If there's anything that all of humankind shares, it's that we're all trying to be okay in our lives, with the same allotted time in the day.
There are countless differences among us - faith, nationality, race, age, occupation, cultural values, and more - but time, and our desire to be okay, are always there. And truthfully, they are far more important than the rest of the stuff, which is all ephemeral.
All of the things named above come and go. Faiths change. Nationalities morph as civilizations separate and combine. Ages are ever-changing, and occupations too. But what doesn't come and go is us - the beings that collectively experience all of those things.
When we feel like time is against us, like there aren't enough hours in the day, it helps to take solace in the fact that time is one of these few core tenets that humankind shares. No matter which corner of the world you look, every living being lives in the same realities of time, regardless of who they are or what they're doing.
But why doesn't it always feel like this? We know people have the same 24 hours as us, but why do some seem to accomplish so much more than we do?
We're doing our best, planning for the future, helping our loved ones, and striving to help ourselves. But the time keeps slipping away. Minutes turn to hours, hours turn to days, and days turn to years.
It seems like whatever we're doing, time has a way of creeping back in, reminding us that it's there, that the clock is ticking.
Are we doing something wrong? Where is the time going? Why does it feel like as soon as we get in a groove, time's up? Monotonous routines of daily life quickly seem to sap our time and energy, leaving us wondering where our lives are going.
I often find myself stressing out about how much time has passed in the day, or wishing time would go faster when I'm not having a good time. But if stay connected to the approach of this blog and examine why I'm doing that, it's because my experience of the present moment isn't pleasant. In other words, I need the time to go faster, or slower, because I'm not okay right now.
If we analyze our battle with time, it's often due to our resistance of the present moment and our immediate desire to use time as the scapegoat.
Slow day at work? Why can't the time go faster?!
Enjoying your vacation? It went by so fast!
Nearing the end of your life? Where did all the time go...
A slow day at work is one thing. But when we're on our deathbed wondering where the time went, that's not so fun.
Lots of people study and implement ways to get more done and be more productive. That's all well and good, but is that really the right answer? Who said more is the answer to our desire to be okay? Who said less is better, either?
My thoughts are that it's neither more, nor less, that will fix the problem. Do however much you want. Instead, the answer lies in how we experience the present moment. How often are we making time the enemy? How often are we throwing the blame at the clock? How much of our thinking is spent on wishing reality were different?
Like the present moment, and most things in life, it's less about their nature, and more about our relationship to them. If our relationship to time is one of scarcity, constantly wishing we had more or less of it, that it goes by faster or slower, then we're never really at peace. I am plenty guilty of this.
Going forward, start to notice throughout your day when time becomes the enemy. See when time creeps into your present experience and shows its face.
You don't have to fight it when it happens. That will make matters worse. Just recognize time creeping back in, pause, and smile at it. You're only ever doing what you're doing. You can't be doing something you're not doing. So don't let time rear its ugly head.
You might even try thanking time for reminding you that it is passing by, and remembering that everybody around you shares that experience. Let the clock be a reminder to always bring focus back to what's important. Often, what's important is what's directly in front of you.
When we feel like there's not enough time in the day to do what we need to do, it helps to remember that we all have the same amount of time. But I don't say this from the perspective you're used to hearing it from. I say it from a perspective of compassion.
Remember that we're all just trying to be okay inside, with the time we're given. It's one of the few common denominators all of us share as human beings on planet Earth.
We don't know how much time we have left, and recognizing the time passed is no longer relevant. All we ever have is now.
Live with substance!