Continuing our Soul journey, perhaps the most central theme and exploration of the film, the one that also drives all the other insights (including the If/When/Then construct from last week) available within, is its meditation on the simple beauty of being present.
And of the reminder that our life is happening now. Not someday, not when we get that thing, not once we overcome that, nor if/when those milestones we put out in front of us happen (if they ever happen). When our eyes are forever towards the horizon (or forever inward, or forever trying to win, or forever attached to being right), we can end up absent from our own life.
This is also not our practice life. The starting line for when we can ‘really’ start living is not approaching us. We’ve already crossed it.
It is happening, right now. This is the experience of life. This is what it is like. This is what it is filled with. We’re already there.
To quote the title of a book by Buddhist monk Jack Kornfield: “After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.” Life is life, and it keeps on life-ing.
Equally important is what we bring to it. Yes, this is the experience of life, but experience itself doesn’t spring fully formed, whole cloth, from the ethers of reality. It does not impose itself on us. There is no fixedness to it. We get to create. We get to drive who we are being, and who we are being shifts what and how we experience.
Which includes experiencing wonder, peace, happiness, fulfillment, joy, fun, amazement, contentment, love, appreciation, and more. And sadness and pain and more, for sure. But those are not to be shunned or considered bad; they can be some of the most healing and honouring ways of being. And through that whole range of experiences, we are fully alive.
No surprise that it is very much like Jazz (and, thus, Jazzing). There’s no beginning, no end, and we play with what comes towards us, weaving it into our lives. And as a bonus, being present always frees us to be our most creative, to be a grander artist. *
This is what Joe gets during his epiphany (with the beautiful music to go with it). All these moments he wasn’t present for, all these moments he’d buried under his obsession of “how it had to be” or “when it would turn out.” There’s nowhere to get to, and nothing to get. There is now. And now. And now.
And at the end, it’s great to note that Joe doesn’t say he’s going to enjoy every minute of his life… but that he’s going to LIVE every moment of it. Big difference.
We don’t listen to a song just for the ending. We’re in it all the way, in every moment, for every note, for every rise and fall, enjoying the journey to its fullest, all until the next song starts.
* Both in creating our lives, but also in any artistic/creative/imaginative endeavour. When we lock ourselves up in ‘gotta’ and ‘haveta’ and ego and significance and etc that puts the biggest crimp in our creative flow.