By Nicholas Hooper
Be careful. You think differently from others that you respect and admire. Your thoughts and ideas are your own and, although you can listen to others, you must distil their ‘good’ ideas through your filter of mind. Watch and learn, do not follow. You are looking at things from your perspective and no one else’s. You cannot be them, however much you would like to be. The scattered chapters of your life are unique. No one else has trodden your path. No one else has your past, your upbringing, your body, your mind. Sometimes it is useful to look at another’s ideas and attitudes and see where that gets them. Looking from the outside can show you something of the shape and consequence of their lives. But you can never see right inside them – that motivating soul, that if listened to, can make a person so whole.
What now? What now! Right now, what? Now is what is… but how do we see now? It’s always gone. Now is a slippery thing – it’s always just gone or just about to come. But being right now requires a degree of attention. What was that thought? It’s gone but thinking back to it we might find that ‘now’ but that was then. History. And what’s next? The clock. The clock tells me where I am in this thing called time that we invented. Or we sort of invented it to make sense of days and seasons and lives. Time was always there but right in the centre is now.
But you can see that now is always disappearing so you go now, now, now, now, now, but always too late with that slippery fellow.
Perhaps we need other people to make nows more evident. From being tooted at a junction, to a sudden kiss. A word that bonds the thoughts of two people, perhaps. There is a huge feeling of the present moment when that happens.
Music is an interesting one: if you’re playing it, it brings together past and future at the same time – the remembered phrase is coming next – then it’s passed… and then there’s another, and another, all remembered by the body and the mind. But where is the now in music? If we stop to look at it, we stop, and the music stops. Perhaps if we made up the music as we went along then we would have to be in the now, even if it’s informed by past experience, because we only find out what the next note is… right now.
Living in the now is like being in the sea where every wave rocks us and reminds us that we are floating. We can’t always anticipate the waves and they can hit us and remind us of now. Perhaps now is dangerous? After all, it is some danger alert that will bring us into now, sets our adrenaline rushing round our veins.
So if we are to welcome now, perhaps we must be willing to live in a world of the unexpected.
“Every morning at around 5am I get up and go down to my studio. After a short meditation I write down whatever is in my head, giving myself fifteen minutes to do so. Then moving over to the piano, I improvise and record a piece of music inspired by whatever words I just wrote. It is a great way of keeping both my writing and my composing going and I call these small creations Dawnings. They are mostly unedited, like sketches, so that they keep that fresh feeling of an early morning discovery.”
— Nick Hooper