I shall tell you now and for no extra charge that “living in the present” seems to be the key component across every scripture, self-help book, and religious group I’ve encountered; to harmonize with life in each moment, not to make happiness contingent on any prospective condition.
Not to be tormented by the past but to live in the reality of “now,” all else being a mental construction.
Osho, Eckhart Tolle, Jesus, Buddha, Oprah—anyone who’s anyone who’s ever grown a beard or shaved their head or dropped out and looked back at the material world with a sage shake of the head, a knowing wag of the finger, and a beatific smile—are all saying “Snap out of it”; liberate yourself from the tyranny of egoic introspection.
This is the seam of the self that consumerism can continually mine, the unrelenting inner voice that wants and fears, that attaches and rejects. The people in robes and beards want us to learn to live beyond it, to calmly watch the chattering ego like clouds moving across a perfect sky, to identify with the stillness that is aware of the voice, that hears the voice, not the voice itself.
Well, that’s easy for them to say, all relaxed in their flowing robes, like giant, hairy babies, it’s extremely difficult, especially when that voice has such omnipresent external allies (corporations, war mongers, organized rewritten religion, destabilizing family and friends – Cribb insert) to rely on, whilst the very idea of a spiritual life has been marginalized and maligned.
Perhaps this state needn’t be the product of strenuous esotericism; it’s possible that calm presence of mind is our natural state and our jittery materialism the result of constant indoctrination. Much as I love spirituality to be served up properly branded in a turban, dressed in curtains, the accoutrements are surely an esthetic, not a prerequisite.
Russell Brand 2014