Meditation Notes: Time is on My Side
The other night before I was about to meditate, I heard my husband having a conversation with our son after reading him a bedtime story.
My 6yr. old son asks his dad, “How old will you be when I am 40?”
My husband answers, “80.”
“How old will you be when I am 50?”
“How old will you be when I am 90?”
“Son, I won’t be around anymore.”
My son got worried, “I don’t want you to die.” My son understands death and the permanence of the situation, because of his fascination with dinosaurs. The dinosaurs died and they never came back.
“That’s the way it is,” my husband said matter-of-factly.
I thought to myself, but it doesn’t have to be.
My husband and I waited until later in life to have children. ‘Better late than never’ isn’t exactly a comforting phrase in this case. We can’t stop time of course. We can’t rewind it, and we shouldn’t live in regret over it. But we can manipulate it.
I’d been talking to a friend lately about manipulating time (don’t ask me how I get into these conversations) so that we use the same amount of years in life, but get more out of them- it’s almost as if we live longer by living a fuller life focusing on the things that bring us meaning. It’s an obvious concept, but more tangible in terms when you do the math…
For instance, suppose one man became a father at 20 while someone like my husband became one at 40 (to our youngest). What if my husband didn’t take his time for granted and spent twice as much time with his kids than the 20yr. old who is like most people and will take his time with family for granted?
(The average person spends 30 minutes with family (no devices or distractions) each evening. Yikes!)
Essentially, if my husband and I spent an hour with the kids most days, we would have as much time with them as if we had them in our 20’s.
In meditation that night I saw time like an old pocket watch floating in my mind, something I could manipulate to my benefit by connecting it to the things that mean the most to me.
We tend to look at time in terms of quantity, and we don’t bother to evaluate quality until we’re at death’s door. Not to be a downer here, but this is actually good news! The sooner you measure in terms of quality the sooner you extend your time! Luckily this doesn’t mean doing more- it means letting go of more (not giving up as in FOMO fear-of-missing-out).
Not everything is vitally important. If it seems like a lot is important to you then this means you must choose and dig deeper.
It’s true we all get the same 24 hours in physical time, but how we experience and perceive it determines how much time we personally have. The way I experience my 24 hours will not be the same as you.
My friend who is interested in time is also an entrepreneur who realized his dream of early retirement. Having more time to spend the way he wants is like getting extra years tacked onto his life rather than being someone who works until the ripe old standard age of retirement. He began by not spending time on unnecessary things, and guess what? He got more time.
Start looking at the unnecessary things you do every day. Our mind makes it seem like everything is equally necessary and important- this is a trick of the mind. For a better perspective, get it out of your mind and onto paper.
Write down every little thing you want to get done in your week ahead. I’ve often laughed at the absurdity of my lists. Now go through and cross out the items you know are not necessary. This prevents us from getting carried away moment to moment when EVERYTHING seems important. I do this list exercise after meditation once a week when I realize the importance of feeling relaxed over feeling stressed from perceived lack of time.
Even an extra half hour or hour each day with our kids (or who we love) creates memories that live on.
Just like meditation… it may seem counterintuitive to stop and take the time to do it. However, you get additional time by getting clarification on how to best spend your time.
“You marked the minutes,” old Father Time said.
“But did you use them wisely? To be still? To cherish? To be grateful? To lift and be lifted?”
>>>On Thursdays, I’m sharing thoughts in meditation- personal thoughts, insights, and even aha! moments from my meditation life each week. In doing this my hope is that you can see how meditation can be inserted into various aspects of our life whether it’s a good day or bad. <<<