What is NOW? by ‘N’ Bangkok

FB_IMG_1444538773539‘NOW’ IS AS EPHEMERAL AS EVER. Am I doing what is important to me, making the most it? Can I at least help someone else to answer ‘yes’ to that question? And would it be okay to just relish in not being exhausted for a moment, now?

Editor’s note: This is a joint essay by guests who had attended ‘N’ in Bangkok in October, 2015. Images and words came from them, in response to our theme, ‘What is NOW?’

BUDDHISM AND CONSUMERISM are both trendy right now, if you really stop and think about it. But they also go against the idea of the ‘now.’ Some say one’s cool and the other’s nuts. But now can you be both, at the same time?

NOW: the idealist keyword for change and peace, but what is NOW for the capitalist? ‘How do we benefit now?’  The soldier asks: ‘how do I survive now?’ And if a meteor hits earth, NOW is gone. Poof, just like that. So what is now is simply none other than a belief in which one places weight, and  considers, earnestly, to be truthful. Or?

NOW: accepting ‘that in which it is,’ and doing one’s best to balance the equilibrium.

There are so many kinds of weights pulling and shifting, in flux, constantly—but what is alive and felt, and perceived in the moment, what is heard—like that thing about the tree that falls in a wood without people around to hear, would it make a sound? Like that. What is going on, just immediately, in this NOW?

 

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I THINK TIME is like a big rain cloud with infinite drops. The nowness is when it rains

the drops of time and we are aware of it. If we’re not aware that the time is falling, it is

impossible to catch up with time, and then there’ll be no concept of ‘now’ at all.

Everything will end up on the ground, in the past. All we’ll have then are documents, like snaps. Speaking of which, what is a photograph? Is it really a piece of frozen time? A preserved form of ‘here and now’? Or just the past haunting us? Coded, strange.

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WHAT IF ‘NOW’ equals ‘happiness.’ Paying attention to your life, the creaks and groans of your own body, the taste of passionfruit, the sound of your son watching YouTube in the bedroom. A deep breath. You are alive. And this moment is all we have. Let it wash over you.

Is arriving at that awareness a kind of, what do they call it… enlightenment? Perhaps that’s too esoteric. But, is that it? The noticing of NOW, the framing of the urgency of the moment, is that what we’re here to achieve? I confess I’m not sure.

[Gosh, it’s cold in here with the aircon on full blast. Very annoyingly, some keys on my laptop have been broken by our kids, so sorry I went over the word limit. Maybe it’s because I am a bit hung over. Can’t think. :)… ]

 

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STRIKES ME THAT ‘Now’ is the realm of feelings, where ‘Past’ is the realm of the facts, and ‘Future,’ of imaginations. No wonder I have a hard time living the now—being distracted by the future and the past can be an addictive, escapist habit.

Wait, what was the question? Constraining to 50 words is a good thinking exercise. I did a few of them. I guess I’ll go with the ‘abstract and asking existential questions’ one:

‘Now’ is as ephemeral as ever.

Am I doing what is important to me, making the most it?

Can I at least help someone else to answer ‘yes’ to that question?

And would it be okay to just relish in not being exhausted for a moment, now?

Questions, questions.

But also, a poem. Untitled, as of yet, but I might call it ‘is-ness.’

Now I am
Now I know, now I sense and feel
Yesterday I was
And yesterday is over for now
Tomorrow I will be
Tomorrow I don’t know
So I hold onto this moment of today
Opening myself up to the experiences of this day
To the awakening of my senses
And to the energies… of today
Of now … just as it is
Breathing in and out this is-ness

Know what? On my 30th birthday, I gave myself the below lessons:

  • live with consciousness
  • live for yourself and worry less
  • help others as much as you can
  • avoid what hurts you
  • live to work, not work to live
  • don’t waste too much time on negative people
  • ‘no’ is a complete sentence
  • life is too short to wait, if you want to do anything, do it ‘now’.

THAT’S THE REPORT I’ve got for you. For now.

Next stop, London. Or Copenhagen. Or Hanoi. Depending on the people, and the dates that the guests of each will choose together. Let’s see what happens?

—N