The Only Thing We Ever Have Is Now
Imagine being trapped in a television set. Pixels moving at a great speed around you; noise, so much noise, blaring at all pitches and volumes, making it almost impossible to think. It is always on- a flickering, unstoppable beast. Nothing is still, and there is simply never any silence.
Sounds absolutely horrible, doesn’t it?
Luckily that is a hypothetical scenario, but it is hard to tell it apart from a traffic jam, a busy market, or an H&M during a sale. We live surrounded by noise and light and colours, emails and calls and notifications, all coming at us faster than we can make sense of them, and our inner voice gets drowned in this swirl of synthetic sensations. We are always stressed, because we are never really inhabiting our minds; we are shuttling between the non-existent past and the fantasy of the future.
The solution lies within the problem itself- in the mind. For centuries people have been seeking stillness of thought to be able to connect with the source of peace. Some call it God, some call it Atma, but in essence it is that energy that is inside us all, the energy that is the blue sky on which our days play out like clouds. Mindfulness is a technique that is about training the mind to be aware of itself, at each moment. It is about understanding that there is no us/them or yesterday/tomorrow, but only the breath we are taking now, the bite of food we are eating now, the softness of the breeze on your cheek now, that matters.
A happy mind is a creative mind. A happy mind is a still, inward looking mind. Training your mind to fully experience the present has led to an increase in gratitude, compassion and plain simple happiness in people. For what is an abstract concept, there’s a lot of scientific research backing its benefits. With creativity being ranked as the most valuable workplace skill, and depression and anxiety on the rise, the need for mindfulness to become habitual in our lives is more important than ever.
Bringing this concept to life through art and design is Himanshi Parmar, an alumni of MIT Institute of Design, Pune, through a multidisciplinary exhibition called ‘.NOW.’. Inspired by the power of this technique, she took up the subject as her final year Graduation Project, and together with a stellar team from backgrounds ranging from health psychology, cinema, advertising and design, put together an exhibition that is intended to immerse the viewer in the present moment. “Mindfulness is a term coined in the West. The unfortunate part is that this concept is firmly rooted in Indian culture, but the meaning has been lost in the traditions and rituals”, says Himanshi. “.NOW. is an attempt to revive what we already know!”, she exclaims. Through films, installations, graphic art and projection mapping, the exhibit communicates the simple thought that mindfulness is for everyone.
The first exhibition, held in December, 2016, got people so intrigued that the .NOW. team decided to put together another one. “There’s very few people out there explaining concepts in this way, through multi sensory artwork, and that’s why it has really connected with people”, says Mehul Sahai, communication designer for the exhibition. The exhibition will be held from 7th-9th April, 2017, 10am onwards at House No.7, St.Patrick’s town, Fatima Nagar, Pune.
Pico Iyer, a celebrated travel writer, says it best in his TED Talk titled ‘The Art of Stillness’: “In an age of exhilaration, nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing is so luxurious as paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still.”
Press release written for a multidisciplinary exhibition on mindfulness titled '.NOW.'