“Time has passed in the blink of an eye.”
How many times have you heard an old person use those exact words? One day they wake up to the fact that their lives are nearly over. Perhaps it feels as if they haven’t lived, or haven’t done what they wanted to. At any rate…time flies.
One of the greatest paradoxes in life is that we all know we are going to die, but it takes a while before we start thinking about death. A young person feels immortal, they have their whole life ahead of them. A middle aged person has 30 or 40 more years. Even at 60, 70, or 80 we think there’s still a little more time. But how much time do we actually have?
The Sad Song of Time
There are 24 hours in a day, but most sleep and work for 16 hours. Some say that leaves us with 8 hours for “leisure activities”. However, in those remaining hours we must maintain our bodies, cars, and homes. We must shop, cook, and bathe, and eat. If we have kids most of the time goes to them. How much time do we actually have to do what is most important for us? And as we get older, will we have more time, energy, or resources to do what we want, or less? Our health may prevent us from doing much more than survive.
My Wake Up
I’m a chiropractor/acupuncturist. I used to begin my day at 8:00 AM, and by lunch, I was almost an hour behind schedule. By the end of the day, I was another hour late. I rationalized my tardiness because I was trying to do the best job possible.
Then I did the math.
I was losing 2 hours a day, 5 days a week. That’s 10 extra hours a week, or 500 hours a year. 500 hours is almost 21, full 24 hour days. Not including sleeping, eating, and maintenance time.
My passion is to write. Even on a day off, the most I can put into writing is about 4 solid hours. That means I was giving up 125 days, or well over 4 months of days off! Days that could have been spent doing what I really wanted.
Even if you cut that in half: an hour a day for 5 days a week, is losing 250 hours a year. Cut it in half again. Let 30 minutes slip by and you’ve lost a month of days off–a huge chunk of concentrated time that you could be using to do what you want most in life.
There is time to do what we want. We just have to trim some fat from the time that we let slip through our fingers.
The Cycle Of The Day
A day has definite cycles, and you’ll want to harmonize the day with your particular biorhythms. For example if you stay up too late, you might not have the time for morning yoga. If you eat too late at night, you might not be hungry for breakfast and you fall out of harmony with your preferred rhythm of eating. One can easily lose significant time, and get out of harmony with your cycle. Just leisurely futzing around on the Internet can get us off kilter and into another cycle of the day, which is why many productivity gurus suggest not looking at your emails first thing in the morning.
I’ve heard that Depek Chopra wakes at 4:00 A.M., does an hour of yoga, an hour of meditation, and an hour of writing. If true, then by 7:00 A.M he’s already performed his essential self care, and has furthered his writing career. Then no matter what happens with the rest of is day, at least the essentials have been done.
I’m not suggesting that you get up at 4:00A.M. Some people are natural night owls. I’m suggesting to find the ideal rhythm for you. The idea is not to be a hard nosed fanatic, but to harmonize yourself to your own biorhythms so you get the most enjoyment from life. To do so we must be aware enough to master time.
Accomplishment and Mastery
Completing large or detailed projects require many hours of time, and mastery of anything takes many years of practice.
Time Adds Up…both ways
Most people figure there’s not enough time to get anything done if they only have a minute or two, such as before you need to go to work, or in the few minutes before a meal. But a lot can be accomplished in a minute or two.
I still have young children, and work full time. Like many busy people, I must be patient with my writing, and other projects I want to accomplish. I take a few minutes here and there, before lunch, between patients, and while the bath is being filled. Time is like water wearing down a stone. Eventually my books get written and my projects materialize. Don’t underestimate the power of a few focused minutes.
Find A Vision
Many people don’t know what to do with themselves (don’t have a clear vision how to share themselves) and so they’re bored. If bored you have to find something to kill time. Most use some habit or activity that occupies the mind. Much wastage of time comes with these mind occupying devices. They should be explored to see if they are serving you. (See my book the road to peace runs through The Valley Of Death, Chapter 14, Dark Meditation) Mastering time becomes much easier when you know what you want to do in your life.
Once you know what you want to do, keep it in your heart and at the forefront of your consciousness. Persevere–what I like to call relaxed perseverance–until you take your vision to completion.
Suggestions for mastering time:
Find your Vision.
Find your own best rhythms and cycles.
Keep Awareness. Even a few minutes of time adds up.
Keep Death on your shoulder. No one knows how much time they have…