Saturday, January 31, 2009

Finding Freedom in the Present Moment

In 1974 Philippe Petit walked on a wire between the tops of the World Trade Center Towers. For him it was being a poet – writing in the sky. His art was a passion that called for him. He did not seek it or choose it. It chose him.

”Passion is something that knows no bounds”, says Petit. “You cannot calculate every step of your life. Living intensively is difficult.” Philippe did not think of the consequences of walking the wire between the towers.

He did spend 6 years planning the event. He had to figure out how to get the wire and cables to the top of the towers secretly. There was the problem of how to get the wire from the top of one tower to the top of the other tower. Guidelines had to be secured but not in the usual way because the wire was ½ mile above ground. This was the planning that Philippe did. But he never planned the actual walk. He did not think about the fear of walking on a thin wire high above the ground. That part was reserved for complete concentration of living in the moment. He believes you need to leave room for spontaneity, intuition, surprise and improvisation.

He did think that he wanted to do something magnificent. He knew he needed all of his body and mind to do the impossible. There was not one inch of energy to think of anything else.

“Once I am on the wire practicing or performing, I align well the balance of the heart with the balance of the body. You ask me in life, is it lined up? Is it comparable? I would say no. In life my mental balance doesn't exist much because I am too scattered by loving too many things” says Petit. “Well, it’s a mix. I devour life with an impetuous joy, and I’m trying to be happy. But I am sometimes very unhappy, because many things don’t go the way I want, and I am very critical of my own work. So, I am not perpetually happy, but I am a joyful energy of living, and that is with me all the time.

“If I had been walking briskly to the other side, and claim I did it, and go down, and become rich and famous, then it would have been a completely different event. The fact that I stayed there, dialogued with the seagulls, I stayed forty-five minutes, I did eight crossings, and I did all those choreography, laying down, forgetting where I was, makes it obviously some kind of strange theatre in the sky.

“There are moments where things are very delicate, or that the elements are against me, a strong wind or some problem with the installation of the wire, and so I have to be very careful, and I am conscious of what is about to go wrong, but I cannot be fearful that it will be very dangerous for me to be fearful. I have to be fully aware of what’s going on, and fully involved in a way that people on the earth do not carry their life. I have to hold my life in an absolutely intense way.”

The art of living in the moment is where we align with the Divine. It can be free of fear and full of joy. It is not something that lasts. It comes and goes. Like everything in life – there is a pulse, there is change, there are the opposites coming together to define each other. We need to forget to be able to remember. It is the passion in remembering that sets us free.

1 comment:

  1. Great article, love it! Oh for just a few moments like that each day ;-)