Letting Go of My Obsession with Time

In my post yesterday I wrote: “I am learning to let go of this constant obsession with time.” This is not easy. As many of you readers know, one of my practices is “Daily Pages” as recommended by Julia Cameron in her Artist’s Way. Almost every day I begin those pages with some reference to time: the date, of course, how late in the week/month/year it is, how late in the morning I am writing, or how I had to skip pages yesterday because I was too busy. It truly is an obsession. And I wonder if it is getting worse as I get older.

So, I am working on this obsession. Yesterday I wrote in my pages on how I was going to let go. I was writing in the context of settling in to our new home and how it was going to take – TIME – of course! Here’s an excerpt:

It is clear that my relationship with time needs to change. I am very serious about this. I don’t know if I have to learn an indigenous language without the “to be” verb. I’m sure it would help. But this seems to be an intellectual exercise. What I need is to experience time as a native. I need to sink into time and live in it rather than through it.

Time is like a lake or a pond. It extends out in all directions. Events are like pebbles tossed into the pond. They ripple out, like echo rings. They may even bounce back when they reach the shore. And the pond returns to its serene state after a bit, smoothly available to the next event. I am the pond and I am the pebble. I am the ripple and the echo.

All this is inside, an internal vibration of consciousness. There is no beginning nor end to it. It is simply there as a phenomenon of awareness. It is all inside. It is nowhere else. It is a single note or an entire symphony, a cacophony of noise or a harmonious orchestration of experience.. It is up to the mind to filter and sort, to decode all the signals into a stream of intelligence.

But it’s all there, right now in this moment, to translate into meaning. Time is but one mechanism by which we translate the signal. It doesn’t have to follow in a linear fashion. It can spiral, it can circle or vibrate to and fro. It can echo and bounce. It is a matter of tuning the translator so we can grasp meaning from the noise.

My tendency is to stretch the noise into a straight line; I can look along this line and see a beginning and end. I take some comfort in this view. But I am uncomfortable with this notion of “end”! This limits time for me. It creates this notion of commodity that can become scarce and run out! This is precisely what I want to change.

I need to retune my translator. I need to view time as a spiral that circles and climbs. Everything circles! From spinning subatomic particles to the spin of galaxies and the Universe, the circle is eternal. “what goes around comes around” – Karma! Does the spiral have a linear motion? Or is it an ever-widening series of circles? This returns me to the question of direction. Does time have one?

The Buddha would say there is no getting off the wheel of Samsara until all desire is eliminated. Surely the desire for more time is one of the first desires to go! And when it is released the notion of all time is here, right now in this moment, gives me all the time I ever need!

As with everything in life, this retuning of my translator through which I view this human conception, time, requires practice. It is an inner practice. I am fortunate to have a guide in this who sets an example of a different way to view time. Rosemary’s article, The Karma of Time addressed this subject this past Wednesday.

How do you view time? Is it straight or does it circle or spiral? Does it have a direction? Does it go anywhere or is it more like a pond, resting quietly, waiting for events?

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