The Clock Isn’t Ticking
July 6, 2012 § 15 Comments
Conventional notions of time management suggest that we can carve up the future into discrete packages and then use those packets of time wisely. We are told- you must be efficient in your use of time. After all, your personal allocation of time is finite and the clock is ticking.
But this conception of time actually understates its precious quality. Time has no existence for us apart from this very moment. Right now we can act and choose. That is all we have. No tomorrow, no next week.
So how then do we think about time and its use- on a practical level?
Years ago I went through a period where most days I spent hours playing a simple computer game called Minesweeper. I got very good at that game. I don’t know what compelled me to use my time in that way, perhaps a reaction to a writing block, not sure.
You could say that I wasted all those hours, time ill spent, time lost to me forever. But perhaps it was time well spent. Those Minesweeper hours might have been a sort of therapy or respite to calm my busy, anxious mind.
Embracing the Zen conception of time, you would skip all that- all the harsh judgments, as well as all the convenient rationalizations. You would not waste a single moment looking backward to judge the quality or utility of the time you spent playing Minesweeper or doing whatever. That time is gone. Looking backward is pointless. Judging ourselves is corrosive.
We will plan, we will make our appointments, we will think about tomorrow, of course. But in the doing, in the living of life, time truly has no existence apart from this moment. If we stay centered in the present moment as consistently as we can, we will use each moment as well as we can. That’s it.
In other words, the clock isn’t ticking because there is no clock, really. Just now, that’s all.