Friday, October 23, 2009

Befriending Time

I've got so much more of it at my disposal these days, freed from the routine of a full-time job. So why do I glance nervously at my watch, calculating how much time is left in the day to get a haircut, take my bike in, meet with friends, write this post (while feeling a tad guilty for not posting yesterday), and deal with the various other items scrawled on one of the colored index cards that guide my daily movements lately? And where was I going with this? Right. The tyranny of time.  

If I could change anything in this strange new exile to home, that would be it: forging a new relationship with the Tick-Tock Dude. One where we're collaborating like pianist and piano, or rider and bike. Reminds me of a lime rickey:

A bicycle racer named Raleigh
told a cheering crowd, "Thanks! But, by golly,
I couldn't have done it—
I'd never have won it—
Without my dear passenger, Wally."

I recently heard a snippet of Alan Watts on the radio talking about Now. How we're always in it.  True. But at the same time, Now seems to keep getting later. Not so fast, bro. I liked that moment a moment ago. (Hey, if you liked that one, you'll love the one coming up in about ten minutes...) No, Now wouldn't know about what's coming up. Wouldn't even know about what just happened. It makes me a little nervous to think about Now at all, in fact. Is it as skinny as a filament or as vast as the Kalahari? You could say it's over as soon as it begins, or that it's never over. I think it depends on whether you're walking with it or racing it. You can kind of slow it down and get to know it. 

I'm thinking of meadowing, for instance. The meandering exploration of plants, birds, vistas, close-up details, crows, snakes, and woolly bear caterpillars. You can fill a half hour with a lot of  small events or non-events. Works for me; might be dead boring for someone else. 
On the other hand, this blog isn't a self-help guide. I'm just trying to enjoy a nice long game of casino.

Lumbago simpatico rhyme
Palazzo Vienna begrime
Comanche saltpeter
and has the right meter,
it needn't make sense all the time.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Hal! When I left The Muffin two years ago, I ran smack dab into the "Tick Tock Dude," as you put it. Even though I've been meditating for years, and have consistently worked on the being-here-and-now issue, I was surprised at the difficult of having all that "free" time. In may case, I often tremendous guilt and anxiety about not making "better use" of the time. The unredeemed, unexamined stuff in my head was even turning my meditative practice into a hammer. Sometimes, I could be still and look deeply into my heart, and other times, I was just swept along and a week would seem to go by in a blink, with "nothing to show for it," according to my inner judge and jury. Attempts to take the time issue head-on, with some spurt of "discipline," usually failed after a while. (Of course they did! Where was the love and compassion?)

    Actually, some of the best release and detox from our former work place and pressures, was in my equivalent of your meadowing. Just being here, in nature, with whatever was, whatever came to mind, without judgment or purpose. Just *being.* The key, I found, was lovingkindness -- lovingkindness toward every moment, toward every single thing that rose up in me or "out there." Even kindness to each breath, whether on the cushion or on a walk-about. Didn't happen overnight, but eventually, with lovingkindness, more than meditation, per se, (though being in lovingkindness is a kind of mediation), I found my heart opening up to who I was, where I was, and my life.

    As you said, your blog isn't a self-help guide, but I thought I'd share these thoughts, since our experience is so similar, and probably, not that uncommon.

    With affection, and lovingkindness,