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Monday, July 2, 2012

Be Here Now

So. I was walking along the lake, smelling the lake, and looking at the tunnel the trees made over the road, and I was perfectly happy.

It was a “Be here now” moment.

Recently I was with someone who pulled out her phone and started fiddling with it. I looked her in the eye and said, “Be here now.”

She didn’t know what I was talking about.

I was in college when the book Be Here Now came out. Someone handed it to me and said, “Pass this book on when you finish it. Sign your name inside the cover and ask the next reader to do the same.”

I had never seen a book like this. It was big and fat, with a purple cover featuring a mandala and the words “Remember” and “Be Here Now.” The brown crinkly book pages reminded me of paper bags. On those crinkly pages were words in all kinds of typefaces and sizes, plus illustrations.

I read a lot of the book, but I never read every word. It didn’t take long to get the principle of the thing: be here now.

I passed the book along, but I never forgot it. Maybe twenty years later, I purchased the book again and gave it to a friend.

I don’t think the book has ever been out of print. It was written by Richard Alpert, who changed his name to Baba Ram Dass, or simply Ram Dass. For Ram Dass, the book was a religious manifesto of sorts.

For me, it was simply a recipe for happiness. Be here now. I’ve tried my whole life to do that. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. But when I succeed, I feel happy.

People want to be happy, but they keep trying to “multitask.” The truth is that no one can multitask well. Something always gets shortchanged, most likely serenity.

I vote for serenity. Be here now.

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