I have just been to the top of the garden to empty vegetable peelings into the compost bin. It was neither a great nor an awful experience though my mood was for some reason lighter than usual.
I spend much of my time mulling over things like: when I’m likely to die; whether I’ll soon need a prostate operation; if that back tooth the Japanese dentist saved a year ago will need extracting after all; whether the co-op have run out of the bread I like; why so many things get on my nerves nowadays: am I turning into my dad? At what point Britain will be so full of immigrants and their children that the Britain I knew will be gone forever.
But as I said, none of this was on my mind as I scraped the potato and parsnip peelings, the crushed egg-shells and the tea leaves into the big black bin. I watched as the worms as they squirmed and dived for cover and at that moment there was nothing on my mind but worms and compost, and that was fine.
So perhaps when boring people bang on about ‘living in the present moment’, what they are talking about is an absence of worry, not the fact that the world suddenly revealed itself to them in all its radiant glory or some such nonsense. This is why I have always dismissed such people as pretentious, yoga-practising fantasists. Yet if all they meant was that the world looks slightly less menacing once you turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream then fine, I can subscribe to that.