in the little things. We have to accept the now – not spend all day wishing for tomorrow. Because when tomorrow comes… it will be the same as today and then you will do it again and again and again until time has passed and just wasted away. Every tomorrow will eventually be a now. Live it when the time comes.

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Vera Sweeney, mom, blogger, social media influencer and New York resident, is the founder of LadyAndTheBlog.com. She is considered one of the top female digital influencers in today’s social media space. Her lifestyle and parenting brand helps busy women stay on top of the latest trends in fashion, food, family and travel.


  1. Frank Del Bagno : November 28, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    I was also at the Eckhart Tolle talk in NYC. He is truly a gift for us. Aptly called the Father of NOW,
    He has shown the way to the one source, God, our true self. What a wonderful talk at Riverside Church, it amazed me that so many would turn out to hear him over 2000, and then he went overseas to overflow crowds. Truly something he says resonance with people because people would not pay nearly $100.or maybe more to spend two hours listening to spiritual stuff by anybody. Anybody that is but Eckhart Tolle.

  2. Any advice on how to not dwell on stuff that needs to get done? I am TERRIBLE at this! Especially since I’ve been ill and homebound for a long time – all I do is worry about the future and dwell on the past…I am terrible and would love to let it all go. P.S. I’ve actually READ The Power of Now and still do this. Hate that I’m like that! 🙁

    • THe important thing is that you catch yourself doing it. that’s the first step. you are aware and you will let it go each time you can snap out of it.

      its not a perfect process but realization of what you are doing with your thoughts is a big part of the solution. 🙂 we are all in this together.

      • Thank you for your response, Vera – I am going to start doing that right now! 🙂 There is another book called Brain Lock and it’s kinda the same idea re: controlling your thoughts. I really want to change – it is painful and unhappy living like this!

        Thanks again! xoxo

  3. Lesile
    Accepting things as they are, is very important. Surrender to the what it, don’t judge it.
    If you can’t accept, then accept that you can’t accept. This is the first step.Bringing space to any
    mind problem gives you an opening for the true being you are, your light if you well, to shine and
    diffuse the darkness.

  4. OMG, you sound like me watching kleenex and cotton commercials. I’ll cry because it’s so cute or so beautiful or so carefree. I think I need to read this book. Thanks!

  5. […] at work, take a shower and wash it off. You have control of your own happiness (which brings me to The Power of Now) and if you need a physical act to help you wrap your head around that, consider using the shower […]

    • I do this (learned from a massage therapist)! I work afternoons in a very busy, masculine office (for a trucking company), I have to wash the stress away to start a peaceful bedtime routine.

  6. Thank you for sharing! I was up with my husband half of the night last night because the constant thoughts in his head often prevent him from sleeping. I just found your blog & this post today through Twitter. Perfect timing. I sent this to my husband. I have read a New Earth & I’m in the process of reading the Power of Now. This is such a wonderful & direct synopsis of Eckart’s amazing teaching. THANK YOU again, I’m really enjoying this moment.


  7. Eckart Tolle is a liar and plaguriser. It is sad when someone is prepaired to lie about suicide and moreover to claim that while their mind was so broken and about to kill themselves they came up with miraculous ideas stolen directly from Jiddu Krishnamurti and Anthony De Mello just to make a stinking filthy amount of money off of people whom are not well read and have money to throw away.

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