These 3 words: Be Here Now were some of the most powerful and inspirational that I heard in my early recovery. There were a lot of similar expressions, like Keep your head where your feet are, Take it one day at a time, Live in the now, Wherever you go – there you are, Just for today, and on and on.
As much as I like meaningful words, I just was never much of a sloganeer. These sayings were fine for bumper stickers, but I always interpreted them as “AA sales pitches.” Like “keep Coming Back, It Works If You Work It.” I always hated that one because it assumes that if I go back out, if I relapse, it is because I was a failure and I failed at working this miraculous AA program. I didn’t “work it good enough.” So, these sayings and slogans may have been well-meaning, but to me, they represented an ideal to which I often fell short. They set me up for failure.
And, the fonts and typesetting were horrible. They looked like they were right out of a Byzantine monastery. I couldn’t relate intellectually, spiritually, or artistically.
I was at an old book store at a dusty market in Fergus, Ontario. The stall had all sorts of metaphysical and new age titles. And, it had an interesting thick book with a beautifully designed cover illustration. It was an intricate line drawing, white on a purple background. The title was
Wow, that’s it, I thought! That’s as simple as recovery can get Be Here Now…
I opened the book and found dozens of short essays illustrated by someone who was obviously familiar with a vast amount of hallucinogens. The author was Ram Dass, who I later discovered was a former Harvard professor, a friend and fellow traveller with the more famous Timothy Leary. Dass’ former name was Richard Alpert, until he undertook several spiritual quest to India and the east, and he transformed from a tweed wearing, pipe smoking Harvard intellectual, to a simple follower of truth. This book sung to me. I had to buy it. I think, after the US to Canadian exchange rate was factored in, it costs me $7.95 That’s Cheap for a new philosophy on life.
This book made a huge difference in my life. It helped me understand and become comfortable with my own truth. And here’s the truth I learned. I’ll tell you now, in case you can’t find your own:
We can control nothing outside of the two square feet we each occupy on this planet.
Put your hands on top of your head and look down at your feet. There you are. No bumper sticker or poorly designed slogan required.
You can click on any of the “Be Here Now” links in this post and order your copy of Ram Dass’ book.
Well, we are coming down to the wire for the 2016 general election. I’ve not discussed my political leanings and beliefs very much, with good reason. It seems that most people are so emotionally invested in their candidate, party, or position, that it makes for a stressful conversation. And, at this point in my life, in my sobriety, I choose to make choices that don’t complicate or add stress to my life. Besides, some of these very politically motivated friends are just that, my friends. So, I know who I’m voting for, they know who they are voting for, and even if our preferences are world’s apart, at least we can remain friends. I’d like that.