When my younger son was four, he told us very seriously that time did not exist. At the time, we agreed; what an insight we thought. However, I am still unsure what he meant by that. Time is such a vast topic; I could write a thick book about it – the problem is that I don’t have the time and probably would be wasting yours by philosophising about it. I will keep it very brief.
Whether it is a construct of our mind, of our civilisation or a physical/biological phenomenon – time seems to have taken a central place in our lives, and it has become very hard to ignore. Most of us take for granted the way we relate to time, though, and do very little to make peace with it. If we are restless, always running, trying to fit as much as possible into our schedules, stressed or tired, it is very likely that we are battling with time. Time is often seen as an adversary that we need to manage.
We may have a defunct efficiency ideal – of trying to do more in less time, rather than doing what matters most in the time it takes. Focusing on meaningful activities and looking after ourselves by regularly doing nothing, I believe, is a more effective way to lead our lives. This effectiveness is difficult to master, but it may be one of the most useful skills there is. Make peace with time. Do less, be present, plan a little, breathe, focus and act on the most important tasks, and learn to stop. When we are at peace with time, we may come to the same realisation that my son came up with when he was four. When one is truly mindful, there seems to be a timeless vastness that we can access.
Photo: Yuriy Kovalev