Forever & eternal
HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) Updated May 30, 2010 12:00 AM
May apo na po sila: Boboy Garrovillo, Danny Javier and the author Jim Paredes
Last night, the APO per-formed its last concert at the Music Museum. I am, however, writing this three days before our last three concerts are actually happening on May 27 to 29.
When I think of 41 years of my life coming to a close forever, I alternate between calm anticipation of a new future and an inordinate fear that scares the daylights out of me.
It is scary to imagine something that has defined my life for so long, ending. Even if I am adult enough to grasp it intellectually, accepting it is something else. What is unsettling is the finality of endings. When something is no more, it stays that way for good. From here on, APO will not be anymore. And that is not an easy concept to fully understand, much less live with, for me at least. It can be unnerving when something comfortable that one has identified with for decades suddenly stops being.
To feel better, I think of all the changes and transitions in my life that I have managed to cross successfully. I also think of people I know or strangers whose lives I have only heard or read about, who have gone through bad stuff that have altered their lives permanently, like losing limbs, loved ones, social standing, wealth, health, freedom, etc.
It is really sad to realize that we often feel better about our lot only when we realize that other people are suffering more than we are. There is something selfish and sadistic about it. It is harsh but, “whatever gets you through the night is alright,” as John Lennon wrote in a song, works for most of us.
I recall an epiphany I experienced some years back where I think I caught a glimpse of the difference between the experience of something that is forever and something that is eternal.
Forever deals with time, its ravages and earthly consequences. When one is sentenced to life imprisonment, for example, it means that all the time allotted to one’s life will, from here on, be spent behind bars, in a state of banishment, literally trapped in the field of time in the confines of a limited space. Forever can be a punishing experience, for time running out literally ends in death. Death is the only escape from forever.
Nothing lasts forever, as they say. And depending on whether you are having a pleasant time or an unpleasant one, that can be a good or a bad thing.
Eternity, on the other hand, is an experience that is outside the field of time, even if, strangely, it happens within it. That’s because contrary to many religious misconceptions, eternity can be experienced even within one’s mortal existence. As we live out our lives, there are moments that seem different from others, when we feel that our reality has been altered and has somehow “opened us up.” We awaken to something borderless and boundless, and lo and behold, we see that we are THAT. We are the borderless and the boundless! No beginning and no end. We have awakened to something outside the field of time and space. We have experienced something eternal.
There are those who have talked or written about such an experience of “altered reality.” In my own limited experience, I know that this is not altered reality. I believe it is the true reality.
I can say that every time I am absorbed 100 percent with what I am doing, or when I lose track of time because I am engaged in an activity that involves all of me, I am experiencing the eternal. William Blake pretty much summed it up when he wrote about experiencing “eternity in an hour.”
I have been in such moments while doing concerts and other activities involving music with friends. There have also been times when I am writing, or doing my meditative sits that have felt timeless.
Does this mean that every time you lose track of time, you are on eternity mode? Not quite. The mark of an eternal experience is focused mindfulness — that you become one with what you are doing. There is no doer separate from the action. All is one.
As APO ends and I begin a new chapter in my life, I ask myself, how does one deal with something beautiful that comes to an end? How does one forget? Should one forget? How does one move on in life and resist living in the past? How do I proceed with my life in the best way?
These are good, honest questions that point me not only to new directions and interests that will help me move on, but to spiritual undertakings as well. The spiritual lessons are many. One is something I picked up from Eckart Tolle who tells us to live in the now. By now, he means wherever and whatever now is. Without our projections of past and future, now is always pristine, fresh and beautiful. I must remember that the present going to the future is a series of now points. In fact, it is always now.
Here are some good things I must also remember:
The past, no matter how beautiful, can feel like baggage sooner or later. There is a time in life for certain things and a time for others. There are beginnings and endings. It’s just the way it is and it is best to come to terms with that sooner than later.
It is good to remember that in our life’s journey, it is best to travel light. No regrets. No living in the past. And no overly concern for the future. It will unfold as it unfolds. When we do this, timeless moments are most likely to happen.
I still have some good years in this field of time and space called life. I will not stop making music, or stop doing things that bring me joy. I hope I can spend a lot of them in eternity.
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I have three upcoming workshops:
1) Basic Photography Workshop in QC on June 12, 1 to 7 p.m. at 113 B. Gonzales, Loyola Heights, QC. Call Ollie at 0916-8554303. Cost: P3,500
2) Basic Photography Workshop at White Sands Resort, Cebu on June 19, 1 to 7 p.m. Call Shirley at 0917-6207424. Cost: P3,750.
3) Tapping the Creative Universe, June 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 28 from 7 to 9 p.m. at 113 B. Gonzales, Loyola Heights, QC. Please call Ollie at 0916-8554303. Cost: P5,000. Visit \t “_blank” http://tappingthecreativeuniverse.com/ for the syllabus and FAQ.