Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Precious Time

"Now"
- in my meditation garden-

Our youngest son celebrates a birthday today. He is now a grown man working on an advanced degree in neuroscience; and yet I can't help but flash back to the time when he was a child – the family vacations, the impish antics of that little red-haired boy who always brought a smile to our faces.

When our kids were young, I used to think that time moved very slowly. I was always trying to push time forward, on to the next things in life- the schools our children might attend, looking for a new family home, my future career paths. 

On a day like today when I celebrate the birthday of an adult son, time suddenly seems to be moving very, very quickly - I just can’t imagine that so many years have past. Now, I want to slow it all down.

I think maybe there is a lesson in all this for me - I am learning something about the very nature of what “time” is all about.

In some ways even the very idea of “time” as we traditionally understand it doesn’t even exist. Time is not some “quantity” given to us for our use, not something we can use properly or waste away, it isn’t something we can either speed up or slow down, time isn’t something that can be revisited on birthdays or fast forwarded by engaging in strategic planning.  

Time is a flow that we do not control - in which we all participate.

This morning I came across something Eckhart Tolle once said about “time”- it made a whole lot of sense to me:

Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion.
What you perceive as precious is not time but one point that is out of time:
the Now.
The ‘Now’ is precious indeed.
The more you are focused on time - past and future -
The more you miss the Now,
The most precious thing there is.


I think it’s really true that the only “time” that ever really exists is “now” – everything else is a human construct, constructed memories about events that happened in the past, invented ideas about what might happen in days yet to come—the only “reality” is now.

Tolle also said:

Most of us are never fully present in the now because unconsciously
we are either living in the past, or thinking about the future,
believing that the next moment must be more important than this one.

But then you miss your whole life
which is never ‘not-now.’

Today I can “best” celebrate my adult son’s birthday, not by spending the day nostalgically reliving my memories of the past nor by shaking my head at how fast time seems to be moving, and certainly not by wondering what the future may yet bring. The very best way I can celebrate this day is the way I want to celebrate every day - by focusing on this moment, this precious time – it’s the only thing that’s real and I don’t want to miss it.

Happy Birthday Joel!

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