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140 Eckhart Tolle Quotes on Living Life as It Happens

2. “Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath.”

3. “The past has no power over the present moment.”

4. “To know yourself as the being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.”

5. “Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”

6. “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the now the primary focus of your life.”

7. “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”

8. “Instead of asking ‘what do I want from life?’ a more powerful question is, ‘What does life want from me?’”

9. “Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time—the now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”

10. “People don’t realize that now is all there ever is. There is no past or future except as memory or anticipation in your mind.”

11. “Nothing ever happened in the past that can prevent you from being present now and if the past cannot prevent you from being present now, what power does it have?”

12. “You can always cope with the present moment, but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection—you cannot cope with the future.”

13. “Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.”

14. “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

15. “The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment. You create a good future by creating a good present.”

16. “Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.”

17. “Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it’s no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.”

18. “To end the misery that has afflicted the human condition for thousands of years, you have to start with yourself and take responsibility for your inner state at any given moment. That means now.”

19. “I have lived with several Zen masters—all of them cats.”

20. “You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.”

21. “Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment. Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life and see how life starts suddenly to start working for you rather than against you.”

22. “Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options—remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences.”

23. “Don’t seek happiness. If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness.”

24. “There is a fine balance between honoring the past and losing yourself in it. For example, you can acknowledge and learn from the mistakes you made, and then move on and refocus on the now. It is called forgiving yourself.”

25. “It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.”

26. “Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

27. “Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.”

28. “Love is not selective, just as the light of the sun is not selective. It does not make one person special. It is not exclusive. Exclusivity is not the love of God but the ‘love’ of ego.”

29. “The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.”

30. “At the deepest level of being, you are one with all that is.”

31. “Learn to give expression to what you feel without blaming.”

32. “To love is to recognize yourself in another.”

33. “Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.”

34. “It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living.”

35. “Being must be felt. It can’t be thought.”

36. “Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.”

37. “With stillness comes the benediction of peace.”

38. “The significance is hiding in the insignificant. Appreciate everything.”

39. “The only thing you ever have is now.”

40. “If not now, when?”

41. “You are aware, disguised as a person.”

42. “What a caterpillar calls the end of the world we call a butterfly.”

43. “You are not the voice in your mind, but the one who is aware of it.”

44. “Anything that you resent and strongly react to in another is also in you.”

45. “Give up defining yourself—to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence.”

46. “What a liberation to realize that the ‘voice in my head’ is not who I am. ‘Who am I, then?’ The one who sees that.”

47. “In the stillness of your presence, you can feel your own formless and timeless reality as the unmanifested life that animates your physical form. You can then feel the same life deep within every other human and every other creature. You look beyond the veil of form and separation. This is the realization of oneness. This is love.”

48. “As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love—even the most simple action.”

49. “When you let go of the belief that you should or need to know who you are, what happens to confusion? Suddenly it is gone. When you fully accept that you don’t know, you actually enter a state of peace and clarity that is closer to who you truly are than thought could ever be. Defining yourself through thought is limiting yourself.”

50. “The ultimate truth of who you are is not I am this or I am that, but I Am.”

51. “Living up to an image that you have of yourself or that other people have of you is inauthentic living.”

52. “The soul is your innermost being. The presence that you are beyond form. The consciousness that you are beyond form, that is the soul. That is who you are in essence.”

53. “You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are!”

54. “If there were nothing but thought in you, you wouldn’t even know you are thinking. You would be like a dreamer who doesn’t know he is dreaming. When you know you are dreaming, you are awake within the dream.”

55. “Be true to life by being true to your inner purpose. As you become present and thereby total in what you do, your actions become charged with spiritual power.”

56. “Life is an adventure, it’s not a package tour.”

57. “When you don’t cover up the world with words and labels, a sense of the miraculous returns to your life that was lost a long time ago when humanity, instead of using thought, became possessed by thought.”

58. “If you live only in one culture for the first 20 years of your life, you become conditioned without knowing it.”

59. “Your entire life only happens in this moment. The present moment is life itself. Yet, people live as if the opposite were true and treat the present moment as a stepping stone to the next moment—a means to an end.”

60. “Life is the dancer and you are the dance.” 

61. “All you really need to do is accept this moment fully. You are then at ease in the here and now and at ease with yourself.”

62. “Narrow your life down to this moment. Your life situation may be full of problems. Most life situations are—but find out if you have a problem at this moment. Do you have a problem now?”

63. “Nothing has happened in the past. It happened in the now. Nothing will ever happen in the future. It will happen in the now.”

64. “I’m grateful for always this moment, the now, no matter what form it takes.”

65. “Love is a state of being. Your love is not outside. It is deep within you. You can never lose it, and it cannot leave you. It is not dependent on some other body, some external form.”

66. “In essence, you are neither inferior nor superior to anyone. True self-esteem and true humility arise out of that realization. In the eyes of the ego, self-esteem and humility are contradictory. In truth, they are one and the same.”

67. “Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within.”

68. “Thought can be so seductive and hypnotic that it absorbs your attention totally, so you become your thoughts.”

69. “Memories are thoughts that arise. They’re not realities. Only when you believe that they are real, then they have the power over you. But when you realize it’s just another thought arising about the past, then you can have a spacious relationship with that thought. The thought no longer has you in its grip.”

70. “So the single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this—learn to disidentify from your mind.”

71. “You become most powerful in whatever you do if the action is performed for its own sake rather than as a means to protect, enhance, or conform to your role identity.”

72. “To complain is always nonacceptance 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 madness.”

73. “If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. Primary reality is within—secondary reality without.”

74. “Being spiritual has nothing to do with what you believe and everything to do with your state of consciousness.”

75. “All problems are illusions of the mind.”

76. “There are two ways of being unhappy. Not getting what you want is one. Getting what you want is the other.”

77. “Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to ‘die before you die— and find that there is no death.”

78. “If your mind carries a heavy burden of past, you will experience more of the same. The past perpetuates itself through a lack of presence. The quality of your consciousness at this moment is what shapes the future.”

79. “Whenever an answer, a solution, or a creative idea is needed, stop thinking for a moment by focusing attention on your inner energy field. When you resume thinking, it will be fresh and creative.”

80. “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.”

81. “In today’s rush we all think too much, seek too much, want too much, and forget about the joy of just being.”

82. “All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry—all forms of fear are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”

83. “Whenever you become anxious or stressed, outer purpose has taken over, and you lost sight of your inner purpose. You have forgotten that your state of consciousness is primary, all else secondary.”

84. “If small things have the power to disturb you, then who you think you are is exactly that—small.”

85. “All the things that truly matter, beauty, love, creativity, joy, and inner peace arise from beyond the mind.”

86. “Don’t look for peace. Don’t look for any other state than the one you are in now. Otherwise, you will set up inner conflict and unconscious resistance. Forgive yourself for not being at peace.”

87. “Is there a difference between happiness and ? Yes. Happiness depends on conditions being perceived as positive—inner peace does not.”

88. “That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness.”

89. “You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.”

90. “Faith is the substance of whatever it is that we hope for. The important thing is that we teach that faith is connected to good works and responsibility.”

91. “All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.”

92. “To realize that you are not your thoughts is when you begin to awaken spiritually.”

93. “Being at ease with not knowing is crucial for answers to come to you.”

94. “The past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of salvation, of fulfillment in whatever form. Both are illusions.”

95. “You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness.”

96. “Space and silence are two aspects of the same thing. The same no-thing. They are externalization of inner space and inner silence, which is stillness. The infinitely creative womb of all existence.”

97. “Thinking is only a small aspect of consciousness. Thought cannot exist without consciousness, but consciousness does not need thought.”

98. “Thinking is a wonderful tool if it’s applied. Thinking, however, can not become the master. Thinking is a very bad master. If you’re dominated by thinking then your life becomes very restricted.”

99. “To recognize one’s own insanity is, of course, the arising of sanity, the beginning of healing and transcendence.”

100. “Taking a deep breath has the potential to improve the quality of your day.”

101. “The pain that you create now is always some form of nonacceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is.”

102. “Power over others is weakness disguised as strength.”

103. “Boredom, anger, sadness, or fear are not ‘yours,’ not personal. They are conditions of the human mind. They come and go. Nothing that comes and goes is you.”

104. “Before you move onto the next part of your day, stop for a moment and take a deep breath.”

105. “Fear seems to have many causes. Fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of being hurt, and so on, but ultimately all fear is the ego’s fear of death, of annihilation. To the ego, death is always just around the corner. In this mind-identified state, fear of death affects every aspect of your life.”

106. “To me, the ego is the habitual and compulsive thought processes that go through everybody’s mind continuously. External things like possessions or memories or failures or successes or achievements. Your personal history.”

107. “The moment you become aware of the ego in you, it is strictly speaking no longer the ego, but just an old, conditioned mind-pattern. Ego implies unawareness. Awareness and ego cannot coexist.”

108. “The personal ego already has a strong element of dysfunction, but the collective ego is, frequently, even more dysfunctional, to the point of absolute insanity.”

109. “A genuine relationship is one that is not dominated by the ego with its image-making and self-seeking. In a genuine relationship, there is an outward flow of open, alert attention toward the other person in which there is no wanting whatsoever.”

110. “Often, little situations trigger enormous reactions. Be there, present for it. Your partner will find it easier to see it in you, and you will find it easier to see it in them.”

111. “Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment.”

112. “If danger arises in the present moment, there may be an emotion. There may even be pain. But that’s a challenge, not a problem. For a problem to exist, you need time and repetitive mind activity.”

113. “Is fear preventing you from taking action? Acknowledge the fear, watch it, take your attention into it, be fully present with it. Doing so cuts the link between the fear and your thinking. Don’t let the fear rise up into your mind. Use the power of the Now. Fear cannot prevail against it.”

114. “The more you live in the present moment, the more the fear of death disappears.”

115. “Inner resistance to whatever arises in the present moment pulls you back into unconsciousness. Inner resistance is some form of negativity, complaining, fear, aggression, or anger.”

116. “Don’t wait to be successful at some future point. Have a successful relationship with the present moment and be fully present in whatever you are doing. That is success.”

117. “Your outer journey may contain a million steps. Your inner journey only has one. The step you are taking right now.”

118. “When you take your attention into the present moment, a certain alertness arises. You become more conscious of what’s around you, but also, strangely, a sense of presence that is both within and without.”

119. “Most humans are never fully present in the now because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now.”

120. “People tend to dwell more on negative things than on good things. So the mind then becomes obsessed with negative things, with judgments, guilt, and anxiety produced by thoughts about the future and so on.”

121. “Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome. Since the present moment is life itself, it is an insane way to live.”

122. “Many people identify their sense of self with the problems they have, or think they have.”

123. “Many people in this world are still so identified with every thought that arises in their head. There is not the slightest space of awareness there.”

124. “People look to time in expectation that it will eventually make them happy, but you cannot find true happiness by looking toward the future.”

125. “For many people who are so lost in their minds, so much involved in their thought processes, the only moments they have when they are not trapped in that is when they are relating to their animal, their pet.”

126. “To know another human being in their essence, you don’t really need to know anything about them — their past, their history, their story.”

127. “If the structures of the human mind remain unchanged, we will always end up re-creating the same world, the same evils, the same dysfunction.”

128. “If there are people you haven’t forgiven, you’re not going to really awaken. You have to let go.”

129. “Some people awaken spiritually without ever coming into contact with any meditation technique or any spiritual teaching. They may awaken simply because they can’t stand the suffering anymore.”

130. “Was Jesus the son of God? Yes. But so are you. You just haven’t realized it yet.”

131. “That is the real spiritual awakening—when something emerges from within you that is deeper than who you thought you were. So, the person is still there, but one could almost say that something more powerful shines through the person.”

132. “I believe that Jesus realized his oneness with God and he showed, what he attempted to do was show the way to all of us, how to realize our own oneness with God also, so he’s a precursor.”

133. “I don’t believe in an outside agent that creates the world, then walks away. But I feel very strongly that there is an intelligence at work in every flower, in every blade of grass, in every cell of my body.”

134. “You can have religion with spirituality. You can also have religion without spirituality.”

135. “Focus attention on the feeling inside you. Know that it is the pain-body. Accept that it is there. Don’t think about it. Don’t let the feeling turn into thinking. Don’t judge or analyze. Don’t make an identity for yourself out of it.”

136. “Discontent, blaming, complaining, self-pity cannot serve as a foundation for a good future, no matter how much effort you make.”

137. “Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality, it brings something entirely new into this world. Even the most seemingly unpleasant situations. If you become aligned with it, something good will emerge from that.”

138. “It is when we are trapped in incessant streams of compulsive thinking that the universe really disintegrates for us, and we lose the ability to sense the interconnectedness of all that exists.”

139. “Thoughts are fine when you don’t confuse them with who you are, and then thoughts are not a problem. Thinking is a wonderful tool to create things in this world. It only becomes problematic and a source of suffering when you confuse thinking with who you are.”

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