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Personal growth: Avoiding the trap of psychological time May 14, 2017

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Concept of personal growth, Living in the Now.
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By Dennis Mellersh

It is almost impossible for us to be happy in our current life if we remain anchored to the counterproductive habit of focusing on “psychological time” according to Eckhart Tolle.

Psychological time as Tolle describes it is an artificial intellectual construct in which we use our present moment, or the Now, to focus on the past, which we can no longer physically access, and the future, which is also impossible to physically experience.

The past is totally inaccessible, even though its influence exists in the present, and the future can only be influenced by what we do right now in the present moment.

The past inevitably contains some actual disappointments and the future might be full of potential disappointments; both time periods feature many “what-if” questions.

Tolle suggests that we can ask ourselves a simple question to see if we are being “taken over” by psychological time and dwelling on the past and the future, instead of fully experiencing the present moment:

“Is there joy, ease, and lightness in what I am doing? If there isn’t, then time [the past and the future] is covering up the present moment, and life is perceived as a burden or a struggle,” Tolle suggests.

With the present moment darkened both by past disappointments and regrets, and also by thoughts of potential future negative events it is not surprising there is little joy in the present.

Tolle believes that “When you act out of present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love – even the most simple action. (1)

In contrast with psychological time, when you are fully involved in the present, in the Now, perhaps working on finishing a project that fully absorbs your attention right now, you are in “clock time” according to Tolle.

(1) Eckhart Tolle, Practicing The Power of Now, New World Library, Novato, California, 1999, 142 pages