Monday, June 24, 2013

Time: Learning to "Be Me"

In developing a sitting practice, a common experience is that the sitting is difficult because it is challenging to remain still, or focused, or because it is experienced as "boring," or seems to "take forever."

Of course, these all stem from thoughts ("this is taking forever"), feelings ("I feel antsy") and body sensations ("restlessness") that the insight of mindfulness regards as the very objects to which we pay attention.

Because we may not yet be adept at noticing these experiences and sitting with them, we turn our attention outward in the hopes of finding "a more immediate" relief. Ready solutions include: getting up, jotting down a reminder, getting something to eat, deciding to find a better time to sit later in the day--and so on.

Often, and somewhat interestingly, we imagine we would sit just fine if the experience went faster. And "on good days" we might marvel over "how fast it went." But of course when we sit on a cushion or chair and meditate, we are living life--perhaps more fully than we do much of the day when our minds are caught in distraction--and what does it suggest to us that we wish it went faster, or are pleased when it does?

So, rather than force our way through a sitting--impatiently wanting it to go faster-let's rejoice in the time that it takes, whatever that may be. And it will feel different each time we sit. Just as the breath changes, so to does our perception of the passing of time.

And just as the breath can be the object of our attention, so to can our perception of the passage of time. Sometimes is it slow, sometimes it is fast. Sometimes it is smooth, and sometimes it is choppy.

If we would like our life to proceed at a comfortable pace (let's call this its natural pace, unencumbered by the distracted mind and restless body), so that we are less likely to look back and wonder where did the time go and how did it go so fast, let's bring into our practice an interest and appreciation for the passage of time--and perhaps a joyful embrace of its sometimes slow pace.

We might think of the coming together of our perception of the passage of time with the passage of time (whatever that means) as "right time."

Finally, as a reminder of this insight, notice that the word time ends in "me." Notice also, that the beginning of the word, "ti" is the seventh note of the major scale (remember "Sound of Music") and the seventh note is "B."

Notice time, embrace its passage, and learn to "Be Me."

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