Recently, Bob had an early morning meeting with a very important client. He had spent several days preparing for the meeting and was feeling very proud of himself. His sense of pride stemmed from the fact that every time he found himself feeling anxious about the magnitude of the meeting (after all, the president of the company and all of the senior managers would be in attendance), Bob reminded himself to stay in the present moment and focus on the meeting preparation.
You see, Bob had recently discovered Eckhart Tolle and he fully embraced Eckhart’s philosophy of living in the now. Bob had been practicing it diligently (focusing on his breath, taking time to sit quietly and observe, simply looking upwards and becoming totally engrossed on the task at hand) and he found that it had made an enormous difference in his feelings about the meeting. He was more confident and less nervous.
Now, normally Bob would have had a bowel movement before leaving the house, but for some inexplicable reason, on this morning he didn’t, And quite frankly, he hadn’t even thought about it, so focused was he on staying present.
And so he pulled out of the driveway brimming with confidence, ready to fully enjoy the short drive to his client’s office.
About halfway there he felt the first rumbling. “That’s interesting,” Bob thought. “I’m gonna have to go to the loo when I get there.” Bob was fine. Nothing out of the normal.
But then another kilometer down the road the rumbling suddenly transformed into a raging torrent … and that’s when Bob panicked … and that’s when the battle of wills started.
“”This can’t be happening!” Bob screamed. (he was envisioning shitting his pants, having to turn around and drive back home, clean himself up and change his suit. Surely he would be late. The client would be upset. His boss would be angry. Then there was the issue of having to take his shit-stained clothes to the dry cleaners … not to mention dealing with the front seat of his car).
So he squeezed his butt cheeks as tight as he could until the torrent passed, while doing his best to quell the aforementioned thoughts and concentrate on staying in the now.
Then he saw the traffic light (momentary panic)!
Thankfully, it was green. “Phew!” Bob said out loud thinking that he would be okay.
Then it went yellow!
“No … no … NO! DON’T GO RED!”
Bob pressed the accelerator to the floor and sped through the intersection, just before the light turned red. Looking in all directions, Bob was relieved to see no police cars.
Another crisis averted.
Then as he turned into the client’s parking lot another wave of of enormous pressure descended on his besieged bowels, this one more powerful than the last. “Oh dear God!” he screamed (as if calling on the Almighty was going to help!).
At that moment, a million thoughts flooded Bob’s mind. (Well, it was only three thoughts, but it felt like a million):
Thought #1: “I need to stay in the present moment.”
Thought #2: “Sphincter, don’t fail me now.”
Thought #3: “I’m gonna shit my pants!” (Do you see the way Bob is projecting into the future, rather than staying present?)
As Bob brought his car to a screeching halt in front of the building (he didn’t want to risk taking the time to park it), not surprisingly, it was this third thought that took charge, throwing him into a frenzy,
He threw the gear shift into park, ripped off his seat belt, flung open the car door, bolted up the walkway, crashed through the front doors of his client’s building and raced past the startled receptionist. All the while, the battle of wills in his mind continued. “Please let there be nobody in the washroom,” “Stay in the present moment, Bob.” “In a moment I’m gonna shit my pants!” “You haven’t shit them yet. Stay present!”
Bob sat on the toilet for what seemed like hours (it was actually only about 6 minutes) as wave after wave of diarrhea descended his colon. All the while, the battle of wills continued as his mind raced. “If this doesn’t end soon, I’m gonna be late.” “Live in the now.” “Jesus, Mary & Joseph, hurry up.” “For heaven’s sake man, get it together and stay in the moment.”
Finally, Bob finished up and made his way back to the front reception, certain he was late and feeling very embarrassed. “I’m here to see the president,” he said rather sheepishly.
“Yes,” replied the receptionist with a pleasant smile. The president asked me to tell you that he’s running a little late, he’s very sorry for the inconvenience and he’ll be down in 15 minutes to get you.”
For a moment, Bob just stood silently looking dumbfounded at the receptionist (she was smiling pleasantly), then, relieved and feeling rather silly for acting like a maniac, he wandered over to the waiting area to take a seat. Sitting down, he couldn’t help but say to himself, “I guess if I want to fully live in the present, I’ve got some work to do!”
“Sir,” the receptionist said.
“Yes?” Bob replied.
“What about your car?”
Have an awesomely present day!