I have had a life-long struggle with Time. No, not the news magazine! I am emphasizing the word to indicate the importance of this phenomenon in modern life, at least this modern life.
Do you have enough time? Do you “spend time” like coinage? Do you catch yourself wasting time? Or even worse, do you “kill time” when you are waiting for something to happen? How many ways do you look at time? It sometimes seems almost alive. Often it seems like a commodity. Sometimes it’s the rarest of possessions. Other times it slips through our fingers like sand.
My struggle with time is I don’t seem to have enough of it. And knowing that time is nothing but a state of mind doesn’t necessarily help me reconcile the need for “more time.” I have had many teachers help me with this concept of time and my sense of it as a commodity that I need more of. I’ll get to Rosemary’s article in a moment but first I want to examine time from an indigenous world-view.
One of my teachers about time is Martín Prechtel. Growing up in an indigenous culture and then working and healing as a shaman in Mayan society in Guatemala, Martín has a very different understanding of time. And he works very hard to impart this indigenous understanding to his students. There are many native (Martín would say “natural”) languages that aren’t based on the verb “to be.” Entire languages developed without this sense of past, present, future as a central theme, understanding, and therefore, world-view. For me this has been a concept I’ve wrestled with. Martín suggests the best way to grasp it is to learn a language which has no “to be” verbs. I have, as yet, not taken on this assignment. And maybe that needs to be my next step to better understand, and more importantly, to let go of my obsession with time.
For Martín and his indigenous family time is more like ripples in a pond, echoes on the breeze, a spiral dance of moments that swirl and evolve gently. It is most definitely not linear. Past and future both are echoes of now. It’s a beautiful way to look at time. And it is certainly more relaxing than never having enough, running out, spending it foolishly!
My other teacher about time is Rosemary. We have always had a different take on time and I have always both wondered about this and admired her understanding. She always seems to have enough time, just enough. She seems able to take the time she has, all of it. She doesn’t waste it or spend it foolishly. And she doesn’t seem to hold on to it or grasp for more. Rosemary’s NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Psychology) teachers, whom I studied with as well, described two types of people: “in-timers” and “through-timers.” The in-timers are people who seem to float along as if they have plenty of it; this describes Rosemary. I am a through-timer who seems to be constantly running to catch up, to be on-time, to maximize the use of time.
I am learning to let go of this constant obsession with time. Rosemary’s view certainly helps; her article helps. But I think there is more to my “learning” about her concept of time, of the indigenous concept of time than an intellectual pursuit. Time, after all, is nothing more than a human invention, a concept. So we can imbue this concept with attributes that are more to our liking. But we also have to experience it with those attributes we would choose. Experience must support the change, the learning, the growth.
“All time is in this present moment.” Do you get this? Is this easy for you to understand? I’m working on it because I think there is a vital key here to unlock a very precious piece of knowledge. And all I need to do is fit that key to the lock and turn it!