Being present demands all of us. It’s not nothing. It may be the hardest thing in the world.*
Ryan Holiday tells of performance artist’s Marina Abramović‘s performance of The Artist is Present expressed as 750 hours over 79 days of looking silently and intently on 1,545 strangers who sat one by one across a simple table:
She had to be where her feet were; she had to care about the person across from her and the experience they were sharing more than anything else in the world.*
The performance is even more impressive when we become aware that Abramović took no comfort breaks or ate any food to keep her going, only a brief re-set between each person:
Many viewers cried. Each one said the hours in line were worth it. It was like looking in a kind of mirror, where they could feel their own life for the first time.*
This performance illustrates how we each have a capacity to be fully present to one another way beyond what we presently imagine.
(*From Ryan Holiday’s Stillness is the Key.)