I just watched a TED talk by Abha Dawesar, “Life in the digital now.”
Here is the link: http://www.ted.com/talks/abha_dawesar_life_in_the_digital_now.html
She had some very interesting things to say about time, and I quote:
“Our story, therefore, needs two dimensions of time: a long arc of time that is our lifespan,and the time frame of direct experience that is the moment. Now the self that experiences directly can only exist in the moment, but the one that narrates needs several moments, a whole sequence of them, and that’s why our full sense of self needs both immersive experience and the flow of time. Now, the flow of time is embedded in everything, in the erosion of a grain of sand, in the budding of a little bud into a rose. Without it, we would have no music…
…You and I know exactly what it means like to be truly present in a moment. It might have happened while we were playing an instrument, or looking into the eyes of someone we’ve known for a very long time. At such moments, our selves are complete. The self that lives in the long narrative arc and the self that experiences the moment become one. The present encapsulates the past and a promise for the future. The present joins a flow of time from before and after.”
The idea of existing at a point where the long narrative intersects the present moment spoke to me.
As a musician, I put in long hours of practice, building the skill to be able to communicate through the sound I create with my instrument. Yet when I perform, I exist in that moment only – when the performance is over, the music has vanished. You can’t step back and say, “Look at what I just played!” It is not there anymore. Yet without the long story of daily practice, it would not be possible to have that performance.
So, to use Dawesar’s analogy, the practice is the long narrative arc, the performance is the moment, and when the two intersect, that is where art is created.
This makes me feel like practicing.