Slow Dancing With Life
Our time is limited. At 28 years old, I'd be incredibly lucky to have another 60 years on this planet. The fact that we're going to leave this world one day puts a stress on our shoulders that we carry in all our routines, schedules, commutes... all of it. There's an incessant rush that develops. We've gotta move! Get it done so you can be done with it and get something else done - we're running out of time!
Or we can practice a shift in perspective. We could choose to have a slow dance with time. Can you remember the last time you stared at a clock and waited for a minute to pass? It's not a lot of time, but under the right circumstances and mindset it can feel like an eternity. We've all been there - stuck in a waiting room or a long line at the airport. In these situations, the minutes drag out into mini forevers and our awareness of the drag makes us antsy for it to be over. But think about this: just the fact that time can slow in unfavorable situations is profound, because that means we can reverse the paradigm and experience that slowness whenever we please. Similarly, we can find comfort in the drawn out eternity of a single moment.
I love this little passage from Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach. It feels relevant in an abstract way. The lines touch on the power of perception and embracing the inherent magic in reality. We should never look back on a month as days crossed off a calendar.
"The days blurred one into another. We flew as always, but I had stopped counting summer by the names of towns or the money we earned from passengers. I began counting the summer by the things I learned, the talks we had when flying was done, and by the miracles that happened now and then along the way to the time I knew at last that they aren’t miracles at all. Imagine the universe beautiful and just and perfect, the handbook said to me once. Then be sure of one thing: the Is has imagined it quite a bit better than you have."
These things called miracles are nothing more than reality. As one guru would say, we're swimming in a great ocean of magic. Perhaps we shouldn't even call them miracles at all. The word creates a separation that implies a discontinuity with the direct experience of life. As if miracles come from beyond... Reality itself is a miracle, yet it so easy to forget. Take a deep breath and drink it in! Scoop up a handful of sand and you're holding eons of history in your hands. Flowers are intelligent enough to sprout through the cracks in a concrete sidewalk. There is an inherent richness to the world that transcends time. While our lives are finite, we don't have to be bound to the concept of time. When the mind rests in the moment, life becomes full, spacious, and whole. There is no reason to rush when you can't be anywhere but right here, right now.
What if we stopped counting our years and started counting our experiences and teachings? The definitive moments that shape us create much more lasting impact than a birthday - unless, of course, your birthday occurs during one of those moments... Looking back on my 28 years, I see that I've lived through various lifetimes. My body is different now, my eyes have developed a different vantage point of the world; I experience the same exact places I walked in my youth with a completely different perspective. And it's always changing. Constant flux. Reminds me a quote by Heraclitus,
"No man ever steps in the same river twice for it's not the same river and he's not the same man."
These lifetimes of mine are strung together on the same tapestry, but at every step of the way a different person was wielding the yarn, learning, growing, and evolving all the while. The journey doesn't cease in the line at the post office or on the summit of a mountain peak. We're swimming in this magical world until we leave it for good. And even then, the vibrations we've created will flutter off to echo into forever.
Sometimes, moments can strike you so deeply when you're not searching for anything at all and a truthful clap of thunder echoes through your gut. These moments can happen anywhere. They are our eternal teachers. We just have to slow down, keep our ears to the sky, and listen.