You rush from one task to the next conditioned by a false sense urgency. The modern obsession is about getting more done in less time. The seduction of busyness and its rapid cycles that oscillate back and forth between this and that. Efficiency is the self-imposed tension of getting more things done in less time. Your participation in the frantic neon world of time management offers you the illusion of accomplishment.
And it is here, trapped within the pathological short-sightedness of industrialized time, that you languish in a temporal confinement not of your own making.
Time is not “out there,” it flows deep within. Aging is the sacred expression of time. Embodiment is the rugged frontier of your temporal inheritance. You cannot “tell” time anything, but you can feel the magnificence of its energy moving through every cell in your body. Your authentic participation in time is the felt sense of becoming old. Even the unfamiliar aches and pains you experience are the children of time. There are no clocks or calendars that offer guidance here. You are a living embodiment of time taking part in vast cycles of emergence, presence, and disappearance you cannot comprehend.
You do not manage time; it manages you.
You seek control over time, but what you achieve is the illusion of control. You avoid the primal, feral, and untameable nature of time and preserve the superficialities of time management. You have felt the destructive tension that is a 60-hour work week. For years you endured tyrannical schedules that catapulted you from more of this to even more of that. You know, too well, that the actual product of time management is tension, distress, and anxiety.
There is an important truth that you forget: Time is about your quality of being, not the efficiencies of your doings.
What is your temporal location right now? Are you meditating on that elusive phenomenon called the “present moment?” Is it 9 o’clock in the morning or Tuesday or August? Are you at work or on holiday? Are you in the final third of your life? Are you having the “time of your life” or do you feel as though your time is “running out?” Has time somehow sped up? Have you ventured into your unlived life? Are you haunted by foreboding feelings of time passing you by? Are you leaning into the primal energy of impermanence and recognize that your time here is fragile, fleeting, and uncertain?
Occasionally, remind yourself that time originates deep within the animating forces of life. It is a creative force that conjures patterns of emergence, presence, and disappearance that we cannot comprehend. Transience is the fate of every individual life.
Time is our most precious resource.
What will you do with your life now?
[Back to Frontier – Body]
- In A kairos moment: Prophecy and hope in the time of COVID-19, Emmanuel Katongole offers a summary of two ancient perspectives of time: “The ancient Greeks had two words for time: chronos and kairos. The former refers to chronological or sequential time, to time as a measurable resource. Kairos means an appointed or opportune time.”
- In modern society, time is dominated by chronos, or mechanized time. with respect to aging, chronological ideas are relatively meaningless except in the discipline of statistics. This article proposes that aging is a child of kairos because the experience of becoming old is a constant sources of the profound, the unexpected, and, most of all, liminality. In this sense, aging can help us reclaim the wisdom that time is all we really have and even then we can never know how much lies ahead.