Eternity Vs. Moment by Moment

I think a lot now about how different people live, compared to how I do, in this modern life. To me it’s less about watching a person go at a snail’s pace or watching another person run as fast as a cheetah to get their destination. To me it’s more about the perception of time itself, the road if you will, that is laid out before and behind everyone of us.

To some, this might just be an example of “Time Dilation.”

Screen_Shot_2014-10-22_at_12.05.30_PM.0.0.png

I’ve only been able to focus on the moments that seem so important but go missing, the older I get. For instance, It’s hard for me to remember the feelings I used to feel when listening to  one of my favorite songs back when I was 16.

Roller Coaster

There are times, like when a child first discovers something so great, like where the said moment seems to stretch thru time and last just a little longer. These moments might cause awe or inspiration or sometimes even wonder. I really miss out on these moments now that I’ve grown up and have since become a part of what we all call the “rat race”. Waking, eating, working, cleaning, sleeping, just to get up and drive to work to do it all over again… Really gives meaning to the idea of  “tha grind.”

There have been times however, sometimes more than others, where I have been inspired!

These moments serve to help me inasmuch so that the rush to eat, sleep, work, clean, repeat doesn’t seem to get to me as much. When I’m recording music, I seem to be isolated, in this sacred space as it were – where I am not affected.

It’s here, during these small moments, in which I find my shelter, my peace… in music.

I imagine it’s the same as what an artist may find on their canvass when painting… these moments that seem to stretch into a fever of inspiration that might last for days.

Some people live for the moment like I do, where almost nothing else matters – just let me get back to that moment, that special moment, that holy moment, where I can breathe again. These moments can be like a drug. Something you think about long after they’re over and something you look forward to when you’re doing almost anything else.

Lately however, I’ve been noticing other people and how they live in their day to day lives. Regardless of their attitude or their sunny or sour disposition, I can see how their perception of time affects them. People who don’t have the same sense of time… they don’t live for today like it’s their last – which is how I always thought was the best way to live. They live for a moment ‘outside’ of time… For a moment that exists long after it’s all over for the rest of us.

They don’t believe in time as just a sequential number of random events that are counting down until it’s game over. (i.e. Death) They live for a moment AFTER this life. They live for what some would call eternity.

 

It’s always interesting to me to watch people like this and to try and understand or to try to grasp or try to achieve some comprehension about how different of a life someone could lead if they lived like this.

When you live for eternity, one that will come after the life that you see before you now, it changes your outlook. It changes your perspective on what you pursue ‘now’. It changes your decisions as to how you go about doing everything you do, now.

To me, I can hardly imagine living that way but I am seeing more and more that it is quite possible… It might even be preferable.

When you live for moments, time is constantly stretching and contracting with or without you. The moment you share with a friend, the moment you share with your child… The moment you share with that special, someone you love… Those can all be taken from you. Those can all be spent like money until they are gone… just like the memories they leave behind.

Time passes. We get older. Eventually, we die. Our legacy is only worth the seeds of kindness and love that we have left behind us. For someone who is living for “Eternity” however…. there is no loss. They don’t particularly care if anyone sees them living the way they do. They are not necessarily concerned with moments that are lost or are given to them. Their entire perspective is captivated by the idea that everything they are living for NOW is building up to something greater in the end.

Something AFTER… something bigger than themselves. Something that is for a specific purpose and a reason. Something that ECLIPSES the here and now.

Let’s follow off on a rabbit trail for just a moment…

In today’s social media climate we are incessantly adapting our lives to fit into a new narrative. We patiently and consistently submit our lives and upload it into “the cloud.” We constantly interject ‘a whole lot’ of the pictures of special moments in our lives out there, “online” for others to see. We filter and we format, we edit and we curate a better picture of ourselves, so that the world can see us the way we ‘desire’ to be seen.

For some more than others, this form of immediate expression and consumption can be addicting.

As wonderful as it is, I wonder if it can be dangerous. I wonder if we can lose the power, the wonder of the moments we’ve had with each other…  (and also, possibly lost the motivation we would’ve had to participate in them more?)  …because we had to instead feed the impetus to “record” them.

In essence what I’m saying is this:

You’re at a concert and you’re so busy trying to Instagram what you’re seeing, so you can share it with your friends, that you are missing the moment that is taking place right now, right in front of you.

No one walks down the street without their phone in their hand anymore. I see people all the time walking from their car in the parking lot to the store while they can’t seem to do it without having their phones right in front of their face.


I honestly believe that personal, computing devices, like our Smart phones will Eventually disappear. With the new improvements in hardware, the “record everything” blitzkrieg will become a more imperceptible and less noticeable revolution.

Just as with Google Glass we will be able to record more effortlessly and efficiently without having IT take away our immediate attention. The world will become a giant microscope under which everyone, sometimes all at once, will be able examine each other.

I’m not scared of this. I don’t necessarily welcome it either. I just see it as completely different from anything I’ve ever experienced growing up. I wonder how our children will adapt and change according to this new body politic.

I wonder if living for something bigger than ourselves, Something more real, something more real than what we see now, will be harder to achieve. I wonder if people will do things, just because they are going to be seen and recorded doing them.

What I’m getting at is this. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to witness it does it really fall?

IMO? …Of course it does.

Now exchange the forest, for our lives and then exchange the tree falling, for a moment in time that happens when it’s NOT recorded.
As a people, as the human race in today’s modern age, do we stop seeing things as being important if they are not published? Do we fail to see them just as significantly if we do not take pictures of them, to post them, to share.

I digress. I’m from an older generation where people didn’t always have cell phones on their person every day. First, you started to seeing these big, ridiculous looking, boombox sized phones that people would carry around because they thought it gave them status. These phones definitely did not fit in your pocket!

Next, over the course of just a few years, you began to see these much smaller, “flip” phones which were cool but the best games they had were like “Snake” … or other, old Atari type games that weren’t that great in the graphics department.

Now… fast forward to the future, we have “Smart” phones which are basically little computers. You can hold an entire life’s worth of data on them. Of which, the more they develop, will eventually with access to a cloud server, give one possibly, many, many terabytes of storage. Right now, my phone holds at least two years worth of pictures and video that could fit on almost any average device you can pick up at any corner store in the U.S.

What used to be new and interesting has now become commonplace. Try explaining that to someone younger than 12…  How everyone used to develop photos from something called film. Try explaining that there were “one hour photo” stores you could go to, where they could take your film and develop it for you almost instantly.

I’ve done this and I’ve always gotten scowls and scoffs about how that must have been SO ridiculous. Seeing the instant gratification one can now get, taking instantaneous pictures with your cell phone, editing them and then adding unique and wonderful filters… I don’t really blame them… Not in the least.

This may be just another example of a by product of this instant age we live in..  By this I mean the uploading and curation of personal media, the trending down of the music industry’s profits and the vast, informational resource that Facebook has provided every government in the world – which has, depending on who you ask, paved the way for the unintentional, digital “embalming” of anyone who takes part in the self publishing process. Many businesses for years have made profits from immortalizing artists, authors, movie celebrities and sports stars… This is nothing new. What’s new to me is how now, the average person, seems to have an online, digital footprint that is left behind for all to see. Our thoughts and pictures, our likes and our prejudices, all of them, preserved for our grandchildren to consume years from now.

So please forgive me because I’m about to get real.

For any of you who has lost someone recently, since the Information Age anyway, you know what I am talking about. It’s sometimes a little absurd, sometimes comforting in the best of ways, to find or to revisit a Facebook page of someone who has passed away. It’s absurd because it’s still there. Maybe a family member didn’t have the password to remove the page or they kept it as a reminder of what once was. It’s comforting because if you try not to think too hard about it, it’s almost like they never left.

My friend John David was a very prolific artist in the making…

He was most assuredly on his way to creating the most interesting and beautiful art through music. We used to talk about the concept albums he would make one day when he had all of his ducks in a row.

Ever since he was lost to us, taken away too soon by a horrible accident, I find myself listening to his music, imagining he’s still here, still making it… still creating and posting it, like nothing ever happened.

I awoke from a dream the other night where we were hanging out, waiting for someone to get back from the gas station, making plans, laughing… Too real.

When I woke up, I realized it was all just a dream. He was gone.

It’s too much I know. This happens to all of us who have lost someone close to us.

There’s no substitute. There’s no band aid that fits. It just sucks and that’s the way it is..

I try not to be selfish. I try to realize that I, in no way own the trademark on pain and suffering. Death is a part of life. We were all given this fact as a disturbingly flat kind of punctuation to our education as youngsters. Why?

That’s just the way it is.. It’s not fair. It doesn’t seem right… But that’s just the way it is. Everybody dies. Everyone gets old.

It’s a different kind of pain I feel now when discussing such matters with my own kids. Namely my young son, who recently told me, “dad, I don’t want you to ever die.”

This brings me back around to what I was pondering earlier. What is the difference between those of us who view life eternally and those who do not?

I would never, even if I was an atheist, be presumptuous enough to be down on someone who chose to believe in a life in the great hereafter. It would appear quite rude and uncaring, calloused and hateful to put someone down for that. You can’t possibly know everything about everyone, so to some, you could in your own self righteousness, appear like a total (bleeping) jerk.

I hold the same for myself. If I DO believe in something like eternity and the afterlife, I refuse to force my opinions on others. I’ve read enough history to see the results of dogmatic isolationism that I wouldn’t want to do that myself. I respect some folks you might call atheists. I also look up to a those whom could be known as conservative Christians. All I know is that the Bible says that there is no one who is truly good. Not even one of us. We are all guilty. We are all in need of a Savior.

Whether it is a belief system for some, or a intellectual pursuit for another, I don’t care where you are coming from. I just know that I am searching for a way out myself. If I spread anything in this life, if I give anything without being asked by anyone, I want it to be of love. Kindness. Peace.

Back to my point though.. Regardless of what you believe, it’s interesting where we are in history. Tupac has performed concerts live posthumously!


It’s possible that Hollywood can still make movies years from now with Marlon Brando. It’s an exciting and weird time to be alive.

I listen to my friend, Johns’ music all the time now and I imagine that he’s still here, pushing forward… on his way to becoming the next, breakout music artist. I still see his comments on my page about something or other… And it makes me smile.

I can now say that I choose to look at things in an eternal way. Life is just a curtain that we are all going to pull back one day and find the sequel to our own story on the next page.

It will be full of color and vibrancy compared to the life that we once lived in black and white. Eternity will be the LIVE sound you hear at a concert with the bass thumping loudly in your chest compared to the fuzzy, am radio signal only this life can offer.

Bring on the technicolor. Bring on the surround sound. Bring on the high definition. Bring on the 4K Retina display resolution. I’m ready.

Advertisements