Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Living In the Now

I wrote yesterday about an excerpt from "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle, which I read about on Tree Lover's blog.

I was so inspired by this small portion of the book that I went directly to the library after work and borrowed a copy of it. My daughter is taking advanced gymnastics this summer, and during her two-hour practice I cracked the book open and started to read.

Wow.

During the two hours I had to keep stopping and taking breaks because there was so much to comprehend from this book. Then, once I had absorbed it, I'd read some more.

While this book is not focused on eating disorders or intuitive eating, so much of it applies and speaks so clearly to me about these issues.

This afternoon I sat down again with the book and took notes, because I really wanted to make sure I remembered these things. The main thrust of this book is to get people to start living a conscious life, living in the here and now. Most of us are so caught up in the past or planning for the future that we miss out on the only thing that is truly real -- our present. This constant distraction from the Now, as he puts it, is what gives us this "continuous low level of unease, discontent, boredom or nervousness," because we're constantly living in memory or anticipation (past & future). In our search to get rid of this unease many of us turn to alcohol, drugs, food, shopping, etc.:

"When this happens, an activity that might be very enjoyable if used in moderation becomes imbued with a compulsive or addictive quality, and all that is ever achieved through it is extremely short-lived symptom relief."

This makes so much sense to me. If I live in the past, I'm regretting the doughnut I ate, the exercise I skipped, the fat photo of me from 1997. If I'm living in the future, I'm worried about what the scale will say tomorrow, or I'm thinking I can't be happy until I'm less than 200 pounds. More crucially, if I'm not creating the tension and unease, I'm not looking to food to make it better. At this precise moment in time I have no problems, so there's no need to binge. Brilliant.

I have so many other things to write about, too, but I've got company coming and a daughter to put to bed. Let's just say I have lots of blog fodder for the next several days!

3 comments:

LMM said...

Thank you. I can really grasp what an amazing feeling life would have if I focused on the now rather then the woulds, coulds, shoulds and wills...
I will work on this.

Jen said...

How ironic -- I just read this post and then check my e-mail. Each morning, I receive a "Storypeople" story in my mailbox. (For those of you not familiar with Brian Andreas' work, you can check his "stories" out at www.storypeople.com.) So my story for today reads as follows ...

"missing a perfectly good day because she's sure that she should be anxious about something."

Jain said...

Boy oh boy Andrea, are you really finding some interesting and helpful stuff! Thanks for sharing and giving me more food for thought :)

Katcha