Time Is Not Our Own

How will we spend our time ?

                                     I’ve been
trying to stay ahead of the instant messaging. I find it a challenge-it’s like
trying to reel in a fish and then have other fish jumping out of the water
simultaneously. Another image that comes to mind is standing at a griddle and
forever tossing pancakes on plates!

                                      We are
increasingly living and working in a faster paced environment. Like selecting
your television remote to play again a desired movie or television series from
Netflix, our working lives and what others expect of us can feel like you are
“on demand. “

                                      There is
no time for reflection, hardly an opportunity for clarification of what is
being asked for, instead the procedure needs to be done now.

                                      As the
Doors once said:

                                   “We want the world and we want it now! “

                                    The
challenge becomes, however, is that our notion of time can differ greatly from
others and from different cultures.  Some
of us from western societies tend to view time as linear, i.e. there is the
past, the present and the future.

                                     Other
societies will view time as more of a circular process, there is birth, there
is death and then there is rebirth.

                                     John Potts
has noted:

                                  For long sections of its history, humanity has understood time and space through the prism of mythology, which provided narrative descriptions of the origin and nature of the world. Religion provided a later account, as did philosophy and, most recently, science. The experience and conceptualization of time and space have been rendered in many forms, according to many systems of thought; there are striking differences, as well as surprising similarities, between the earliest mythological descriptions of the origin of the universe and the Big Bang theory of contemporary physics. A

by J Potts – ‎2015

                               Another dynamic that is at
play is the importance of remembering anniversaries. We may remember an
anniversary like the first Earth Day fifty years ago. Another society will
remember an atrocity that occurred eight hundred years ago-and the memory of it
will be as vivid as if it happened yesterday. This phenomenon has created great
confusion and consternation for some diplomats as they try to pursue effective
diplomacy with other countries.

                           
We don’t appreciate time the same way.

                            
How then do we remain calm and not reactive to the ever-increasing speed
of life and remember again the cycles that are rooted in eternity?

                            
I would suggest that we need to take the long view regarding how we
appreciate time. Although what we do with our lives is important, we need to be
aware that we are a part of a greater process in creation.  What is manifesting itself now in our present
circumstance may not have full effect until centuries from now.

                           
This notion doesn’t mean that we must appreciate ourselves less as a
part of creation, but it may mean that we adjust our perspective in terms of
what is really of immediate importance right now.

                            Those who came before us
sought solace in the turning of the seasons, of ritual both found in cultural
and religious, secular expressions and in the knowledge that life continues
unto generation to generation.

                             
We need to remember what Paul Tillich said regarding focusing on
“ultimate things. “

                           
Now, if I can just get rid of my startle response to instant messaging!

                            
May it be so.

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