Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A New Earth: Only Twenty Pence

Months ago I was Charing Cross Road, the heart of London's book trade, and I went into Borders with GGF. Whilst she availed herself of the toilet facilities adjacent to the cafe, I picked two books at random from the shelves, sat in chair by the escalator, and started to read.

Ten minutes later, she returned grinning and refreshed, and was surprised when instead of putting the books back on display, I stuck them under my arm and began carrying them towards the checkout. I was in that mood - why not? They seemed interesting. It was a long time, I figured, since I had pulled two books randomly off any shelf; and I was not reading enough, in general, except long articles on 3G, Podcasting, mobile media. Both these books were on arcane aspects of existance, the kind of book I would consume by the bushel, once upon a time in my twenties and thirties, before the drive to become more than a passing blip on culture's radar consumed me.

I read the first book quite soon after the purchase, and I so enjoyed it, a paperback written by the "psychic barber" Glaswegian Gordon Smith, The Unbelievable Truth. It's everything you'd expect, with bells on - he tells it as he sees it, with friendly, jargon-busting summaries at the end of each chapter. Perfect for reading on the tube, on the way to a meeting. Perfect for horrifying urban intellectuals at self-conscious cocktail parties. Perfect for middle-age, when the fear of death grows closer.

The second book, a majestic hardback version of Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth, I scanned, read the chapter headings, and dipped into, but my head was so far from its themes of renewal and awareness, that I put it on my shelf. I made it prominent to remind myself that I was going to read it.

Four months later, I find myself instructed by doctors to rest so that I don't lose my voice permanently, and with the weather being good at last, I picked up the book and started to read it.

The universe has a habit of delivering things to a person capable of receiving them at the time they are needed, whether they recognise it or not. At the point I bought the book, I was full of strategies for advancement, team building and putting deals in place, Eckhart's words were just strings of unapproachable philosophy. Hilariously, I now realise, that is precisely what the book is about - the enslavement of awareness by the thinking, planning ego, subsuming the present moment to the future, denying oneself the reality that now is all we have.

Before I picked up the book to read it, I was already thinking deeply about what it was in my actions and attitudes that had brought on my sickness, not in a guilty way, but because I knew that I was out of alignment. I have been over-working rather than working hard; I had abandoned my patience. I was out of alignment.

If you identify solely with your thinking, verbal mind, probably best not waste your money on this book. If speech sometimes drops away at the sight or sound of something so beautiful that you are momentarily lost to yourself, absorbed in the experience and the moment, then buy this book and enjoy it.

This book is like a home-coming for me, reminding me that my values are not and will never be the same as this insane society of which I am but a tiny part, reminding me to care less about attainment as far it concerns other people, so that I might work more effectively from my own sense of inner purpose, and re-assuring me that awareness, despite its problems, is preferable to living a life of unconscious emotional reactive pain.

The compulsive dramas of ecopocalypse and Middle-Eastern fascism play out in the news, and like my own medical dramas, they preoccupy me. This morning, having walked GGF to the station, I was thinking to myself, as I walked across the deserted green of Highbury Fields in the 7am sunlight, that I've been focussing too much on the depressing facts of this torrid Earth. That was when I thought I'd write about Eckhart and the effect of his book upon me.

This is where I am supposed to be, I thought, as I wandered, full of reflection across the dry grass. Then I looked down and there were two ten pence coins, fallen out of someone's pocket. I laughed and picked them up. I felt the universe was rewarding me, and I was immeasurably richer.

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4 Comments:

At 4:47 PM, Blogger Indigobusiness quoth...

The truth is the most we can probably hope to be is a passing blip on culture's radar. But I suspect you'll be blippier than most of us.

 
At 4:59 PM, Blogger China Blue quoth...

What a thought provoking post.

The idea of being 'out of alignment' really chimes with where I am in my life right now, and I'm aware enough of this to notice signs telling me what I should do. Doing it is a different matter.

I suppose I should trust my instincts more, and not ignore what the 'universe' is trying to say to me, especially when I'm asking it questions! It's at that point I'll start seeing the rewards of being tuned in to my needs, and not worrying about what others would do.

Thanks for sharing that!

 
At 6:22 AM, Blogger Indigobusiness quoth...

China Blue- You seem to be onto something, I reckon. Perhaps your instincts are just struggling to sync with what the 'universe' is trying to tell you?

I suspect, when you balance this harmony, your needs will discover means, and your worries will turn themselves inside out.

Thanks for the notion. And you're right, it is a provocative post.

 
At 11:47 PM, Blogger dweller quoth...

Thanks,
that was a great post.
Definitely thought provoking.
Sometimes you need to time
to read, reflect and then non-verbally reassure.
The body responds well to allignment/balanced magnetism/direction. Writing that helps to settle the thoughts into a nurturing mode.
Quality time like that
hides from view and needs to be conciously found and spent. Looks like you're doing just that.

ps Ten pees are like gold sovereigns when compared with the crap that usually gathers between the blades of Highbury Fields.

 

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