Four Ways to Free Yourself from the Tyranny of Time
Welcome to 2018! Most of us have just come out of a very busy and sometimes stressful holiday season, but with renewed hope that maybe, just maybe, we can get a handle on stress and manage our time a little bit better this year.
Just because the world has been sped up through technology is no reason for us to be ruled by it to the point where we are stressed beyond all limits by the treadmill of time stress. What follows are four ways you can break free of the tyranny of time.
1. Remind yourself that time is a product of thought. Minutes and hours are conventions, agreed upon so that we can conveniently meet and communicate and work in harmony. We all get 24 hours per day. How we see that 24 hours and what we do with it can make all the difference in whether we feel we have “enough time”, “too much time” or “not enough time”. So we need to look at our expectations of ourselves, and be aware of just what we are trying to accomplish and whether we are paying too great a price for it.
2. Live in the present more of the time. We spend an inordinate amount of time rehashing the past or worrying about the future, and these moments are hardly ever satisfying. Usually they produce anxiety and time urgency, as in “time is running out”, or “those were the good old days”. Cue the practice of mindfulness – paying attention on purpose. Mindfulness in daily life is to make every moment you have your own. When you are fully present, you become in touch with life in the only time you have to live it – namely right now. Whatever you are engaged in takes on a greater richness when you drop out of auto-pilot and into awareness and acceptance.
3. Take time each day to just be – in other words – meditate. The reason this is so hard with respect to time stress is that you are basically stepping out of the flow of time and residing in stillness. But just making the commitment to practice non-doing, to let go of striving, to be non-judgemental, slows down that time for you and nourishes the timeless in YOU.
4. Simplify your life in certain ways. How are you spending the time you are given each day? To simplify means to prioritize the things that you have to and want to do and, at the same time, consciously choosing to give certain things up. It may mean learning to say no sometimes, even to things you want to do or to people you care about and want to help so that you are protecting and preserving some space for silence, for non-doing. Maybe you don’t need to run around so much or have so many obligations or commitments. Maybe you don’t have to have the TV on all the time. Maybe you don’t need to be on your phone or social media so much.
Mahatma Gandhi was once asked by a journalist, “You have been working at least fifteen hours a day, every day for almost fifty years. Don’t you think it’s about time you took a vacation?” To which Gandhi replied, “I am always on vacation.” Of course, the word vacation means “empty, vacant”. When we practice being completely in the present, life in its fullness is totally accessible to us at all times, precisely because we are not ruled by time. Time becomes empty and so do we. Then we, too, can always be on vacation.
To learn more on this topic, register for Mary’s Two Part Course on Meditation January 26 and February 2. See details in the Events Tab.