Time is a bully! Let’s stand up to it!
In our culture, our days are split into segments of time and our moments are given varying degrees of importance. It is kind of crazy how we have allowed time to push us around. We watch the clock, waiting for things to happen…”When will they arrive?”, What time do we need to be there?”, “When should we get ready?”, “How long will the drive take?”, “When will this line get moving?”, “I can’t wait until…”, “I will be so happy when…”, etc. We constantly think the next thing is what we are waiting for. The truth is, we are already there; but, unless we can really feel that, we stay stuck in the world of being pushed around and bullied by time.
We are all at our own perfect place on our path toward self-realization and awareness. We each have varying degrees of presence we are able to access throughout the day. No matter where you are on your path, you can observe how you are treating the moments in your life and find ways to honor them and experience them more fully. Are you using parts of the day that are your least favorite or that you dread as a means to an end? Do you rush through things to get to the next? Do you allow yourself to feel that things will be better when this chore or task is complete? Is there constantly some future moment that seems like it will be a better one that will bring you happiness? Is there some change that would make things much better? Are you distracting yourself from your real life? Are you truly present to the Life you already are (we don’t have life, we are Life)?
Many people live in the state of waiting for the next thing much of the time and don’t even know that they are not present in their life and much of their experiences are passing them by. It is like sleep-walking without knowing it. Your real life is there waiting for you to join in and you’re busy wishing something else was happening and resisting what already is. Our life is made up of a bunch of moments and the one we are in is the only one we can ever actually live; life only comes in the form of now. This crazy relationship we have developed with time is truly a dreadful way to live and sure to bring suffering as we dwell in resisting what is. If we have a certain number of moments while here on Earth in this form, why should standing in line at the pharmacy be any less meaningful and present than attending a party or celebration? Why is the drive to the event something to hurry and get over with? How do we treat any moment as something to throw away? We don’t have to; we can treat all of our moments the same and enjoy Life the way we are meant to.
Here are a few ideas that may help us do this no matter where we are on our path; they should apply in every situation (easy to say, harder to actually do…wishing us all the ability to live these things…with practice, we can do it!):
- Accept Everything – Yesterday, for example, I woke up with excruciating back pain that was making it hard to breathe and a sore throat that felt like swallowing cement. As I groaned in pain at every move I made, I also felt this wonderful sense of peace in the background. I knew I had all these reasons mounting that would prevent me from doing what I needed to do for the day (or thought I needed to do)…but it really didn’t matter. It slowed my day down and gave me many joyous moments I may not have experienced otherwise. I resisted nothing, adjusted with the details, and in doing so, my throat pain eased up and my back improved dramatically. I had a really peaceful day filled with a lot of sweet moments (even the kids and I cleaning up our third plumbing issue in the past few weeks…we just made it fun). I could have resisted and been frustrated and stayed in all kinds of pain and misery, but in going with the flow, I accessed my inner peace and it was quite lovely. I know from past experience that resistance and worry over things helps them hang around longer. My day didn’t improve because I started feeling better…I was already there in the peace found in the moment and the details came to match the real me…rather than me allowing my circumstances to pretend to be me. The truth is that everything happens as it should and everything passes. So, why resist anything? Just accept it all. Sometimes we face little things like the examples above and sometimes we must face major difficulties and tragedies…practicing on the little things will help us when things really get tough. Accepting every little thing as if you chose it will prepare you for anything and lead you to true inner peace that won’t depend on your outer circumstances.
- Label Nothing – Part of accepting everything is learning to label nothing. We have a tendency to label every single thing that happens as good or bad. Truth is, we don’t really know which it is and we’re just guessing or reliving past experiences and assuming they will be the same…the experience is really neither good, nor bad, it just is. By not labeling, we don’t have to draw on the past or take ourselves to the future to project how it will work out. We get to truly experience each thing and each moment and use the energy we would have wasted on labeling it for actually living it. We open ourselves up to all that Life is and expand to more of ourselves and the world around us. We truly grow.
- Get Comfortable With Not Knowing – If we already know how this is going to go, then we aren’t really present to it. If we are playing things out in our minds by reliving things and projecting futures that may never happen, we aren’t there, we’re lost in some other experience. Not knowing means we really open up our senses and awareness and see what happens. It is magical. I actually think this is an entire post on its own, so I will try to keep this short. The not knowing is so much better than the knowing…it is amazing. You know how the more you learn, the more you realize that you have so much more to learn…well, it’s kind of like that. It’s like, the more you don’t already know, the more you have to live. I love it!
- Slow Down – Just try it. Nothing bad will happen, you can add more space around things, take more breaths before you talk, more quiet before you react, more opportunities to just be. You can build your life to support slowing down, even in today’s world. You can choose your pace and make it stick. You can make little choices and little changes slowly that point you in the direction of taking all the time you need to enjoy all the life you are. You can do it! On time is when you get there because you are already there.
- Ritual – Anything can be a ritual. We recently started a tea-time ritual at our home. It’s a work in progress, but we’re trying to have a midpoint in the day that reminds us to slow down and enjoy where we are. We are assigning duties to each family member to put it together and we are formally sitting down to sip tea, talk, enjoy silence together and eat our crudités, fruit and tea cookies in presence. As we prepare it, enjoy it and clean it up, we can bring honor to it by making it a true ritual. This ritual is a new one we are adding midday, we have our morning meditation and prayer, then we have poetry at night. This added reminder in the middle of the day is quite helpful. You could pick anything and make it a ritual worth honoring and as a tool to bring more presence into your life. We recently added meditation bracelets to our morning practice; we put them on to remember the peace we felt on our mat and bring it to whatever moment we are in throughout the day. Pick anything and make it sacred…even sorting the laundry, sweeping the floor or brushing your teeth…it really can be done. Taking the time to honor things and make them sacred is so healing and can add so much peace to your life.
- Listen — To everything and everyone. Rush no person and no experience. We are not in this world, we are of this world…everything is speaking to us and telling us something. Manage your relationship with time so that you can hear Everything.
- Love — Just had to put it here because it is always the answer and of course, all we ever need. Spread it and receive it well.
These are just a few ideas to help us stand up to time. Your soul already knows which ones will help you most; sometimes we just need the reminder that the time to do it is now. Now is all there ever is. Wishing you presence, peace and freedom found in timelessness. Sending you love and joy today and always!