Admittedly, I have little authority to speak on the topic of time considering my track record. I’m slow and despite my anxiety when it comes to keeping on top of things when life gets busy, time management is still not my strong point. But, my situation is just an example of one aspect of our oftentimes failed relationship with time.
Here’s the thing, even for the most on top of it people, time tends to consume us. Our lives go by, we do what we do, we work, we socialize, we waste time, we rush, we wait, but ultimately time takes our days away and we look back to something that no longer exists.
There are moments in our lives we wish could go on infinitely, others that feel like they’d substitute a great definition for infinity in the dictionary. But, ultimately much of life in our human experience in our modern society, is a life in which we spend many moments in a rocky relationship with time.
While we’re here, we’re essentially on a date with time. But, those moments that we want to hold onto forever and the moments that we wish would end immediately represent us failing to meet up for our date with Chronos. You’ve heard it before and I’m not intending to preach to the choir, but we only have the present moment. Live in the now, fully and completely, and your date with time in this human body will unveil all its secrets and beautiful things to you. Live in the future and in the past and you miss this life.
So what about those moments that suck? Those agonizingly painful moments we’d all like to never have to experience. I’d like to think that, much like I alluded to in my previous blog post Rising Above the Struggle, we encounter these challenges to help our soul grow. The quest is to get to that place where the present moment can gift us with its presents of self-growth. However, we can only receive such gifts when we meet the present moment with our full presence and awareness.
When we are hoping and wishing for something different, or to be near loved ones, we aren’t fully engaged with the present moment. While we’re in that state of longing, we’re allowing life to pass us by. Sometimes, if we aren’t happy with the present, we can take action in the present to change the course of our direction to invite more happiness into our lives. However, sometimes we are faced with challenges or simply moments in our lives when we are apart from those we love and we must learn the gift born out of acceptance. You see, longing is a form of resistance. Once you accept the situation, you either find yourself creating a new blueprint to change directions or you begin to see the gift that your challenge presents you with.
Pain can force us into the “now” moment more than almost anything else. It also forces us into intense internal cleansing. Pain often brings us down to our knees; bad habits temporarily swept aside and prayers made with promises of never doing this or that wrongdoing again. Even if it’s not always heeded, pain is a signal that can bring us to the point of letting go of all the unnecessary and holding close the truly essential. Love and support become our mainstays. Frivolous things and less than ideal states of mind like jealousy, reach so far to the periphery of our consciousness that in a moment of agony their existence becomes irrelevant. Pain does this all and makes us dig deep and get in touch with the essential within and around us, if we let it. And, to let it we must accept it and breathe the moment in its fullness. As an aside, breathing deeply allows one to more easily cope with pain and other difficulties.
On that note of breathing, doing it deeply and intentionally is a key to opening up the gifts of the present moment and living fully. It’s also at the core of meditation which can aid in bringing one into the present moment. Meditation doesn’t mean you have to sit cross legged like a yogi. While some meditation techniques do require that one sit, certain forms of meditation can be done while one is active. For instance, you could be in a meditative state as you’re washing the dishes. Meditation is relaxing the mind and coming into full awareness. The type of meditation that I am referring to here is called mindfulness meditation. If you would like to learn more about mindfulness and living fully in the present, I urge you to check out anything by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen Buddhist monk who has written many books on the topic and advocates living a fully present and mindful life.
On that note of being on a date with time, here’s a cute collaboration called Destino that was done in the 1940s by Salvador Dali and Walt Disney (but produced and released only in the past decade). In Dali’s own words it’s “A magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time.” It beautifully depicts the ever changing nature of reality and how we can’t grasp at anything, including time. Enjoy!