It is always now.
And there’s more to now than meets the eye, as Henry David Thoreau points us to, for now is where our past and vast future meet:
‘In any weather, at any hour of the day or night, I have been anxious to improve the nick of time, and notch it on my stick too; to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and the future, which is precisely the present moment, to toe that line.’*
This line Thoreau made his goal is where we will find a meeting of the familiar and unfamiliar. Those who investigate life from such a perspective have something different to bring, may be considered outsiders to the everyday living of insiders – Seth Godin points out that if we are into comparisons, this will always produce that:
‘You can’t have outsiders unless you have insiders.’**
But there’s a way of being open to what the future brings, to what others who are not like us bring. Derek Sivers reminds me:
‘When you make a dream come true for yourself, it’ll be a dream come true for someone else.’^
I don’t read this as meaning we adopt the dreams of others but when someone realises their dream, there is a knock-on effect for us, encouraging and enabling us to do and to bring what it is we desire.
Ken Mogi unwraps the importance of wa (harmony) for the Japanese way of finding purpose (ikigai). Wa means this person doesn’t have to be a threat (this meeting of our past and our future may be materialising for us in this person right now), and this new idea may not be as proposterous or ridiculous as we thought:
‘Living in harmony with other people and the environment is an essential element of ikigai.’^^
We are always moving towards a better line to toe. It begins with each of us finding and feeding our desire:
‘Once you achieve a state of blissful concentration, an audience is not necessary. You enjoy being the here and now, and simply go on.^^
We have lost the need for comparison to prove ourselves. We do need to turn up each day living the story we have been shaping and unfolding. Perhaps Rohit Bhargava helps us to see something of what happens in such a person when he describes the future in this way:
‘Learning to predict the future had an even more predictable side effect: you will become more curious, observant, and understanding of the world around you.’*^
I undertand predict here to mean choosing or curating, and his side effects certainly sound harmonious.
This may not be how it feels if we value being the insiders and part of that insider-ness is competence. As Seth Godin points out, when change happens, we lose our competenc, indeed:
‘Competence is the enemy of change.’^*
To understand ourselves as competent is to perceive the universe as fixed.
When we meet the future, what happens may look like mischief but that is not the intention. I leave the final words to Ken Mogi who encourages our intention in this way:
So make music, even when nobody is listening. Draw a picture when no-one is watching. Write a short story that no one will read. The inner joys and satisfaction will be more than enough to make you carry on with your life.’^^
(*From Henry David Thoreau’s Where I Lived, and What I Lived For.)
(**From Seth Godin’s blog Outsiders.)
(^From Derek Sivers’ Anything You Want.)
(^^From Ken Mogi’s The Little Book of Ikigai.)
(*^From Rohr Bhargava’s Non Obvious.)
(^*From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck.)