Yesterday I was walking to the station listening to Eckhart Tolle's 'The Power of Now' when I was hit by the full force of the 'now' in motorbike form! I was very lucky to escape with just bruises and a broken phone. Yet it was as if Eckhart Tolle himself had created an interactive audio book experience for me to fully understand his point: "awareness is the greatest agent for change."
Moments like these make me realise how much of my life is spent sleepwalking. We miss life's little details because we are too engrossed in the chatter of the mind. Instead of thanking the old man for holding the door or returning the smile of the coffee shop girl, I am consumed by an internal monologue of past and future circumstances that take me away from the present moment.
Never am I more absent than on the commute. Last Wednesday, Headphones plugged in and browsing through the Facebook feed I failed to realise I was sitting next to an old work colleague for a whole 30 minute train ride. A missed opportunity for a catch up that I know would have been far more enjoyable than looking through a Facebook 'friend's' holiday photos. As the train pulled into my station- and I am ashamed to say I was feeling incredibly envious, and sorry myself by this point- I suddenly noticed my old colleague and with that, all my worries disappeared. For the duration of our short-lived encounter, my focus shifted away from past and future worries and back into the now- which was full of genuine warmth and sincere promises to grab a coffee soon. Hoping to extend this momentary relief from worry I decided to stay 'present' for my whole walk home. Which was particularly hard because it was the first September evening where I sensed summer was well and truly over. It was drizzling, cold and dark by 7...why would I want to stay present in this??
"Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it."
Even without the distraction of music, The Metro or friends I still found it incredibly hard to stay present. My mind was constantly wandering off and making tomorrow's to do list. This is why savasana or corpse pose (the lying down, sleepy-bit at the end of a yoga class) is considered to be one of the hardest poses of yoga because it takes real courage to surrender your conscious to the present moment. To just accept what is and to just 'be' in the now.
"Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on."
But I am so glad I persisted with this idea of being 'present in the present' on that rainy Wednesday evening. It was like experiencing a windy walk through the eyes of a child; I wasn't quite splashing in puddles, but it was like seeing September for the first time.
I could go into the details and attempt to describe what I uncovered in the now. But I'd much rather you experience it for yourself (and spare you from a self-indulgent soliloquy!) Turn up your senses to HD and start experiencing London as if for the first time, because whatever your worries "the past has no power over the present moment" (Eckhart Tolle).
The Power of Now is available in audio book and (ordinary) book form: