I agree with Tolle, that the past is gone, the future doesn’t exist, and all we have is now. But I want to cherish beautiful memories as a way of managing my thoughts. For example, if I am going through a painful time, it is useful for me to reflect back on a moment of beauty, such as a peaceful walk in the forest with someone I love. This enables me to steer my thoughts in a more positive and healing direction in the present moment.
Also, reflecting on, without obsessing about, some red flag behaviors and situations in our past can help us make decisions that will bring peace and joy into our lives. Therefore, the trick is to preserve these important memories without being terrorized by them every time they come up.
Daydreaming and reveries play an important role in our creative lives. Spartan insistence on paying close attention to every moment of the Now may not be a light and breezy as it seems as an ideal. For example, it is great to be mindful while we are performing routine and repetitive tasks but it can also be fun to think back on an amusing time or something funny from the past, while we are scrubbing the toilet.
Therefore, perhaps the element of exuberant fun may be lacking in Tolle because of his own painful memories that exert an unrecognized influence on his thinking. The future also can be very pleasing to think about when we remove the attendant anxiety about the unknown. So I am not ready to completely throw out the past and future as useless for complete happiness.