The Power of Nowduring my daily commute. The gist of it is that you should live life completely in the present. Be totally aware of your surroundings, as well as your inner being. Live your life as a meditation. Rather than meditate daily, be in that constant state of awareness as much as you possibly can. Think as little as possible. Just be.
He tells this story in it about these Zen masters who sneak up on their students and beat them with a stick while the students are meditating. If they are really in a state of awareness, the teacher cannot sneak up on the student, and they turn around and catch the teacher with a big stick, and the student doesn't get hit. However, if the student's thoughts have started to wander, the student gets hit with a stick.
When he told this story in his mesmerizingly soothing voice, I thought, Wow, Eckhart Tolle, that's pretty hard core!
I went to work and attempted to be present. Present. Be here now. Breathe. In. Out. In. Out.
I planned my lesson for the day.
I rushed into the strange half kitchen across the hall to make coffee. A co-worker whom I greatly admire was there, warming up an old cup of coffee. I was making fresh coffee. We chatted. I opened the cabinet to get a coffee filter. It was a much larger cabinet than my own cabinets at home. When I shut it, BANG! I hit myself in the head. I mean, really hard. I was crouching over in pain and the co-worker was wondering if she should call a doctor. I was hurting.
"Are you okay are you okay?" she yelled at me as I reeled over in pain.
"Yeah, no, I'm fine, really," I said. But what I was thinking, what I knew was, Eckhart Tolle had visited me from whatever heavenly sphere he inhibits (Canada) and Eckhart Tolle, bless his heart, had WACKED ME IN THE HEAD BECAUSE I WASN'T FOLLOWING HIS ADVICE AND I WASN'T BEING PRESENT IN THE MOMENT!
And now when I put on sunglasses or wash my hair or try to sleep on my right side or scratch beside my eye, I have an upleasant reminder of just how unpresent I am while I make coffee at work, in the form of my head really hurting.
I guess I could go to my doctor, Dr. V, and complain about the ugly painful welt on the side of my head, but Dr. V would just say, "put some *hydrocort on it and stop hitting yourself in the head with cabinets!" so I won't go.
Am I more present whilst in pain? Yeah, actually, I am, so I suppose it is an effective practice, this being wacked in the head and then being unpleasantly reminded of it via pain at random moments.
* This is an inside joke between me and BAH, which is kind of stupid to have an inside joke with someone on a blog, so this is the joke: When we first started seeing Dr. V, the first three times, he said [no matter what the ailment] to "put some hydrocort on it". This advice was either not effective or made symptoms worse. A friend of mine was alarmed and thought we should change doctors, especially since we had a newborn baby, Little Z, to whom he had caused some minor suffering by inexplicably prescribing hydrocortisone. I thought we should give him a chance. He was a new doctor, after all. Just out of college. We gave him a chance, and he has turned out to be a lot better, but now we still expect him to prescribe hydrocortisone, no matter what the ailment. Cancer? Hydrocort. Concussion? Hydrocort. Typhoid fever? Hydrocort and call me in the morning.