Echart Tolle is all about living in the present and listening to the senses. I hear him speaking on the John Murray show before rushing out (naturally..) to get my hair cut. Although I am power-walking with intent, I pretend that I am hanging out sensualy without purpose. I take note of the dark and crunchy leaves on Mountpleasant Avenue and mould the relative smoothness of its concrete path into an aesthetic pleasure. Before I can wait for the little green man, the traffic at Portobello has glided to a sublime appreciation of life’s industrial hum.
I arrive in Stephen’s Green breathless but full of life. Unfortunately I have no cash, so after a mindful trip to the ATM machine I arrive a respectable seven minutes late for my appointment. As usual, I am getting my hair cut by trainees. You can tell that they are trainees because they listen carefully to what you tell them you want done and before they begin, they ask you if your scalp ever gets itchy, because they have been told to ask this question. As I am getting a bib wrapped around me like a baby, I watch the group of ten girls who are taking a class in the corner of the salon. They are creating elaborate ballroom styles on uniformly attractive mannequin heads. Agreeing with Michelle, my stylist that I am a ‘medium-dark blend’ of a person with a penchant for autumn colours, I begin to flick through Marie Claire and alight at the few pages which boast sustained passages of prose. I stumble across three articles on the same theme: living in the moment. It seems to be the mantra of my day. One is written by a woman who had a lesbian relationship with her best friend after (and later while) being in a relationship with the father of her child. The next is a story of contented single life by a woman in her late 30s, who now befriends rather than resents her many exes. The last tells of the regrets of an Oxford graduate for feeling intimidated by her toff-ee friends for three years instead of quitting after one and joining Smash Hit magazine as had always been her dream.
I like self-help. I think the idea of ‘living in the moment’ is fascinating. The scientist in me wants to find out:can it be? Is Echart Tolle really motivated to have a chat with Dawkins, Gaybo and Murray by an appreciation of the quotidian or is he, like most of us, drawn to the notion of acclaim? It’s difficult to ‘live in the moment’ when you are a (nearly totally) unemployed graduate still living at home. After yet another job rejection yesterday morning, I think I may be ready to disregard the future though. The past; dull and continuous might just have to come second to the present, which (while tense) is reassuringly habitual. I am not getting started on the conditional, but Echart Tolle would be proud.
Me shorn.. for the moment