Thursday, February 6, 2014

Where to Find the Time

There is a silly little saying among those who practice meditation:

This is one of my very favourite side effects of meditation – the gift of time!

Before I began my practice I was a warrior of frantic doing-ness. There was always somewhere I had to be, someone I had to meet, some ‘thing’ I had to get made or baked or cleaned, dropped off, picked up or planned. Even the most well calculated day was assuredly destined for a mid-execution schedule redesign. No person or project in my circle was free from the threat of concession... and it was familiar. I wanted to do it all, like I knew I could….if I only had enough time. 

I wanted more time to get things done, more time to linger, to rest, to play and to enjoy. I wanted to be one of those people who had time to tie her green beans into tiny bundles and spend Tuesday night at the movies with a friend. I settled for time to pee.

The very notion that in the midst of a full schedule I would consider squeezing in 30 minutes for meditation each day is probably evidence of some borderline delusion illness. I should probably have gone to have my head examined.

But I didn’t, I went instead to sit in a chair quietly for 30 minutes – I managed 5 before my brain butted in and reminded me that I didn’t have time to sit and do nothing.

5 minutes…I managed that every day for a few weeks, then I managed 10. Eventually I managed 20 then 30…today I could probably manage an hour or more… if people would just stop needing to be fed.

The amazing thing is that I ‘found the time’ without removing anything; I didn’t sacrifice a single item on my to-do list to make room for meditation. Meditation made room for itself.

More than that, it made room for everything else on my list—everything! From cleaning the stove to painting my toe nails! Room to watch movies with my family on a weeknight, room to get the laundry folded and the teenagers shuttled back and forth to work. I rarely miss a hockey game and I found time to stop for coffee on the way to the arena.  It’s crazy! (‘Amazing’ crazy not ‘get your head examined’ crazy) Beyond having enough time I actually have extra time…(Spare time—I think it’s called)……I can’t even make this up—such  a thing does exist! ….Time to read, to write, to keep the rink, to go to the movies, the mall, and to linger at the kitchen table. 

I have so much time I am baking biscuits for Sunday supper and washing dishes before I leave for work in the morning. I shovel the driveway because I have nothing more pressing to do and I linger in the shelves of the library far longer than I should have the right to.

It sounds too good to be true, there are still only 24 hours in a day and I sleep for at least 8 of those!

Nobody arrived with a magic wand or a time machine I did it all by myself, 5 minutes at a time. I want to tell you how Meditation magically makes time move more slowly and frees up so much space in a schedule but I’m not sure that I would explain it easily. It just does.

Perhaps it is because things become less urgent, less necessary, and less critical. Maybe it’s the stress reduction or the pace reduction. Maybe it is because a light shines on what truly matters and filters out the noise and bustle of the ‘have to-s’and the 'should do-s'. Maybe in ‘the quiet’ a mind subconsciously organizes and prioritizes and knocks things off the list that don’t really need to be there. 

Do I care how it happens, what the science behind the phenomenon is?


I have found an explanation that will suffice. Meditation is a solid sure path to your nature and….