Are there moments in life that can be called perfect? In retrospect yes, but moments whose perfection you are aware of even as you live them? Can you recall some such perfect moments? What makes them perfect?
Was it the innocent look of total trust in your child’s eyes looking up at you? Was it when you first held your infant in your arms? Did you experience a perfect moment when you created your first home together with your spouse? A perfect moment could also have been created on a holiday, when you were immersed in the exquisite beauty of a place, lost to everything but the moment… Or, in the middle of a good book, when you looked up and realized there was something special about the moment. Or, when at the end of a good day, you settle with a loved one on the terrace to just talk, or sink contentedly into a good sleep…
When I think of my ‘perfect’ moments, I realize that these are all moments when time stands still and distractions fade away, allowing an intensity of emotion and a sharpness of the senses to take over. These are moments we sink into contentedly — living for the moment, in the moment, with focused attention and heightened senses. We feel deeper and also experience all around us with clarity. And almost always, while living such a perfect moment, we are aware of its significance. In that pocket of time, you know that all is well with your world and you are suffused with contentment.
Can such perfect moments be created willfully? Does perfection have a formula?
It is important to understand the difference between ‘chasing perfection’ and creating a ‘perfect moment.’ I quote from an O-zone column I wrote in 2013, A State of Perfect Imperfection, “The search for perfection is as old as human history. Trying for perfection is an attempt to meet goals and ideals that have no set definition. You can always do everything better, and if that is so, nothing can be perfect! Continuously measuring yourself against an unachievable ideal… would leave one frustrated and dissatisfied, far from the state of contentment that is considered a prerequisite for happiness.”
But though perfectionism is seen as an enemy of progress, and striving for perfection is not conducive to a happy state of being, focusing on creating perfect moments may well be the key to living a happy life!
When the CEO of KPMG, Eugene O’Kelly, was given just three months to live at 53, he was living the perfect life — a great job with a perfect family and a calendar booked 18 months in advance. The diagnosis of inoperable brain cancer made him determined to add perfect moments to his life – he learnt to meditate, was determined to focus on important relationships, and went on to create “Perfect moments” with loved ones. These were as commonplace as a walk in the afternoon sun or a boat ride across a calm lake with his loved ones. In these moments he assimilated the experience of a lifetime.
A ‘perfect moment,’ O’Kelly explains in his book Chasing Daylight, is ‘an experience with others when time stands still. It is a special time of focused attention and heightened awareness…. All that matters is this moment – the people I am with and the conversation we are having now.”
So of course we can all create our own perfect moments if we really wish to. All it requires is keeping time aside for ourselves and the people we love, a time when we exclude distractions, including cellphones, forget the past and the future and focus just on the moment with a keen awareness. We need to be in the moment completely and generously, bringing some energy to the moment, be transparent and honest, and lighten ourselves up. That then is the formula for creating a perfect moment.
Films, books, stories all have perfect moments, which are created by filmmakers and authors. That’s where we live through such moments vicariously. Let us learn to create our own. After all, as is rightly said, life is not to be measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away!