Search This Blog

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Time DOES Matter

We all know how pressured we are about time - to maximize the use of it, to move through it as quickly as possible to get onto the next critical thing requiring our attention, to squeeze as much out of or into each moment as we can.

But when it comes to developing a spiritual practice, taking your time matters.  Because it takes time to quiet the mind, to let the overwhelming amount of stuff occupying our thoughts settle and rest, and to get comfortable with disengaging from the world.

We are so used to being pulled by all the urgency around us, consumed with to-do lists and schedules and deadlines and critical news stories, and (fill in the blank of what's constantly pulling you).  We are so used to this that it's not just an external demand, but it's also an internalized habit.  We are familiar with the stress of needing to get things done, of never having enough time, or meeting more demands in less time.

So to step away from that, and let different thoughts and feelings emerge actually takes some time and practice.  It doesn't happen simply because we will it, and it cannot be forced.  Spiritual focus is a creative process, and like all creative processes, space and time must be made for that energy to unfold.  You can't simply demand peace of mind, or calm and centered mental energy.  You can't manufacture penetrating insight in the 5 minutes you've got between meetings.

Cell phone batteries are more powerful than ever before, and they charge much more quickly than they used to, but they still stake time to re-charge, and so does the human spirit.  Give yourself enough time to move beyond the usual habit of hurrying and rushing, and let the natural easiness of your mind emerge, even for a little while.

We are wired for slower thinking, and for calm and clear understanding, but with all the reinforcement around the habits of moving faster and faster and faster, it takes real intention to slow down and think clearly.    Give yourself some time.  Take a walk, go off by yourself for a little while, whatever you need to get to slower.  Some is better than none, and more is even better still.

No comments:

Post a Comment