Moments: When Time Stands Still

It was the peak of noon, the sun was directly on top of me and I was trying to find my way back to the train station from the Osaka Castle. Right before the stairs that led down to the fountain right in the middle of the Osaka Castle Park, I passed by a little rest area. At first glance, there’s really nothing special about it and true enough, it doesn’t really appeal much to the Gaijins and even to local tourists who are all in a hurry to get to the Castle.

It’s no surprise considering it looks like some old abandoned little house with a few pillars, a couple of benches and vines creeping on roofless frames. All these sitting in the middle of a quiet area in the middle of the park with no picture-worthy view on either side. I just happened to get stuck in the area because, of all reasons, I couldn’t make up my mind on which stairs to take even if both were just 20 steps apart.

Osaka Park

While my eyes pingponged from one side to the other trying to make up my mind, a street performer(I presumed) started playing his flute.  I didn’t really pay attention to the old guy as he was completely focused on reading the notes from his music book. At the back of my mind I thought “it’s a park, it’s supposed to be a Mecca for street performers” but then I realized that he wasn’t even facing the crowd or even the main walkway and he didn’t have a hat right in front of him that would beg for spare change from passersby. I realized that he was performing for the trees, for nature, for himself. I listened closely and the melody was just perfect. The little quiet rest area now felt like an oasis to me.

The scene I could recall was something that I would only see in the movies. Just as I started to get lost in the melodic whistle of his flute, another old man walked slowly towards one of the empty benches. He took the sling off his right shoulder and placed his bag on the bench. He had both his hands on his knees before slowly shifting his weight back and sat down as gently as he could. I was directly behind him leaning at one of the pillars and at first I thought he was just there for a short rest after a long walk from one side of the park to the other. A few minutes had passed and I watched him stare at nothing. There was no scenic view right in front of us except for a few trees and patches of sunlight staining the shadows on the floor. He spent a good amount of time in there just sitting down, looking at something that didn’t interest anyone else including me. I tried to figure out what this man was looking at and more importantly what he was thinking but I couldn’t quite make anything out of it. I tried to imagine putting myself in his shoe. What would I be thinking? What would I be staring at? That’s when I realized he was having his MOMENT just like how the musician was having his.

Osaka Moment

Sometimes we get caught in situations where there’s nothing to do but listen, watch, or just feel our life happening before us. No worries, no problems, no pressure and no conflict. We are liberated from our own human definitions of reality. It’s that summer after high school, it’s the finish line after a race, it’s the Savasana to our yoga practice. It’s that kind of freedom.

Oftentimes we confront problems that have yet to happen and most likely will never even happen. We create conflicts based on our imagination and shackle ourselves in a shroud of endless worry. Most of the time, we’re always on the run. Always rushing, waiting for things to happen even though they might not. When will we ever get tired of this fast-paced world we live in?

But a few kindred souls understand that time, just like you and me, has to rest. To stop. To stand still and to catch her breath. And when she stops to catch her breath, that’s when ours is taken away and we are reminded to stop and just enjoy this thing we call life. So let’s lose ourselves to that beautiful music, fix our eyes on that gentle light of the setting sun on the horizon and listen to the trance-inducing beat of our hearts when we’re scared to death because for that brief instant, TIME STANDS PERFECTLY STILL. Let us not be afraid to hold our breath and enjoy life’s brief pause that we commonly refer to as MOMENTS

…and if we don’t find one, then we’ll make one because this is what we live for. Life is nothing but a collection of MOMENTS.

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