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comes down to deciding to live life in the moment": Interview
with Tom Soper
September 15, 2013
interview with Kubatana you were recovering from a serious,
life altering accident. Share with us your hospital experience.
It was really terrifying particularly at the outset because I was
supposedly unconscious for two weeks. But actually even though I
was unconscious it was a different kind of consciousness. There
were a lot of nightmares in it. It was a gradual awareness of the
changes that were coming with physical disability. It was reshaping
my life. This was an opportunity to come back with a different perspective
on day-to-day activities, things I had taken for granted, getting
back on the spiritual path and being able to inspire others.
you share with us what has inspired you lately, or what inspires
you in general?
I am inspired by the sheer wonder of life. I am inspired by the
night sky. I am inspired by the sheer extent of space and time.
I am inspired by the infinite detail of what’s around us.
I am inspired by people’s courage, goodness and potential.
Some people who go about using their potential like yourselves at
Kubatana; Bev and Amanda inspire me.
are your views on the key ingredients for the future of a successful
With my background in finance the straightforward answer is that
we need some liquidity in this economy. That basically means direct
foreign investment. We do not have the industry that is adding value
to create that internal ability to get back on track. If we are
exporting one or two billion dollars of goods every year and importing
7 billion there is a gap there that needs to be filled with simple
economics. That can be filled by direct foreign investment and therefore
there should be a platform to attract that investment … which
comes down to politics.
advice would you give yourself if you were starting all over again?
The rules I work on now are the generic rules like no matter how
bad things may seem, they could always be quite a lot worse for
others. To get stuck in your own problems is really not helpful
at all. If you sit back and look at your own problems and then think
of other people’s problems they tend to get smaller quite
quickly. So in terms of philosophy, nothing is permanent. If nothing
is permanent, it means problems will go away, but it’s up
to you to take note of how much you want to suffer until that point.
It takes patience, strength and the knowledge that life is full
The other advice I try
and reflect on every morning is to try and not take too much for
granted. Also to look at time and perspective; a Buddhist perspective
that says the past is gone and you can’t change it leaves
you with a clean slate of the present. A lot of people are caught
up in the past and do not realise how much influence they really
have over their way of being.
own view should anything be labeled wrong or right?
I think the question of right or wrong is quite subjective because
society has set certain rules that say this is right or wrong which
is a basis for the law and a moral system. But I think society has
gone a little bit too far - in particular education and religious
systems - they are not as flexible as they might be.
is your present state of mind?
I am in a good space. I am developing the ability to take a step
back and have a look around me without getting caught up in my distractions.
Whilst I see things that may be painful, I am more okay with that,
than I used to be. I wouldn’t say positive, but I would say
renowned poet Seamus Heaney died recently. He wrote: “The
way we are living, timorous or bold, will have been our life.”
What comes up for you when you reflect on his words?
I think that for me, it comes down to deciding to live life in the
moment. I know it’s a cliché as if there is no tomorrow!
You can either be bold and go for things that you are passionate
about, or you can live in a shell - thinking that it’s probably
a safer place. When I heard those words they reminded me of the
quote I have in my office, “Life begins at the outer edge
of your comfort zone,” and I would equate that to the bold
in the poem. That is really where life does begin; if you are not
bold about looking for and accepting new things, you will probably
reach your deathbed with quite a lot of regrets.
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