1. Press the play button.
2. Take a breath.
3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 as needed.
This is a thought provoking article, but the main argument is a straw man. Tolle doesn't say you should gloss over the past. He simply urges people to deal with the past as it arises in the present, or "in the now." Negativity in the past, if it was dealt with effectively then (if it wasn't grieved and processed at the time), will inevitably resurface as what Tolle calls a "pain-body" attack. This occurs in the present and can be dissolved through awareness, allowing it to be, while focusing on the uncomfortable sensation that it causes (emotion, Tolle says, is the body's reaction to a thought). Inevitably, too, this process brings to mind the unconscious thoughts that are causing the pain and the sufferer awakens a bit further.
You are right when you point out that Tolle's philosophy is more sophisticated that some of his followers realize. But it is not a sophistication of the head, it is that of the heart. Tolle says we learn from the past but we should not live in it, nor the future.
[D]eal with the past on the level of the present. The more attention you give to the past the more you energize it, and the more likely you are to make a "self" out of it. Don't misunderstand: Attention is essential, but not to the past as past. Give attention to the present; give attention to your behavior, to your reactions, moods, thoughts, emotions, fears, and desires as they occur in the present. There's the past in you. If you can be present enough to watch all those things, not critically or analytically but nonjudgmentally, then you are dealing with the past and dissolving it through the power of your presence. You cannot find yourself by going into the past. You find yourself by coming into the present.Depression results when we give up contact with reality, which can only be realized in the present moment, for the mental construct called the past. The past is a present moment that doesn't exist anymore, but people often continue to live in it for long stretches at a time as if it did continue to exist.
Ok, I'll go first. My drama has been to allow my pain-body to take over my thinking in the context of a love relationship. No...