Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Time is a Season

--by David Whyte (Nov 16, 2015)

Most traditional human cultures have seen the hours of the days in the same way as they have encountered the seasons of the year: not as clear lines drawn across our experience, but as an advancing quality, a presence, a visitation, and an emergence of something growing inside us as much as it is growing in the outer world. A season or an hour of the day is a visitation whose return is not always assured. Every spring following a long winter feels as miraculous as if we are seeing it for the first time. Out of the dead garden rises abundance beyond a winter eye's comprehension.

The hours and the seasons are sometimes a flowering, sometimes a disappearance, and often an indistinguishable transience between the two, but all the hours of the day and the seasons of the year enunciate some quality in the world that has its own time and place. To make friends with the hours is to come to know all the hidden correspondences inside our own bodies that match the richness and movement of life we see around us. The tragedy of constant scheduling in our work is its mechanical effect on the hours, and subsequently on our bodies, reducing the spectrum of our individual character and color to a gray sameness. Every hour left to itself has its mood and difference, a quality that should change us and re-create us according to its effect upon us.

In many traditional cultures, a particular hour of the day is seen to have a personal, almost angelic presence, something that might be named - though only in hushed tones, and only in ways that reinforce its unknowingness. The Benedictine, Brother David Steindl-Rast, defines an angel as the eternal breaking into time, each particular breakthrough of the numinous utterly extraordinary and utterly itself. Time and each hour of time is a season, almost a personality, with its own annunciation, its own song, its whispering of what is to be born in us. Its appearance like a new conversation in which we are privileged to overhear ourselves participating.

To escape from the prison of time is to grant the hours their own life; to uncurl the iron grip of our hand on any given moment while at the same time finding the ability to be more present, more robust, more open to our own self-evident absurdities, while continuing the conversation. 

Excerpted from David Whyte's book, "Crossing the Unknown Sea."

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Previous Reflections:

On Nov 15, 2015 david doane wrote:

There is a scripture passage that there is a time for every season under the sun -- a time to reap and a time to sew, a time to laugh and a time to cry, etc, etc.  I've always liked that passage.  I think there is a season for everything, as everything and every person has its time, comes and goes.   Nothing is permanent.  The challenge is to seize the time that is present, live it with awareness.  The eternal has broken into time for me in moments of intimate interaction with a person or with nature.  In those moments I don't pay attention to time, I forget about time, and I've felt outside of time and in harmony and oneness with the other or nature.  Such moments have only been for a few seconds or minutes in clock time, though they sometimes feel longer and are very special in experiential time.  Living by the clock makes me a prisoner of the clock and wasting of time.  Being present and open helps me escape making time a prison, and time and I are free and alive.

On Nov 15, 2015 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 We bind ourselves by closing ourselves to the ever flowing river of time.When my mind is fully present in the moment, I feel the touch of the ever flowing time. I am in the flow of time fully immersed in it.The water of time is flowing and I am flowing in the water, with the water. I am blessed to have such flowing time when I listen to music, take a walk in nature, meditate, and place my self in the loving hands of people who are fully present in the moment.There is fullness in such timelessness. I describe it as the being zone, a zone of doing nothing but just being.Such being zone is described in this beautiful poem:

Sitting by the river
doing nothing,
spring comes 
the grass grows by itself.

Another poem captures it in the following words:

Ten thousand flowers in spring,
the moon in the autumn,
a cool breeze in summer,
snow in winter,
if your mind is not clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.-Wu Men

May we all learn the art of living in the present that gives birth to newness in the womb of now-ness!

Jagdish P Dave

On Nov 16, 2015 Liz Raphael Helgesen wrote:

I struggled to grasp this Reading and had to read several times.  But as walked away from the recording studio, I found myself asking, "what is the personality of this hour, this moment?  How can I be in it, contribute to it, change it for the better, for someone else's life?"  I will go and do that now. With love.  Liz

On Nov 16, 2015 Sunil,Bangalore wrote:

 Time is also the Age. Every age is a different season in itself. Child- Youth- Adult- Old age. Each stage in the life has its own flavors -  happy appointments - sad disappointments but the life force(soul) remaining the same in each time. The point of time during this journey when one understands this truth,is the time(age) of reckoning- revelation. Different for different persons.Fortunate/Divine are those to have this as early as possible. Then one can strive to be timeless/agenda less. Follow Kabir who said"Lere Nam Lere Nam,Nam Se tire Re Bhai. Minakh Janam  Fir Na Mile". " Yugan Yugan Hum Yogi, Awadhoota(wanderer)". "Apni Madhi Me,Khelu Sahaj Swa-ichha". "Hum Hi Sidha Samadhi Hum hai".

On Nov 17, 2015 Mamta wrote:

 Thank you for this beautiful sharing. Helps me to make friends with time. I feel this is one of the vital ingredients for peace. I had never thought about time like this before. I had been wishing to be more present - but of course present moment is a slice of time. Something seems to be clicking into place deep inside me through your sharing.

On Nov 17, 2015 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

 Time as seasons in my view is time as ebb and flow, light and dark, sowing and reaping and allowing ourselves to be aware of all those rhythms. In many parts of the world there is now an unnatural frenetic pace and people and the planet are paying for it in sickness and in stress. When we slow down and are aware of the rhythms through mindfulness it can be transformative and so relaxing. I have felt eternal break into time when I am fully present whether that be in solitude in nature; closely and quietly observing the flow or a river for example or when I am with another and I allow my heart to fully open to that person and that moment; it is as though time stops to allow us to soak it al in.  Meditating helps me escape the prison of time as does going for a walk especially out in nature if possible. Being with animals sometimes helps too, they are so in the moment whether sleeping for hours on end or blissfully playing. Thank you for a reminder I needed today. Hugs from my heart to all of yours.

On Dec 23, 2015 Somik wrote:

 Liz, your recording helped me soak in the wisdom of the passage, and I listened to it many times before entering the circle at Awakin Santa Clara.

Two thoughts came from that soaking and the sit. First, I like to be in a time of wisdom, but if time is a season, that means I must have passed through the opposite season, that of stupidity, to enter into this one. The season analogy seems to work, not just for the past, but also for the future. If I am in a season of wisdom, I must gently advance into the season of stupidity. No two seasons are the same as David Whyte says, and so also my future stupidities are of a different nature than my present ones - and they are direct enablers of future wisdom, that are quite different from my present wisdom. Staying attached to what I know now would make me learning-disabled. In order to continue learning, I have to learn to be vulnerable and be ok with not knowing, making a fool of myself, and enjoy a season of stupidity, so I may then receive a new season of wisdom. I can only hope that it is not the same season of stupidity over and over again :).

Second, I found myself wondering about time itself. While it is true that mechanical time is largely an illusion we have created (one of my teachers always responds to the question "Do you have time?" with "I always have time, the question is what am I going to do with it"), the same teacher once reflected that time is that which prevents everything from happening all at once. It causes separation, and separation allows for experience. Without separation, there can be no experience. And with separation, it becomes possible to experience the joy of unity. 

Some people at the circle reflected on the wonder in a child's eyes that reminds us to look differently at each season afresh. I was reminded of my own toddler daughter who is currently in India while I am in the US. When I call her these days, she notices (if I am on video) that it is dark at my end, while it is light at hers, and asks in a squaky voice, "Daddy, is it night time at your home?" I say, "yes." And she says, "Oh, it's day time at grandpa's home." And she giggles. I didn't realize how wondrous this is - two people connected at the same instant of time, and yet, experiencing two very different times! 

Thank you, Liz, for everything that you do, and thank you to all the Awakin commenters for the beautiful reflections - I love reading them!

On Feb 16, 2016 l wrote:

i was always punctual & then after brain surgery  I seemed to forget time & it's so called living with a GBM grade 3 I am continually late or am I?