The Soloist

A couple of nights ago I watched the film, The Soloist, featuring Jamie Foxx, as a highly talented musician who through bouts of mental illness finds himself homeless.  Robert Downey Jr. plays the real life Los Angeles Times Report, Steve Lopez, who accidentally finds Nathaniel Ayers (Foxx), and begins to take an interest in him as a subject for his newspaper column.  In the course of doing his research and interviewing Ayers, Lopez  begins to develop a strong caring relationship for the plight of this very talented and fascinating man.  In the film Ayers’ talents lie in his highly sensitive nature to the use of musical instruments including the violin and the cello.  Lopez is astounded to find that Ayers literally becomes one with the music, whether he is creating the music or listening to it via others.  Ayers is so focused on the beauty of what he is creating and hearing that his maladies (sychophrania) magically disappear when embraced by the rapture of his music.  However, when confronted by society’s demands Ayers’ demons that live in his head literally immobilize him to the point of violence and madness. 

What I found so intriguing was the fact that when the Ayers character was enveloped by his music Ayers was in a state of presence.  Eckhart Tolle describes this state of being as living in the power of NOW.   In his book of the same name, Tolle identifies that the human condition is usually lived in memories of the past or in the fears and desires of the future.  It is rare that an individual allows himself to experience living in the now.  Tolle, himself, introduces himself and his thoughts of living in the present, by describing his mental state of near suicidal depression that he battled with most of his youth.  It was at the point of trying to take his own life that he realized that his own mind was the creator of his misery.  He speaks of the need for everyone to be aware of the ability to live in the present and in doing so living in  joy.  By descibing what one is feeling at this very moment, not an hour ago, not what is anticipated tomorrow, but to feel what one is feeling right now, the right now is actually all that matters and the right now usually feels pretty darn good.  Tolle describes in his book that we experience this “getting out of our heads” in moments when we are awestruck by the majesty of nature, such when we first see an incredible sunset in all its glory and color and brilliance.  Or if you’ve ever experience total pitch darkness and admire the sky above that illuminates the heavens with an abundancy of stars – so many the human eye cannot absorb it all.  It is at these moments that we are living in the Now. 

But Tolle is of the mind that everyone can find ways to live more and more moments in the Now and leave the chatter (the demons, if you will) of our active mind to the silence of peace and the present.  Meditation is the most active manner by which to achieve living in this space.  The more we can consciously become aware of when we are recreating our past memories or projecting into the future, this awareness state can manifest more and more moments of being in the present.   The Ayers character had found a way to live his life in the present.  Through his music Ayers was able to accomplish what most of us only dream to experience in a rapaturous take-your-breath-away moment. 

We are all soloists in life.  But we can choose to live life in the Now and expect happiness or we can choose to let our thinking mind dominate who we are and how we see and experience life.

11 Responses to “The Soloist”

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