Welcome to my reflections on time, or at least some aspects of time. I am by no means attempting to answer any of my (or your) questions. Let’s just open our minds and be in quest. I invite you to investigate your own notions on time and relationship, and also your look closely at (your) habits around them.
In Ojai i heard the expression ”spirit time”, when asking what time it is (i’ve come to feel that the question it itself is nonsens – keep reading, please). Attending to a thing at the right time may not be the same as being on time according to the writing in a program. It’s a Californian thing i think. So being on spirit time might mean that if , say a meeting or a lecture is planned to start at 6pm, it just might actually start att 6 pm but it also might be that one could drop-in from 6 pm, and eventually the thing will begin some 15 minutes or a half-hour later. I do realize that some of you reading this might be thinking, ”you should go to India and look at time perspective”, but actually i need not go that far – although i’ve been to India – it’s the same in Spain, and in my family also, but we’ve never called it spirit time, we’ve just called it irritating. Not always of course, it depends on the persons in charge, but you will be having some drop-ins during the first halv hour of the thing. Time seems to be sort of a frame of reference rather then an actual hour on the clock to commit to – let’s start when we feel like it.
Of course, i’m generalizing, there are those with a different clock-sense of time even on the east coast. And then, there are visitors from Sweden. In Sweden you’d be committing a crime (sort of) by not showing up on time. Spirit time is just mostly considered disrespect (because it seems to us that we are so important and not spiritual ; ) And also, spirit time would make the carefully built and standardized structure completely collapse – a sort of spiritual anarchy-hell would brake loose. Time and commitment to the minutes and hours, are EVERYTHING.
It’s interesting what hang ups we have and how obvious they become when we’re in a different context (while still insisting on holing on to our patterns). Flexibility is a condition i have been forced to practice a lot in my life because of unpredictability being the constant. Therefore some things must serve as a steady ground. If there is anything i have been rigid about, it is time – clock time. Although this rigidity loosens up greatly when i’m NOT in Sweden.
When i look back and scrutinize my patterns and conditionings, i notice that i have witnessed and been subjected to a significant lack of respect (might we use this word) considering people’s time and also in contrast a fascist time-keeping – at the same time. As i am writing this, i realize that this might be the result of having too much time – doing nothing involuntarily for too long, alone, one grasps attention and a plan like a crazy person feeling like finally have something, i am someone. This also means that relationships become unknowingly responsible for upholding the structure, not necessarily because we wish so, or because we care, but simply because we need relationships to acknowledge our worth – by them showing up in front of us, on time. I don’t mean this is a Swedish thing, or even my thing (although i do see some patterns), i am not born nor fully raised here, i have different cultural influences from both sides of the equator. My longing, my heart, my challenges and my sense of time, are on both sides. (More on this in another post). And then there is the condition of no time – ”i have no time syndrome”. Very prevalent in my usual surroundings. No time + lots to do (questionable but not questioned) = very important person. Actually the connotation is ”i just might be even more important then you – so excuse me being late, not showing up, or/and do not make me wait for you”. Again, we have a whole structure built on this. But the question is, if we wish to breathe deeply and be steady, and friendly, how do we get along with this cultural structure? Let’s reflect.
Spirit time – meaning you have enough to do or not do, satisfied with or without the commitments you may or may not have committed to. In other words, you’re OK with whatever and you have permission to participate, or not, as it suits you. NO COMMITMENTS REQUIRED. Then – you are on spirit time, nobody’s time is particularly valuable, including yours and what the heck, time is an illusion anyway, so why bother.
On the other hand, spirit time has nothing to do with chronological time. Spirit time is NOW time – timeless, mening i do/ i am what is required of me on each given moment. As my teacher Raviji often reminds of, the present moment, the eternal, maybe we could just call it spirit time, is not of time, neither is it against time or opposed to time. So we should be able to plan for the future, and be in the moment at the same time in full awareness ; ) Which requires not wising to be anywhere else, nor do anything other then that which is at hand, in this moment. The whole enterprise of Yoga practice, is this. Therefor when we get together, while we wait for friends, and we work, when we are challenged, we are in no hurry, all is being done according to plan, this frame of reference to lean on but not be limited by. I can’t help feeling that this would only work in communities where this sort of life is encouraged, supported and is the lifestyle of most. When i am in Ojai, when i am in Mallorca, when i have no external demands on me, spirit time is my time. When i am in my usual location, where i live, spirit time is challenged, not dismissed, but in struggle. And that is where the practice begins. Spirit time is not based on time nor the external world or relationships. It is an internal connection, a relationship between the me and the I AM. This is my practice.
When are you in spirit time?