January 27, 2017

As I’ve mentioned previously in this blog space the music of George Harrison has really been a source of support, wisdom and guidance during the past few months. During this time we have been heavily involved in so much heavy-duty, life-changing stuff: arranging our living trust, my sister-in-law’s divorce, refinancing our house, retirement planning, etc. and all this focus on the future that it would be easy to forget about the here and now and the life going on “within you and without you“.

One of the themes that runs through many of Harrison’s songs is his desire to keep himself focused in the present moment where his spiritual journey and the material world he lived in intersected continually, always in conflict with each other, always threatening to take his focus away from the here and now, and away from the question of who he was and why he was here. In popular culture, it has come to be known as an Admiral Stockdale moment. Laugh about it all you want, but isn’t that the fundamental question regarding our existence?

Throughout this period Harrison’s music has served as a reminder of my own desire and need to live more in the moment, focusing on the now as opposed to what might or might not happen down the road. His belief system, so entwined with Eastern religion and karma, reflected the need to see himself and his life journey in the now – actually, the very now, to both positive and (at times) destructive effect: the past isn’t really reality, it’s just what your perception of it is, and the future may not even get here. Which is all true: in the case of the latter, heck, you could be dead before you even finish reading this post.

Harrison saw this passage of time as the “flying hour”, and the song he composed about it reflects this view of existence:

All through my life I’ve been hearing
All about those good old days
It makes no diff’rence
What was or what may be

Past it is gone
And future may not be at all
Present improve the flying hour

Some people look into the future
They’re hoping that they’ll see better days
It’s such a sweet thought
It’s something that could be, but

Past it is gone
And future may not be at all
Present improve the flying hour

What was and what may be
Is not here,
It is not clear to me.
Right now is the one thing
That I can feel
The one thing real to me… ooohh

So as you sit back to remember
That which you can not recall
It makes no diff’rence
What was or what may be

Past it is gone
And future may not be at all
Present improve the flying hour.

It makes no diff’rence
What was or what may be

Past it is gone
And future may not be at all
Present improve the flying hour.

When you’re dealing with the kind of complicated stuff as I mentioned above, combined with the pressures at work, it would be easy to get overwhelmed and just say, (bleep) it: I’ll just let someone else handle it or just ignore it and/or hope it goes away. But recognizing the need to resist those inclinations, and simply focus on the task at hand (whatever it might be in front of me) in the here and now – the flying hour – and letting the future be as it may – well, it’s been a life-changing experience. And while I’ve had my moments of despair and soul-searching (those will never go away), it has helped keep me sane.

May we all come to understand and appreciate what it is truly like to live in the flying hour.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:02 | Comments (0)
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