Eckhart Tolle says that we can be in the now all the time; we don’t need to sit cross legged on the floor, with incense burning, doing a meditation. He says that taking time during the day to look out the window for a minute or two is enough to bring us back to the moment. So too is going for a walk and looking at the sky, at the clouds, at the trees, at the birds. Absorbing yourself in the physical sensations of whatever you are doing – from washing up to walking up the stairs – will also help to stop the chatter of your mind.
These small things done regularly, can cultivate an awareness of the present moment and of the stillness and peace which exists underneath all our activity and thoughts and plans. It’s true. Every time I find myself going off on one (by ‘one’ I mean horrible thoughts, worries etc), I say ‘Be here now’ in my head. I take a deep breath and stop to take a look at where I am, I take in the thoughts and sounds around me.
I have always liked looking out windows but now my window gazing has now gone off the charts. I might put ‘Looking out of windows’ on my CV. I could be an Olympic Window Gazer. My friend Rebecca says that it’s quite disconcerting to eat with me, because I don’t say very much. I’m too busy looking out the window at squirrels or grass or nothing at all. Ha. Great company.
And when I’m not looking out windows, I’m walking marathons around the park. Forget pictures of parties and friends, my phone is full of photos of sky, clouds, trees. I have become a sky perv – every day it’s different and every day I’ll say to whoever I’m with, ‘Look at that sky, isn’t it gorgeous?’ and they’ll tilt their head up to the bank of grey clouds and then look back at me which an expression that says ‘you’re nuts.’
Oh well. I might well be.
But if you’d like to do a meditation exercise here is one of his that I really like. (If you’d like more go onto YouTube and type in ‘Eckhart Tolle meditation’ and lots come up)
IMMUNE BOOSTING MEDITATION (I do this before I got to sleep every night)
When you are unoccupied for a few minutes, and especially last thing at night before falling asleep and first thing in the morning before getting up, “flood” your body with consciousness.
Close your eyes. Lie flat on your back. Choose different parts of your body to focus your attention on briefly at first: hands, feet, arms, legs, abdomen, chest, head, and so on. Feel the life energy inside those parts as intensely as you can. Stay with each part for fifteen seconds or so. Then let your attention run through the body like a wave a few times, from feet to head and back again. This need only take a minute or so. After that, feel the inner body in its totality, as a single field of energy. Hold that feeling for a few minutes. Be intensely present during that time, present in every cell of your body. Don’t be concerned if the mind occasionally succeeds in drawing your attention out of the body and you lose yourself in some thought. As soon as you notice that this has happened, just return your attention to the inner body.
I did this one for the first time in the basement while having noodles at Itsu in Oxford Circus. (I have now become the kind of person who meditates in cafes and couldn’t give a toss how weird I look). Anyway, I was reading the chapter of the book that was describing this exercise so I just did it. With eyes closes I concentrated on my feet, then my calves, my thighs, my body, my chest, my arms, my hands, my head… I could feel a warmth in each body part as I drew attention to it… I scanned up and down my body… several times… I could feel the energy… and then a strange feeling came over me.
A weird dance mix of an old jazz track was playing and it had been annoying me. ‘Why do they always have to reinvent the wheel?’ I was thinking. Why do we need to make jazz into an Ibiza style club anthem?! Does everything have to be an Ibiza style club anthem these days? Or am I just getting old….?’
Anyway, in the meditation, the music felt different. The notes were crystal clear and pure and seemed very close to me. It was like I was bathing in the sound. The beat was a pulse going through me.
I could hear other people’s conversations too. What had sounded like backdrop chatter when I was awake, had become pin-sharp now. I could hear two men behind me talking about bicycles and two women bitching about a colleague. The conversations were loud and yet they didn’t annoy me, I didn’t get caught up in them – they were just part of the sea of sound that I was connected to…. it was such a strange and lovely feeling.
And then I opened my eyes. The music went back to being sound coming out of speakers and I had to strain to hear what the people around me were saying. So weird.
I realised that my noodles had gone cold.