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."
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What does viewing time as we view seasons mean to you? Can you share a personal story when you felt the eternal had broken into time? What practice helps you escape the prison of time and grant the hours their own life?
i was always punctual & then after brain surgery I seemed to forget time & it's so called importance.now living with a GBM grade 3 I am continually late or am I?
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.[Hide Full Comment]
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.
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".
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
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
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
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.[Hide Full Comment]