Live in the now, be in the now. All we have is this moment. The past is gone and the future has yet to happen.
Eckhart Tolle, that amazing spiritual teacher, has based his whole output on this principle. Of course it is not new, the idea of living in the now, perhaps paradoxically, is thousands of years old. If you want to know why you should do this, what it means, how to do it and the benefits of doing it, Tolle is your man. And maybe reading this may convince you just that little bit more.
I could waste some of your valuable time with an analysis of why my personal preoccupation has always been the future. If you spend your time with those whose attention is on the past it makes for very interesting dynamics. And I’m sure dear reader, the number of times you have heard the expression “I’m living in the moment” from people in the media and no doubt family and friends is many. But are they or is it just a cliche?
Having been on a bit of a roll today, here is another exploration for you. Charisma. Who is charismatic? Hitler? Sean Connery? Theresa May? Jo Brand? Rod Stewart? Sorry “guys” I don’t do 20 year olds. And-thank you Kelwyn-are charismatic people necessarily inspirational? The answer must be a clear no. And are inspirational people charismatic? Same answer. However there are people who possess both traits. Using an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) framework people who are charismatic are congruent. What does this mean?
A shorthand way to describe this is walking your talk. What you say and do are the same. I would go further. If the total essence of a person, their beliefs and values and their consistent behaviour are aligned with how they express who they are, they are charismatic. And we know that this can be faked. Cue fact checkers. And can we have fact checkers checking the fact checkers too? Charismatic con artists abound. But we also know people, naturally especially women, who are described in the media as beautiful. In my worldview, their physical features may conform to a generally accepted construct of beauty, but if they are liars, cheats and are deceitful then I would use another word.
How do we explain-pause for 10 seconds of despair-“reality TV stars” who are labelled charismatic? Well, think about the lengths people will go to to appear on television. If a few million people watch you, and you may have had a talent bypass, then the energy of that attention makes the person more “solid”. Being in the “public eye” offers the opportunity to be even more solidified, and even more “attractive.”
And Hitler? The personification of evil? Wasn’t his personality, his very essence, transparent? He walked his talk, his goal was a thousand year Reich, isn’t that what his followers bought into? What about the selling of “bad boys” (no not Hitler, there are dozens of contemporary examples) to girls and women. Bad boys are attractive. Are (all) you women wired that way or is it media conditioning?
And what is the setting for all this? Is the world a beautiful place? Yes it is. Are we all angels in disguise? We are. Are we all connected in so many ways I would run out of space to describe them? Indeed we are. Does the mainstream media promote and reinforce these truths?
Who or what inspires you? Someone whose words motivate you to believe in yourself more, someone who triumphs against all the odds? Someone who is a wonderful role model? Someone who helps you become the best you can be? A glorious sunset, a magnificent lion in his/her natural habitat, a huge ocean wave, a majestic tree, a song, a piece of music?
Over the years of running training courses in many different places in many different countries I have been told I have been both charismatic and inspirational. Both these qualities, you may not agree that I have them, have been on the back-burner for some years now. And yet only yesterday I received an email from someone who has both credibility and insight telling me I am an inspirational person. I resemble that remark. It inspires me to return to my public figure persona. Thank you Mathew.
Using my definition of charisma (above) lately my inner world had been compromised. I’m slowly, but surely getting it back.
Is all this egotistical nonsense? Well if you decide to go and see someone who has the potential to inspire you and enhance your life, what kind of person, in what kind of “state” do you seek? If you buy into the mainstream view of charisma, then it is probably an alpha male, dressed like Daniel Craig, bursting with smouldering or actual “sex appeal”. My faithful two readers (are you still above ground?) who have read all my posts will tell you that I have something of a blind spot when it comes to sex appeal.
Cutting through the crap, we tend not to want to spend our time with people who don’t walk their talk, who are deceitful, who are selling an unpalatable message and who are incongruent. We are attracted to those who accept, respect and love themselves. The truly charismatic person accepts, respects and loves their audience. Amazing really.
(that last comment is called irony. Forgive me)
And guess what? A truly charismatic performance is epitomised by living in the moment. Yes the speaker may diminish the significance of your past pain and traumas and encourage you to let them go. S/he may offer you a truly incandescent vision of the future, but they hold you, with them, in the moment.
You may be thinking, and it’s good to think, you need now to get “tooled up” congruently, and live in the moment. Yes, how can I not exhort you to do both? But do you deserve the best from this life?
However the person who truly lives in the moment may be there not because they have read and followed Eckhart Tolle but because their lives have followed a particular path. They may wish to forget aspects of their past. Their future, should they dwell on it for too long, may be unconvincing, or the past leaks into it and fills them with dread of history repeating itself. Who reading this has not got many past events that no longer serve them, and who enters the future with total conviction and certainty?
Spending time with those who authentically live in the moment can almost be addictive. For those of us whose attention is elsewhere when we communicate it is the non-digital equivalent of talking to someone whilst continually monitoring your mobile phone. If I relate to you from my past, I will most likely be making comparisons. If I relate to you from my imagined future, I will be creating potentially unrealistic and unrealised expectations. If I share the moment with you I am with you and you are with me. I am with no one other than you.
If you haven’t experienced this, try it. It used to be called being a good listener or “active” listening. Interestingly my first port of call in personal development, nearly 4 decades ago (as part of my counselling training) was to learn to listen. I still do it, but not as consistently as I would like.
Isn’t the world a fabulous place when we find people who have the qualities we admire and can unlock the same dormant qualities in ourselves? The usual channels. Watching, reading, listening, possibly sharing the same space.
That’s enough for now. Thank you for reading this, you are richly blessed, and I am infinitely more solid from your attention. I await the call from Channel 4.
Jack Stewart, Sunday, 01 December 2019.