Where are we running to? What are we running from? Why am I rushing headlong to burn out each sacred day? I wind up the clock till there is nothing left to turn or see or feel or do or hear or need or know or be.
When I return to Toronto after a week or more away, not matter where I have been (unless it is another time-whore like London, New York, New Delhi, Mumbai, Tokyo, LA, Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, Chicago, etc.), I am immediately struck by the complete absence of any natural rhythm - between myself and the place i have stepped into.
If I have been away to rural area for over three weeks, I find that i have to almost quite literally kick my mind body into gear, jolt myself into the pace of the race that chases dreams away. You may have experienced this yourself after a vacation or long trip to a rural place.
Before too long, I am once more entrained, I am once more hustling, bustling, hassling, pushing so hard that I am too busy to see reality pass my life by. Before i know it, i have 'returned' to the witchcraft of urban decay.
But we are not bound to be cursed if we happen to live in a city. We just need to take control, whereas in the countryside nature provides the rythmn.
When I first enter a new room, a new relationship, a new town or country, I am struck by how much I see. My hungry eye is slow, my curiousity engaged, I am open, vulnerable, fragile, willing to be broken, surprised, contradicted. And for this small price, I am take so much more in. The spell of time is broken, I am free.
More is experienced in less time because I am less preoccupied with what I am meant to be doing or saying. The longer I am with something or someone, the less curious I become, the faster time flows by and the less is achieved. Familiarity may not breed contempt, but it certainly kills contemplation.
Take this simple challenge, this afternoon or tomorrow morning. Simply reduce whatever your normal driving speed is by 10mph. Don't worry, you wont kill anyone, if anything you may be slightly annoying (to fellow rush addicts) but also a lot safer.
Turn the music, radio or phone off. Let your impatience be, resist the temptation to be dragged along at the pace of the road worriers. You might notice something.
You might discover that the same routine route you take every day, the same roads, houses, trees and corner stores now greet you with new eyes. You may arrive home no more than five or ten minutes later than usual, but you may be unusually, specially, refreshed.
If you don't drive, the next conversation you have, allow silence in. Don't rush to fill every second with a word. Ask questions rather than speak, listen deeply, inquire, deeper than it is normally comfortable to do. But use the silence to allow the other person permission - to think, rather than react in auto-response to whatever comes first to the mind. Allow the ripple of the water to settle. Peer into a new reflection. But this requires courage. It is not easy. Why?
Why don't we have time for love-affairs with the ones we love anymore? I don't mean something sexual, I mean to be engaged in the affairs of the heart. Why have we become such willing time-whores? What are we afraid of? That we will run out of time? We will run out of time soon enough. That is for sure.
Perhaps it is time to allow the wound of busy-ness to heal? To snap out of the witches spell. To be here in true revelation. To enjoy the ones we love not for any reason or to any end, but enjoy them for the person we still don't know because we (and they) did not take the time to reveal. Whenever I do this with another human being they are uncomfortable for sure but it is often, the most precious gift i or anyone has ever given them. Time for them to be with their own uncertainty and wonder.
Fear of boredom is the biggest driver of our economy. If I am not working, being entertained, serving or being served then I might be found in my cozy rented jail cell - doing time (sitting in the rush hour traffic jam or glued to small talk on twitter or anethetized to react in preconditioned ways to rythmn of the latest talent show).
The true currency of flow is to be found in nature, things are slow and then there are bursts of speed, then slow and then burst. These cycles are connected, the slow growth of the a tree or flower that appears to blossom in an instant over night. The clouds that gather slowly before they burst down upon us.
Plutarch wrote: "Courage stands halfway between cowardice and rashness, one of which is a lack, the other an excess of courage". Perhaps we are so consumed proving to ourselves and our neigbours just how heroic we are that we have no time to pay attention.
Being busy, in a rush and out of time is trendy otherwise why would we suffocate every minute of our waking day with so much noise? Being being late and rushed for time is almost chic, a sign of self-importance as if this is why we matter?
It surprised me when i first came to the States to find people asking "Are you busy?" and i would say "Yes" and they would say "Good" and then i would shake my head and ask "But it is not good, I don't want to be busy, I want to be effective." Which would result in an awkward silence as I had broken a cardinal law of small talk encounters. I learned soon enought that they were only asking if I was busy as a polite way of saying "are you earning money or unemployed?".
Meditation, sleep and prayer are not resting. They are a quiet ways of awakening. Of interupting the auto-pilot, of arresting back life back from the jaws of time-poverty.
When an hour is empty, the minute I am no longer defined by time, that is the moment I can define time. This is how and when the healing begins.
"How poor are they that have not patience!
What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
Thou know'st we work by wit, and not by witchcraft;
And wit depends on dilatory time."
Othello - (Act II, Scene III)