"Well, it's over now," he said. Yes! The past is done. All we have is this moment. I struggled for what to say next, like a cat waiting for a mouse. He pursed his lips, raised his glass in a tender toast, and then decided to leave me alone. Okay, now I was feeling that familiar combination of thoughts and emotion that stands for rejection. It was okay, though, because I could back away from that feeling and just be.

Jesus Christ, this was tiring. It's a lot of work to not have to work at anything. Fuck it.

"So," I rejoined. "How about those Giants?" From there we had a nice conversation about baseball, single-malt scotch, and whether vermouth was a wine. I realized that in that moment, I felt more connected than I had been when I was trying to be nothing but connection. Meditation has its time and place, I figure. The real joy in life comes from interacting with other people.

I think Tolle would be okay with that, as long as the interaction was as genuine as possible and was firmly placed In the Now. I hope I am right, because going to bars and talking to people is my job.

If you do go to Bourbon and Branch and meditate, I recommend getting back onto planet Earth before you leave. You have to walk through the Tenderloin, after all. For example, I was glad that I didn't step in that pile of dogshit on Jones.

"Can I have 79 cents?" a homeless guy asked. I gave him a dollar. I have evolved.

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