The wonderful thing about awareness is that it cannot be undone. No matter what state you are in now, if at any point in your life you had a glimpse of an awakening, a moment of stillness, a feeling of deep peace beyond understanding, a moment of connection with another human being, you will always have that light of consciousness shining through the fog.
There have been moments in my life where I felt totally in tune, one with the moment, and at ease. Then at other moments I have felt off track, unsure, and out of balance. Those fluctuating states are happening in the foreground of my life, (as Tolle puts it), while the light of awareness still shines (however dimly it may seem) in the background. When things just don’t feel right, that peace you once experienced is not gone from you, and it is not shrinking. That gain in consciousness is still gaining, even when the foreground of life obscures it.
Now even when I get caught up in my thoughts and taken over by the ego I am conscious that it is temporary, a minute moment, soon to be replaced by the awareness still growing in power. Presence will always return. Rather, presence is always present, becoming brighter and brighter until you notice it.