A Zen’s-Eye View: Time is all about existence and flow

Web Lead

I’ve lost track of the number of people who say they know that they “should” start a meditation practice, but they don’t have the time. Imagine that! No time for consciously and intentionally cultivating inner peace. But inner peace is outside of time, so when you come to the Creston zendo for the Monday-Saturday 7 a.m. meditation, you have stepped out of the flow of time altogether. By doing so, you have, for the time that you are cultivating inner stillness and relaxation, freed yourself from time stress. Once you have done that, it becomes possible to flow along with time for the rest of your day.

Simply by bringing awareness to the present moment, you can end your constant fight with time and let go of the feeling of being driven by it. No matter what is happening, you can be aware of what still needs to be done in the future without experiencing undue anxiety or stress. Once you have calmed your mind, you can move towards doing the next best thing from a place of peace and calm.

On the other end of the spectrum, you may be one of those who has too much time on your hands. This often results in feelings of boredom, disconnection from the flow of life, and thoughts about how meaningless life is. Not doing anything can drive a person crazy. But a closer look at these conditions reveals that you are, in fact, doing a lot. You are doing boredom, unhappiness and self-judgement. You may be doing loneliness or resentment at something that happened a long time ago. These inner activities are exhausting and can make the passage of time interminable.

Time stress is a fundamental cause of disease in the present era. For those who feel they are racing against time there is even a word to describe the illness. It is called “hurry sickness,” and is a characteristic of people prone to heart disease. You can recognize this sickness in yourself and others. Some of the symptoms are always trying to do more than one thing at a time, interrupting others and finishing their sentences, experiencing great difficulty sitting and doing nothing, dominating social and professional conversations, and displaying extreme impatience.

For those who feel they have too much time on their hands, the words “apathetic” and “clinically depressed” could apply. Confusion about how to fill the house of each day is also a symptom. But no matter how time stress appears in a person’s life, it will easily erode quality of life and threaten health and well-being.

Suggested Practice: Try entering the day with a calm mind by beginning it with meditation. Then throughout the day, notice when you have left the present and gently bring yourself back. This way, you won’t waste the now moment musing about the past or worrying about the future. If you are fully engaged in whatever you are doing, time will disappear, and along with it, time stress.

Kuya Minogue is the resident teacher at Creston’s ZenWords Zen Centre. For more information, she can be reached at 250-428-6500.