Living in the moment is one of the sacred cows of the New Age, but is everywhere misunderstood and poorly practiced. It isn’t even a new idea, and certainly did not originate from Eckhart Tolle. My late teacher Arthur was talking about it 25 years ago, and there is a great deal of ‘New Thought’ literature from the Edwardian times which says the same.

Of course, at its heart it is true – the past is done, the future not yet set, the only effect you can really have is upon the present. But that doesn’t mean you can deny the effects of the past, for yesterday has defined today, and the choices made previously set the parameters for what is available. There is no way around this and neither should there be – life, and the past, is all to learn from.

The real problem with the Power of Now is when it translates in practice to an inability, or refusal, to think more than one move ahead. It is understandable I suppose, a giant global coping mechanism for the uncertainties of our times. But it’s the path to misery for the dominant energy in the NOW is always EMOTIONS.

Emotions are to be gloried in, for sure. They remind us that we are ALIVE! But emotions change, often very quickly, and a life governed by emotions is a life that is going nowhere except down and up and then down again. Emotions must be controlled – not suppressed – but used an input and balanced against the reasoning power of the mind. A life governed solely by emotions will only ever be a reactive one.

This where things like NLP and self hypnosis can be very useful (though when taken to extremes they create similar but opposite problems). The emotional response can, and should, be taken hold of.

The New Age – with practices like The Power of Now – is in many ways quite infantile, partly an opening up of human life, but equally a regression of society that has turned vast numbers of people into cry babies, lacking any sort of resilience in the face of the smallest of challenges. Maybe this can be dismantled if two assumptions can be tackled.

First, although emotions are connected to intuition they are not – repeat not – directly connected to the higher psychic, spiritual functions. The emotional person will be intuitive, but without training, study, discipline and hard work they will have zero control of their abilities, which will then cease to be of any use to them at all.

The second assumption to be challenged is the belief that life should be a party. It never was, and it never will be. Life is a mountain climb, a quest, a search. To harp on about the need for ‘joy, joy, endless joy’ is disrespectful to the gift that you have been given, for if life was a party then we would have stayed in the caves.