An awareness of time
*This newsletter is intended to offer information only and recognizes that individual issues may differ from those broad guidelines. Personal issues should be addressed within a therapeutic context with a professional familiar with the details of the problem. Copyright 2018 Simmonds Publications: 550 La Jolla Blvd., 306, La Jolla, CA 92037
Give yourself the time of your life.
When we get right down to it, we have to draw one inescapable conclusion: time is our most important asset. Unlike most assets, there never seems to be enough of it. There are always so many things to do, so many pressures, so many things to keep track of. Our life seems to whiz by, and where has the time gone? If time is your most important asset, why do we know so little about it? Why do we stay so busy yet accomplished a little? Are our accomplishments all that important in the overall scheme of our lives? In a sense, when we simplify our lives, and become aware of the rhythms of life, that occur internally, we can cultivate our sense of time, and we can self-knowledge that generally escapes us within the bustle of our daily lives.
Think about what modern day life encourages us to do. We need to keep up with the news, drive to work, perform meritoriously on the job, work overtime, maintain a spiritual life, have many friends in a few deeper relationships, be a good partner, and perhaps a good parent, keep up with TV and movies and books and music, and all the new ideas, travel, have several hobbies, dress in the right fashions, spend time on the Internet, keep good credit, be a good neighbor, and participate in the community, do volunteer work, take classes, exercise, and so it goes. It is little wonder that many of us feel so pressured. In the end, what really matters is how well we have lived, not necessarily how much we have done.
Until the Middle Ages, there were no clocks. Other cultures even now measure time more in terms of seasons or natural cycles than by hours and minutes. Just two or three generations ago people had much more free time just to be, to enjoy, to develop more meaningful relationships. This is not to suggest that we should go back in time, because we cannot. But we do need to get in touch with our more natural internal rhythms, which are a primary source of stability and health, and to incorporate this awareness into our everyday lives. Rather than trying to squeeze more activities into the time we have available, it may be more helpful to examine what is really meaningful in our lives, and to devote our time to those pursuits. The quality of life can be much more meaningful than the quality of things we try to cram into our lives. In other words, we may need to develop a new relationship both with ourselves and to time.
Some of us have become so accustomed to adapting to the pressure of the external world that we have lost awareness of our internal state. The “high” that accompanies our adaptation to the stress of modern life, becomes something like an addiction. The busier we are, the more we feel alive. Yet our anxieties increase, and we lose track of the experiences which truly matter. Our health deteriorates, our relationships become superficial, and our sense of our own self evaporates. We long for something meaningful, and we lack the tools for finding it. The solution to the dilemma includes a paradox: we gain time by giving up time.