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Changing Time

Turning back the clocks has gotten me really curious about this thing we call time.

In our youth time seems to move so slowly it almost feels like it stops, and we imagine that there is 'so much time' ahead of us. But after we've made a bunch of trips around the sun many of us feel that time is going way too fast, we yearn for the chance to slow it down, and we confront the reality that we have 'more time' in our past than in the future. In our language we use phrases like, "wasting time" or, even worse, "killing time," and all of us talk about 'spending' time. When we 'get into the flow' (like during yoga practice!) it's as if time stands still. I've taught plenty of yoga classes during which it felt like we 'bent time,' incorporating so much more into the class than seemed possible, in a remarkably relaxed and easeful way. And once in my life, as a potential catastrophe was about to occur, I had that strange experience of events unfolding in what felt like slow-motion; my experience of time literally slowed down. Fortunately the calamity was averted. We say, "Time flies when you're having fun." And I imagine everyone has had the experience of incessantly looking at the clock, waiting for their shift to end, with 'time' dragging on and on.

It seems 'time' is much less certain than it may at first appear. What if 'time' doesn't move but we move through it? What if time is actually eternity and what we call time is the experience of our lives moving through it?

It does seem that the apparent movement of time slows down when one is very attentive to details. Krishnamurti used the example of looking out the window of a moving car. When your gaze is vague or dispersed it appears that everything is moving very quickly. But if you look at a single object, like a tree, everything seems to slow down. Applying this principle of being attentive to details may be a way to slow down the experience of time passing. Slow the mind down, become very present, open up through all of your senses, notice what is actually occurring and appreciate it fully.

In any event, I hope you agree that, if there is a thing called 'time,' it is incredibly valuable and we need to treat it as a most precious resource. None of us knows 'how much time' we have here. There's no marketplace where we can purchase more of it. And whenever we 'run out of it,' it will feel like it's too soon. For me this has given rise to some inquiries, like: 'What do I have absolutely no time for?" and "What have I been putting off, waiting for the right 'time?'" How do YOU want to spend your time?

Perhaps ultimately, we come to realize there is only NOW. When you recall moments of your life it's as if it has occurred in chapters. You might say things like, "Oh, that was when I was in college," or "... back when I worked at that company," for example. Is it striking to you, too, to realize that when those events occurred, your experience of them was 'now;' that your entire life has been a continuous unfolding of now?

And so, we grapple with 'time.' Changing the clocks is like moving through time zones. Be gentle with yourself this first week. Practice Yin Yoga, Tratak visualization, meditation. Drink lots of water. Get off the screens hours before bed. And, please, share with me your musings on time.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.



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