TIME TROUBLES US.
It is because of time that we grow old, and because of time we die. These are worrying things. As Aristotle put it, ‘time crumbles things’. And we are scared of our own crumbling, and the crumbling of others. We feel an urgency to get on because time is short. To just do it, as Nike said. But is doing the answer? Or does doing actually speed up time? Wouldn’t it be better just to be, even if less sporty footwear ends up being sold? Time does go at different speeds. As I’ve said, the few months in 1999 and 2000 when I was deeply ill felt like years. Decades, even. Pain lengthens time. But that is only because pain forces us to be aware of it. Being aware of other things also helps lengthen time. This is all meditation is. Awareness of ourselves in the amber of the moment, to use Kurt Vonnegut’s term.
It Sounds easy, but how much of our lives are we actually living in the present? How much instead are we either excited or worrying about the future, or regretting or mourning the past. Our response to all this worry about time is to try and achieve things before it is too late. Gain money, improve our status, marry, have children, get a promotion, gain more money, on and on for ever. Or rather, not for ever. If it were for ever, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. But we kind of know that turning life into a desperate race for more stuff is only going to shorten it. Not in years, not in terms of actual time, but in terms of how time feels. Imagine all the time we had was bottled up, like wine, and handed over to us. How would we make that bottle last? By sipping slowly, appreciating the taste, or by gulping?