Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Hey now...

I've been busy the past few days (though it's probably more accurate to say that while I may not have been present here, I've been trying to be constantly present, so 'the past few days' may be irrelevant in the vast space/time continuum-thingy) reading 'The Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle, a current bestseller that advocates spiritual enlightenment through the act of living permanently and precisely in the moment. This one. And this one. And so on. And on. And on.
Tolle’s bestselling self-helper has set the enlightenment biz abuzz with its powerful message of moving out of the traditional mindset that keeps us trapped living either in comparison of the past, or in anticipation of the future; he reminds us that ‘now’ is all we really have, and promises that once we can master the concept, we will be set free… of something or other…I haven’t actually got to that bit quite yet.
(Personally, I always preferred the past – rendered twinklingly aglow with rose-tinted memories – though to be perfectly honest, I have to admit I also spend a part of each day leap-frogging into expectations of what tomorrow will bring; clearly I’m the perfect subject for this lesson – a hummingbird-brained past and future thinker, unable to spend more than a moment or two in contemplation of ‘the moment’ itself.)
Later: exhaustion from trying to wrap my mind around the notion of my brain bouncing from past to future and back again, like a mental version of Pong set at high speed, necessitated a quick nap to snap back into the now. Or wherever (or whenever) the heck it is I am now.
That’s the problem with the notion of ‘now’ – trying to live in it feels more like patting my head and rubbing my tummy (while standing on one leg and singing ‘The Maple Leaf Forever’ in pig-latin) than an actual, real-live possibility. Far from being happy that the library finally called to let me know the book was in – and waiting more than three months to move up on the list didn’t exactly catapult ‘now’ into my life with lightning speed – I’m feeling distinctly cranky, wondering how many impossible-to-replicate ‘now’ moments I’ve wasted trying to get there (here?) in the first place.
It’s beginning to sink in - it’s just not me.
Me, the person who can take up to a month to assemble a stamp, an envelope and the necessary five minutes it takes to transfer the combination safely into a mailbox.
Me, the dishwasher half-full sort of girl – which is to say that I see life as not filled up enough yet to add detergent and switch on.
Me – who will doggedly go through every last pair of panties (including the waist-high 100% cotton ones with the snapped and snarled elastic, famed for their ability to conjure up blood-curdling visions of half-naked grannies) before even considering conjuring up the Cheer, (not to mention the ‘cheer’) the loonies, and the energy required to begin the laundry cycle once more.
Honestly? I have this recurring nightmare where I run out of everything on one hellacious day and explode in a burst of flaming coincidence. It’s just like those last few scenes in the movie Wargames, as the computer figures out the millions of possible permutations of the secret code and comes within seconds of destroying the world. My countdown would go something like: … soap… stamps… mayonnaise… shampoo… dog biscuits… bacon… underpants – KABOOM!
I’m beginning to hate Eckhart Tolle. I look at his simpering little author photograph and remember how much I distrust men who sport beards without moustaches. (It’s just plain WRONG!) I think about what I would call him if I got to know him better, and every variation of his name sounds like a cat hacking up a hairball. I read his autobiographical sketch and realize I am contemplating following the advice of a man who reports that when he achieved spiritual enlightenment, he: “…dwelt in states of such indescribable bliss and sacredness that even the original experience [of achieving enlightenment] pales in comparison… for a while I was left with nothing on the physical plane. I had no relationships, no job, no home, no socially defined identity. I spent almost two years sitting on park benches in a state of the most intense joy.”
And so, my days as student and living-in-the-now adherent screech to an abrupt halt.
There is no time in the past or in the future, when no matter the heights of blissed outed-ness, the vision of me and the dog living on a park bench sparks any interest whatsoever.
We may be timeless procrastinators - she will do anything to avoid a bath or have her toenails clipped; I will do anything to sidestep ironing – but together we represent a harmonious whole.
Who cares if our underwear elastic has lost its snap? Our fridge is empty of lowfat mayonnaise? Our cupboards are barren of dog biscuits?
It seems there are still some emergencies that require 'in the moment' action...
I’m presently going to the pet store NOW.

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