“Tomorrow soon turns into yesterday. Everything we see just fades away. There’s sky and sand where mountains used to be. Time drops by a second to eternity.”
– “Dancin’ In The Ruins” performed by Blue Oyster Cult and written by Larry Gottlieb & Jason Scanlon
Some days are great to shake you out of your hypnosis. I got curious about how many days I’ve actually lived so far. Hopped online and here’s the breakdown:
I’ve lived 31 years, which can be converted into one of these units:
- 1617 weeks and 3 days
- 11.322 days
- 271.728 hours
- 16.303.680 minutes
- 78.220.800 seconds
I think I heard about Eckhart Tolle sometime in ’07 or ’08 and a while back my friend recommended me to read the books. So, I thought about trying to get into it again.
I was familiar with the principles since I’d read a lot of books on meditation, spirituality & religion. But honestly? I got really, really bored by his voice and writing. Guess the timing wasn’t right.
Now I more or less forced myself into it. I listened to a series with him and Oprah where I got to hear a more animated side of him. So it worked kind of as a gateway drug.
After finishing the series I had a dream. It was so vivid.
I was in a hangar at a harbor, hiding. I was looking down on a courtyard where German soldiers were rounding up people, standing them close to each other. Next thing I knew they started firing into the group.
What I understood was that they knew they had to conserve ammunition. They’d heard about the advancement of the Allied forces who would arrive any minute.
I watched as they arrived. The American forces came first and, well, did their job.
Time sped up and slowed down in between the sequences. There were some “action sequences” where I was taken into other points of view where I saw and felt things from both the victors and the losers side.
When I woke up I thought: “What the hell was that all about?”
After breakfast the thought occurred to me to look up if anything significant had happened on the 27th of June during WW2.
A googling later I saw this entry: “1944 – Cherbourg, France liberated by Allies”
I looked it up and the description of events matched well with my dreams. When I watched a clip on YouTube I got the chills. I saw the courtyard and hangar in which I was hiding.
Now, regardless if it was all a coincidence, serendipity or an old memory unlocking it was important for me. Why? Because it prepared me to see things in another light.
While listening to the audiobook version of “A New Earth” I understood on a deeper level what Tolle and other spiritual teacher were talking about. Not just by pure logic but also with empathy.
Thanks to the experiences in my dream where I could look and feel the situation through different eyes it felt like there was more understanding. Both of how cruel we can be and at the same time the affection we can show for our fellow beings.
While doing some research for my comic book character “Lady Six” I watched the movie “Apocalypto”. In it there was a scene that made me see another lesson we could learn from it. How to be truly present.
In the scene an old man is telling the story about how nature gave mankind its traits. The lead male has apparently zoned out and is somewhere else in his mind once the old man finishes his tale.
His pregnant partner looks at him and sees this. She says a few well chosen words: “Come back to me.”
After this I had a few moments where I thought back to when I used to go on fishing and trips into nature with friends.
I remember being a lot calmer. In touch with myself and the world around me.
Then came a period of intense doing, creation and learning. It was something I enjoyed and don’t regret doing for a second.
There was such a heavy emphasis on “Right, let’s get to work. We’ve got to do this, this and this. These are the deadlines, here are the specifics.”
Absolutely nothing wrong with that. It was a great time. But it became too much of one thing and too little of another. The one thing I wish I would’ve paid attention to more was the moment and being in touch.
I came to realize that for me taking these trips and being in nature took me out of an environment where I constantly lost myself. When I got out I felt like I found myself again. It was a place free from distractions and simply being.
Sure, we had a “purpose” with it but we weren’t worrying about the outcome. It was simply a matter of experiencing whatever happened.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t make plans or reflect on things. You definitely should, otherwise things that need to get done probably won’t. Just make sure you set aside time for doing. Then, make time for that other thing.
Here’s my theory on why cute animal pictures & videos are so popular.
We enjoy connecting with other living things that are simply being. They accept the situation as it is and do what needs to be done in that moment. The last thing on their mind is: “I wonder what Susan really thinks of me?”
I grew up around cats and dogs, they’re a great way of reminding you of being present. While you might be sitting at the computer trying to think of the perfect lyrics to a song, the cat saunters in, jumps up in your lap and with a look says: “Come back to me.”
You smile and pet the cat. The worries, fears and judgements fall and away. For a brief moment, this is all there is. You and the cat. Now, your mind might snap back quickly with a “Right, I was composing this masterpiece!” but the cat looks up at you, raises its paw and meows. Basically saying: “Hey! You’re not finished with this moment yet.”
So, you go back into the now. When the moment has passed the next one comes and now you’re in the right space to create.
Of all the 78.220.800 seconds (or 260.736.000 moments) in my life I’ve been truly present for only a few. Since taking up meditation in my 20’s I’ve experienced a lot more than I would’ve otherwise.
I’ve also realized that while a change of scenery or taking yourself out of a certain environment and into a more conducive one is good it isn’t always necessary.
Take a few of those moments today and really experience yourself. Free from judgement, fear and worry.
Maybe you don’t need to use words or put a label on it. Just experiencing it is enough.
Today, June 30th 2015 at 23:59:60, we’ll get to experience a leap second. Will you be present for it?
I wish you a beautiful & ₢eative day.