Time is a serious issue. As human beings, we suffer from the knowledge that our existence is finite, and therefore our time on earth- and what we do with it- matters a lot. We tend to think of time as a quantity that is slowly and steadily depleting itself- even as you read this! Unlike money, you can't hoard it or save it for a rainy day. You can’t know how much you have left. You can’t get a refund on time- once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
Sounds scary, right? This is how we’ve been conditioned to view time, a nonrenewable resource that we can never have enough of. We have to constantly control time in order to get more done in the world.
But in nature, time is simply an agent of change. Time turns seeds into trees, water into rain, an apple core into compost. If everything stayed the same, there would be no such thing as time. The wise Lao Tzu said, “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
Glimpses of the present moment allow us to see time in consistent action, time moving things along without any effort of our own. Try closing your eyes or looking down at the floor, taking a few deep breaths and sitting for 2-3 minutes, and notice what happens. Thoughts and feelings come and go, and physical sensations arise and transform. Through this awareness one can appreciate the effects of time as what it really is, which is change. Fully acknowledging change is to experience time and being alive.
When we were children we happily looked forward to our growth, celebrating birthdays, graduating and learning new skills, meeting new people. But as we get older, we don’t like it as much and attach ourselves to ideas of ourselves in our own minds, determined to stay the same and defeat the effects of time.
If you find yourself stuck in any way, you are likely resisting change. You are probably ignoring the time because it’s scary to submit to nature’s timeline, which is a life that eventually ends in loss.
Time is not hands on a clock or the years you have lived. Time is change.