I’m in a pub with Middle Child watching Eldest play with a bandmate. Classics and favourites, they’re powering through a set of covers as their friend sitting beside me explains The Power of Now - A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Maybe if I’d picked up this tome at the airport when I bought a book for my pre-Covid booked week in Spain with Youngest I’d be further forward on my ‘personal growth’ journey but I went for the blissful read that is Where the Crawdads Sing instead. Youngest pounced on How to Kill Your Family.
I’m enjoying Now right now I tell the Eckhart Tolle expert, feel good tunes from Bowie to Gallagher to Cash, but I want to hear more. Without wanting to be a fun sponge, what about the nows you’re not enjoying? Who wants to live in a moment which even with the most positive spin you can muster is still you at the end of a long queue in the supermarket buying a week’s worth of cat food and wondering how you’re going to afford to fix the boiler?
That’s when I tune into the recent memories I fixed in my head, swimming in a warm sea with Youngest, digging into paella with pals as the blistering sun sets, lilo-race competitions in a pool, being driven along twisty turny roads to white stone villages perched on mountain tops listening to a millennial’s playlist with a surprising yet pleasingly nostalgic emphasis on Fleetwood Mac.
But that’s the point, he explains. I WOULD be enjoying every Now because I wouldn’t be seeing it in terms of the past and the future. It’s our minds that interfere and spoil it.
Eldest, finished his set, joins the discussion. “The Power of Now,” he says, “Yeah, the ideas and arguments are sound, but it relies on a belief in God or a higher being.”
Maybe that’s me out then. Back to finishing Where The Crawdads Sing, the paperback smeared with suncream and shrivelled and watermarked from when the spine melted in the heat and the pages escaped and blew into the pool and had to be fished out and dried on an olive tree, each one now imprinted with a happy memory.
But I’m not finished with The Power of Now. I know future planning is for the unenlightened, but I’ll stick it on my ‘to do’ list.