Look up – you’re missing life…

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20130425-182542.jpg Whenever I walk through the city I walk with my gaze on the ground. I have been doing this for 50 years and it has served me well. I have avoided eye contact and all the entanglements and problems that arise from this practise. Over the years I have found many interesting objects that people lose or discard but I am ashamed to say that I have also missed life…

Today, after many hours studying Eckhart Tolle, I decided to do the reverse. I looked up the way rather than down. Not straight ahead but up to the rooftops and sky. It was dull and raining, the norm for Edinburgh, so you would expect that it would be a miserable experience. As I walked I noticed things about the street that I live in that I hadn’t noticed before, just silly little things. Just opposite John Knox’s House there is one of many tartan tourist shops but carved into the stonework above it you can see ‘Picture House’ and the more you look at the building the more you notice that it was indeed the old ‘Palace’ cinema. How had i missed this before? What had probably been a magnificent foyer was now a shop front. I imagined throngs of happy film goers queuing along the length of the street. Inside it was probably now converted flats but there was no mistaking the cinematic architecture if the main windows.

For some reason this filled me with immense joy and I couldn’t help smiling as I walked on up the Royal Mile. It just so happened that an oriental girl, who I assumed to be a tourist, was walking down and our eyes met for a second and she returned my smile. Within a second we were past each other but for the first time I felt like I had connected with a complete stranger in a way that I had never done before. I wasn’t attacked, accosted for money or badgered for cigarettes. In fact nothing bad happened. Two people lost in the moment of appreciating a beautiful city just happened to smile at each other and then it was gone. That’s the ‘Power of Now’…

The moral to the story? If you are looking for the dregs of this material life then look down. If you are looking to experience the beauty of this infinitely fascinating world then look up – look up with a smile on your face and the world will smile back at you.