Sometimes it so happens that we come across an idea; and then we run into the same idea again and again. Each time the idea is expressed differently. Recently I read Eavesdropping: A memoir of Blindness and Listening by Stephen Kuusisto. I really liked what he has written about listening. He says that each sound has a story to tell and that there are so many surprises when we actively listen to our surroundings. He writes about his childhood and his life as an adult. He loves to visit cities around the world in order to discover the art of sightseeing by ear. In one essay he writes about his visit to Iceland. There he attends a concert by Ruben Gonzalez, a Cuban musician. The author writes, “And then Ruben Gonzalez was playing the piano and time stopped. Then he let time back out.”
Yes, there are many moments in life when time stands still. I believe that one can appreciate such moments if one is open to them. A fellow-blogger describes them as the “wow moment”.
These moments can be those of intense beauty or of extra-ordinary ordinariness. I still remember such an experience in Lothal. A few years ago we had been to Ahmedabad and went to Lothal, a site of the Indus valley Civilization. We grew up reading about that ancient civilization. Gazing at the still well-preserved remains I felt as if time had stopped. I had gone back 5000 years into the past. Another such moment which I shall always remember is when I held our grandson in my arms a short while after his birth. It was a special moment. Time stood still.
I came across the same idea in The Tibetan Book of living and dying. The author, Sogyal Rinpoche says, “Our mind is the universal basis of experience- the creator of happiness and the creator of suffering.” He says that people find it very difficult to understand the glory of the nature of mind. But sometimes we get fleeting glimpses of it. He explains, “These moments could be inspired by a certain exalting piece of music, by the serene happiness we sometimes feel in nature or by the most ordinary everyday situation… Such moments of illumination, peace, and bliss happen to us all and stay strangely with us.” I was reading about the great French photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and The Decisive Moment. It is the same as “the wow moment”, or “when time stands still”, or that moment when we understand “the true nature of our mind”. Bresson was the first to propose this idea. He believed that the decisive moment occurs when the visual and psychological elements of people in a real-life scene spontaneously and briefly come together in perfect resonance to express the essence of that human situation.
While reading about such moments the proverb, ‘time and tide wait for none’ comes to mind. But time does stand still. It allows us to absorb that special moment. It moves on, but that moment remains with us.