Yesterday I read a post on the OBOD Message Board that talked about the difficulty of finding time for spiritual activities like meditating and studying. It asked: ‘Am I the only one finding it hard to find time in the day to study the OBOD training materials and meditate?’ And of course people piled in saying ‘Me too!’
I think this is a big problem for many people. And it’s not just about finding time for spiritual activities. It’s often about finding time for just living fully too. I wonder why time seems in such short supply for so many of us? I read a quote recently from a Dr. Bradley Willcox, who wrote that: “We in the West suffer from hurry sickness. We try to do more and more in less and less time, and that kind of constant stress can have devastating long-term consequences.” And we all know that stress accelerates ageing and increases the risk of diseases.
I’m going to add my voice to this ‘Me Too’ response, because I’m often battling to find time for everything I think I need to do. So let’s explore this problem together! I’m going to offer you what I’ve come up with over the years, and please share what you’ve come up with.
1. Every time I find myself under stress and thinking, “I don’t have enough time,” I tell myself, “You have all the time in the world.” I know I’m kidding myself at one level, but metaphysically I believe this to be true and this ‘positive self-talk’ does calm me down, and seems to create a sense of having more time. I don’t care if this is an illusion!
2. When faced with overflowing in-trays of snail mail and email, and a long list of things to do, I decide which items to prioritise, then just focus on one thing at a time, do it, and then move on to the next. If I look at it all, I become paralysed – it’s all too much. So I narrow my focus, attend to one thing at a time and plod on. And surprise, surprise, the piles do eventually get cleared.
3. A while back I watched a film called ‘She’s Having a Baby’ and in the closing scene, as the baby is being delivered, the father’s voice-over is heard and the final words of the film are: “What I was looking for was not to be found but to be made.” And I think that’s a good position to adopt in relation to Time. If you are always looking for Time it evades you, it’s always just around the corner. So don’t try to find Time, make it! It shifts you from being at the mercy of it, to being proactive and creative, rather than constantly running after it.
To go deeper now, let me suggest a way of tackling this issue at the spiritual or magical level. We are all beings incarnated into the world of Time & Space – the two dimensions we are constrained in. Lots of us don’t have enough space, let alone time – think of all the poor and dispossessed people in the world – one of our world’s greatest tragedies. But we won’t consider Space today – we haven’t got enough time! Looked at another way, Space and Time are commodities that we want that are often in short supply. Maybe we can reach Peak Space and Peak Time too!
After much struggle over the years, Stephanie and I have enough space – Space is our friend. But Time is still if not an enemy, then at least someone who I have been trying to befriend over the last few decades, and I’m still not entirely sure we’re friends! Of course thinking of Time as our enemy is not a good idea. I want Time to be my friend and my ally. And I guess you do too, so let’s try now to foster this relationship by consciously reaching out our hands in friendship to Time.
In our meditation in the Sacred Grove we slow down and open to stillness. We get in tune with Nature’s rhythm, which feels good: natural and slow. We leave the Grove and come to a slowly-flowing river. We announce to the world around us, to the spirits around us, to ourselves, that we want to be friends with Time, to have Time as our ally. We sit on the river bank and are soothed by watching the water, and the river wildlife. We ask for a blessing from the Spirit of Time. We might wade into the water for this, or it may be enough for us just to sit and be with the river in our own stillness. We return to the Grove to finish our meditation.
One of the benefits of brief meditations like this, is that within these short moments of time we can create for ourselves ‘moments of timelessness’. That’s the value of a spiritual path or discipline – it can help free us from the pressures of Time and Space, if only for a few moments. So maybe that’s a good beginning if you feel under time pressures, just try to dip into timelessness in brief moments as and when you can, and perhaps you will be able to gradually extend these moments to minutes, until each day you are indeed making the time for what you truly want.