Lack of time is the number one reason why people don’t go for their dreams.
So many of the things we say we want doesn’t happen because we don’t have time. So much of the pressure we feel is due to a sense of not having enough time, of time slipping through our fingers, of always being behind.
That pressure manifests physically in our bodies. Take a moment to feel it now. Where do you feel the pressure of time?
Your shoulders are tight. There’s a pressure over the chest, your stomach is in a knot. The reactions are very similar to those of fear. At its core, the time-related stress is fear. That we won’t make it. That we’ll loose the grip and fuck up. That we’ll never get to where we are allowed to relax. That we’ll never manage to plow through the everyday slug and get to the stuff we really want to do. That in the end, it will all have been in vain. All that pushing, striving, forsaking, hurrying and we still never got ahead.
We’ve been taught that time is limited and scarce and needs to be managed, controlled and portioned into sufficient chunks throughout the day. This is a core belief in our society. Our culture is saturated by it. Advertising builds on it. Time management systems capitalises on it.
There’s not enough time. That’s the mantra, and it’s not only claiming its toll on our bodies, but on our happiness, our ability to love, and our creativity. It results in constriction, the very opposite of expansion and flow.
Let’s dig a little deeper here, because in order to shift your relationship to time, you need to first take a look at your relationship to presence.
Time is closely related to space. In fact, the two are inseparable. (This is supported by modern physics, but That’s a whole different article.)
To be present means to be where you actually are, in time and space. To fully inhabit your body, and to mentally neither linger in the past nor strive towards the future. It means to let go of your mind’s scattered hurrying here and there, and relax into the reality of the situation you’re actually in. The impressions of your senses in this moment, the feel of your body against the different surfaces that surround and support you, awareness of your breath moving your chest, repeatedly, rhythmically.
When you fully occupy the space that you’re in right now, time seizes to exist the way we believe it exists. It’s linear nature dissolves and it takes on a quality of being. Pay close attention and you’ll notice that time is no longer an independent force outside of you, but a resource to tap into, inside of you.
In moments of absolute presence, the pressure of time simply no longer exists. It’s not something to be believed or not, it’s a fact. No time rushing towards or away from us. Just this moment, expanding into eternity.
When that happens, when you experience that moment of expansion, of absence of time, it becomes very clear that time as we normally think of it requires thought to exist. Thought dwelling on either the past or the future. No thought – no time. Just as past and future does not actually exist, except as thoughts in our heads.
That’s the true nature of time. If you were to live in that state of continuous absolute presence, such a thing as lack of time would no longer be possible. Everywhere you are, there’s the present moment, everlasting, full to the brim. Harbouring the potential for everything you need to do. No exception. No mistake.
When you’re not present, when you for some reason resist where you are and what you are experiencing, the opposite happens. You withdraw your consciousness from your body and from the space around you, and when you do, there’s nowhere to go than to your mind.
And in your mind, there’s no space. Only the on-going current of thought, dealing with past or future, striving to be everywhere but where you actually are.
All of a sudden you are off hunting for the next moment again, and then the next, and time becomes as real as the gale blowing outside your window, toppling you over, always rushing towards you and away from you. Impossible to control, to catch up with, to grasp or utilize.
When you fully occupy the space you’re in – when you become present – you can relax into whatever task is before you right now. You will be free to attend to it, to the best of your abilities, knowing that is all you’re ever required to do. The work at hand.
Not tomorrow’s list, not all the things you have not yet done. Just this. Just the work at hand. Attend to it from that space and watch it turn into art.
The doer and the artist finally becoming one.