Mindfulness is the process of connecting to our essential identity and being in conscious control of our thought processes. The concept of mindfulness on one hand is simple, yet on another, difficult and abstract to apply. Eckhart Tolle has written numerous books surrounding the concepts of mindfulness. This article breaks down key concepts from Stillness Speaks to help apply mindfulness concepts in day-to-day life.


Essential Identity

An introductory statement in Stillness Speaks reads “The human condition, lost in thought.” We see the simplicity of “too much thought” but how is that creating unnecessary suffering in life? Consider, a person has a true, essential identity. The essential identity is our core conscious awareness. We also have a mind full of thoughts from various thought processes. The thoughts are driven on any given day by past experiences, current happenings, fears, and emotions. The various drivers of the mind’s thoughts are why we take time before making a big decision; to make sure the mind’s thoughts aren’t changing “their mind” from day-to-day.


From this, we can see it’s important to connect with our essential identity and not be at the whim of our mind’s thoughts of the day. In essence, mindfulness is the process of connecting to our essential identity and being in conscious control of our thought processes. Stillness Speaks provides an apt metaphor between essential identity and the mind’s thoughts. “The equivalent of external noise is the inner noise of thinking. The equivalent of external silence is inner stillness….Stillness within yourself, you are aware but not thinking.”


Accepting the Moment

Inner stillness and a quiet mind where thoughts are tools and our essential identity are in charge bring a calmer presence. Additionally, learning to accept the moment for what it is and not resist what has happened reduces suffering. Take for example a scenario where we miss an airplane flight. If we start thinking about all the reasons we missed the flight these thoughts take us down a negative thought pattern. We missed the flight. Now, in addition, our blood pressure is up, we feel emotions of anger and frustration. Unfortunately, that response does not get us on the flight. On the other hand, we can accept we missed the flight, accept the inconvenience and make new plans. In this sense, we are not “resisting” what is. Get a cup of coffee or look outside at nature and appreciate it. Then, move on to the next moment.


With the first response, we feel emotions of anger and frustration which may create increased stress and low mood. In the second response, fewer negative emotions are triggered, we are still at peace. We enjoy the new moment for what it is. Not resisting the moment is critical because our thoughts lead to emotions which can lead us to either negative behaviors and mindsets with suffering OR positive states with peace. Stillness Speaks has a quote discussing this. “By dropping inner resistance to the noise, by allowing it to be as it is, this acceptance also takes you into that realm of inner peace that is stillness….Whenever you deeply accept this moment as it is—no matter what form it takes—you are still, you are at peace.”

For a more in-depth read on these concepts, Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle is widely available for purchase.