All You Need Is Now

Eckhart Tolle explains the power of an eternal present

| January / February 2004

At 29, Eckhart Tolle was a research scholar and doctoral candidate at Cambridge University in England. He was also deeply miserable. As he lay in bed one night, gripped by an intense dread and loathing of his existence, he experienced a profound spiritual transformation. His first sight upon waking was the light of dawn through the curtains. "Without any thought, I felt, I knew, that there is infinitely more to light than we realize," he later wrote. "That soft luminosity filtering through the curtains was love itself." Though the room was familiar, he realized he had never really seen it before. "I picked up things, a pencil, an empty bottle, marveling at the beauty and aliveness of it all."

Gone was the miserable feeling, re-placed by a deep sense of peace. He didn't have concepts or words for what had happened to him. It was only with the help of spiritual texts and teachers that he began to understand. He had glimpsed his true nature as "pure consciousness" rather than as the ego-bound, separate self, which ultimately was "a fiction of the mind."