Speaking with Oprah for an episode of "Super Soul Sunday," Tolle dissects the various aspects of stress, emphasizing that stress is caused by wanting something to be the way that it isn't. This prompts Oprah to ask a critical question.
"How do you know if you're supposed to accept [a stressful situation] or try to bring about change?" she wonders.
Tolle answers that we must determine if change is even possible -- but before doing that, we must first accept the present exactly as it stands. "The basis for effective action is to come into an inner alignment with the 'is-ness' of this moment: This is how it is," he says.
As an example, Tolle says to imagine that you are stuck in the mud. You may be angry about being stuck, or, he says, you may complain and adopt a victim mentality. "You become a victim in your own mind. 'Why is this happening to me, always to me?'" he says. "Just look at the situation without labeling it: 'This is where I am right now.'"
This acknowledgement, Tolle says, then gives way to enlightenment. "A greater intelligence arises because you become present with what is," he explains.
Oprah presents another angle to help summarize Tolle's point. "If you're trying to resolve being stuck in the mud from that point of anger, you will always remain stuck in the mud," she says. "I got that."