Talk 12 — Time
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From time to time, I think it is important that we stand back a little bit from life and the matrix of time, and really ponder the fundamental truth that there is no time and spirit. We all have those experiences where we get very much trapped in schedules of busyness. But I think we need, occasionally, to remember that if we can get centered within ourselves in the realization of our unique relationship to the divine flow, we suddenly find ourselves in the ease and timelessness of spirit. Of course, this involves some special commitments to make time, to take time, to pause occasionally, and to enter in to that inner place and really know our oneness.
Maybe we need from time-to-time to reread that little bit of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus deals with this very important question. When he says, "Be not anxious. Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not. Neither do they spin. Yet, I say onto you that even Solomon in his glory was not a raid like one of these." Obviously, Jesus was well aware of the challenges of human living and we may say but times were different in those days. But, I suspect that people have always had problems with time. Possibly even Adam coming back from the countryside was rushing home to be there in time ... to be there when his wife needed him.
I suppose all through history, people have had the challenge of entrapment of the urgency of experiences. So, I think that Jesus knew that we sometimes get caught up in the frantic struggle for things and the rush against time and so, in a sense Jesus is saying, "Slow down. Life is not something to be found. Life is not something to get caught up with. Life is. You're in it. It is in you. Let it unfold. Let God be God in you."
As some of you know this last week I was in Kansas City, or east of Unity Village in the Kansas City area. But anyway, while I was riding from Kansas City, in one of the great jetliners, I realized as I often have before how we have so rapidly moved into an age of speed to the extent that we fly off to a place, in this case, about a thousand miles away and we would be very, very upset at the airlines if they didn't get us there in a couple of hours. And set up a kind of, schedule in between a situation that normally, years ago, perhaps a century ago. Might have taken weeks and weeks to accomplish. And we take for granted that this is just the way that things should be.
So, when I was flying over the terrain down below, which you can't even see from some 20,000 feet up. I began to feel the need to experience the terrain that we were passing over. To experience nature. The need perhaps, to take a leisurely walk down a country lane somewhere over Indiana or Ohio, wherever it was that we were. But no time, we're sailing over the top. And, I found myself paraphrasing the classic poem of Edwin Markim which would go something like this. "Why take these speedy plane trips if we fail to experience the travel?"
So often, we move at such a fast pace that we really get out of tune with life. And I think that probably, medical research, psychological research, psychoanalysis and so forth, are beginning to deal with this and the time will come when we will know that many of the problems that as we so often say the flesh there too, are the result of simply being out of tune. Out of rhythm. Out of the harmonious flow of life and of the universe.
In other words, when was the last time you looked at the stars? Probably, for most of us, back during the black out. When was the time you walked at a leisurely pace down a country lane or even took a walk in the park? I think this is why Jesus turns our thoughts to the lilies of the field. I don't know if you've ever realized it or not but you can't run through a field of daisies. You just can't do it. You can't rush past a lake on a moonlit night. There's no way. Something beckons you. You feel that you're slowed down to a pace that's part of a rhythm of nature and of life.
In the pace of urban living that most of us are so caught up in that we lose our objectivity to the extent that we're not really aware anymore that there's anything else. Many of the fine instincts and faculties of most of us tend to, atrophy, for lack of use. In other words, there's so much around us that we stop seeing anything and we stop hearing anything. Jesus said, "You have eyes but see not. You have ears and you hear not." I like occasionally to listen to some words of one who saw and heard more than most people and yet, who was deaf and blind Helen Keller.
She said, "I have walked with people who's eyes are full of light but see nothing in the sea or sky. Nothing in city streets. Nothing in books. It were far better to sail forever in the night of blindness with sense and feeling and mind. Then to be content with the mere act of seeing. The only lightless dark is the night of darkness and ignorance and insensibility." Some pretty challenging words.
The tendency to hurry, to be impelled into the furious pace of life. Indicates a subconscious fear. Anytime you find yourself running frantically for something, no matter how you can justify it or, working feverishly to accomplish something in a certain time. There's some fear, somewhere. We put it in the vernacular of modern day, "Well, it's later than you think."
And this, in a sense, comes out of a lack of understanding of the wholeness of life. And the wholeness of this thing called time. Which, the clocks and watches chop up into silly little fragments that we call seconds and minutes and hours. We have mistaken the idea that life is a journey between certain limited points on an endless highway. You come in to life and down the road somewhere, there's a tombstone that says, "This is where you stop." And, it's later than you think and we rush, rush, hurry, hurry. Trying to get it all done. To jam it all into the journey because, after all as we say. "Life's all too short."
And this is a totally erroneous concept. Time does not come into existence moment by moment and second by second and then path on, pass on into nothingness. Time is basically, the creation of earthbound man. There is no time in spirit and whether or not your aware of it, there's no time out there in outer space. There's nothing to set your watch by. Your watch is totally useless. There is always time enough to do the things that should be done.
So, we need to really work for the realization of freedom from time and occasionally, have an exercise where we get off the treadmill. Slow down and really get caught up with the timeless flow of life. I found personally that whenever I'm faced with to much to do and to little time in which to do it and I'm sure that most of us know that most of us get into that situation more than we would like to admit. Where there's a frantic sense of urgency. And, at that moment, where we're beginning to wonder how we can possibly do what we actually have to do at the time that is set. That this is the time to stop and take a break. "How can I take a break? I don't have time." It's the very time to take a break. When one is late. When one is burdened with a sense of urgency. Something is out of tune. And hurry and rush will not reestablish that attunement anymore than the old stick shift automobile, racing your engine would get the car back into gear if it slipped out. It just won't do anything. You'll just sit there and run your engine.
The need is to pause. To get still. And get the thought of rush and hurry out of your consciousness. And all of it's related fears which are so much the basic motivation of it all.
Most of us have been conditioned much more than we know by the western philosophy of ingenuity and industriousness. And, there's nowhere in the world where this is in any greater extreme than right here in our beloved America. And this fundamental concept that is conditioned in our minds and instilled and is all of our lives. Is probably, best exemplified or maybe, worst exemplified in the statement, "Do it now. Do it now."
Now, I know that there are a lot of persons, perhaps. Who's basic problem is procrastination, which is another thing. But I'm speaking to the person or to the level of consciousness in all persons where there is a tendency to cram our life full of every conceivable activity. The person who prides himself on never having an idle moment. Who's philosophy is, "Keep busy and get things done." And, certainly it is true that a lot of what we look with pride on in our whole American way has been done by people who have kept busy to get things done.
I was talking with a very busy man in his office sometime ago. And he was just sharing some thoughts and then, he began to turn the whole thing to where his real need was, his tensions and his physical challenges and the pressures and the reaction of the pressures, physically and emotionally and in all of his relationships and so forth. And so, he was wondering, "What can I do? What am I doing wrong?" Well, he had a sign on his desk that obviously was something that he felt very important about, very important and very sincere about. And something that he tried to communicate to his co-workers and subordinates. And the sign said, "Do it now." And I said, "Well, I think maybe, the first thing that you could do is get rid of this thing." And, I took it up and dropped it in the wastebasket.
This was a surprise to him because his life had been built on this philosophy. So, we talked a good bit about it and I think he began to see that there was another side to this industrious attitude. Getting caught up in the rigid "do it now" concept, a person may actually project himself feverishly into things today that may be should incubate a little while. May be they would be much better done in a flowing experience as time goes on. We do something's often, out of this sense of industrious and get things done, don't stop anywhere along the way. We finish things and do things and create things and get into things that maybe, shouldn't really be done at all.
In other words, it could be this is just a question that we ask. Not any kind of a static answer. But, it could well be that many of the structures of our society all the way from laws to buildings, to roads that are undertaken and forced through to completion, out of this we gotta get it done attitude. Perhaps are done needlessly and wastefully. Simply because we've been compelled with this feeling that we are a society of doers and so, we must keep doing. And in the end, the will to do and the project that come out of the will to do in a sense, bind us down and keep us from the experience of being.
In other words, it might be much better at times despite this fact that procrastination sometimes creeps in, in other stages of our lives. It might be much better at times to do it tomorrow or even, not to do it all. In the midst of the urgent pressure to get it done perhaps, there's a more urgent need to pause and be still and get in tune. Because in that attunement, there's not only a freedom from the tension and the pressure of time but also, an attunement to the guidance which enables us to feel the inner direction as to how to do it. When to do it, and how best to relate what we do to the wholeness of life.
In other words, it could well be that the unusual appeal of the young governor of California is this unbelievable concept which some can't understand or relate in any way to government or politics. The concept that says, "The best way to manage the country is to do as little as you possibly can." It's hard to understand. And yet, obviously, there are many who are beginning to find it attractive. Certainly it can be misunderstood. And I'm not to say the man is practical or impractical. But I am saying that maybe, this kind of a metaphysical or spiritual approach to things may be a balance that our land needs. I don't know.
For certainly, we cannot really tell at times, whether we're rushing because we feel things are terribly urgent or whether we think things are terribly urgent because we have a habit of rushing. I've discovered for myself that I can do a particular task in 20 minutes or I can do it in several hours, sometimes I can do it in a week. Depending upon my state of mind. If I'm hurried and tense, if I'm pressed by a feeling of urgency which I am and which I know that many of you are at times. Then the thing that I have to do, this particular task, may take many, many hours. But, if I can just slow down and get in tune with the divine flow that is timeless. Then that very same task that might have taken hours and maybe spilled over to the next day sometimes something I might mull over for a week. Just unfolds itself as if it were doing itself by some unseen hand.
I think occasionally, it's a good time to checkup on ourselves whenever we're beginning a task. And to take a look and say, "Now, when I start into this task. Do I feel relaxed about it or do I feel pressures? If I feel pressures, what are the pressures? Do I have subtle fears lurking within me that I won't be able to get it done on time or that maybe, I don't have the ability to do it all?" In other words, we need to look at this and take an evaluation of ourselves. Because, if one is relaxed and confident, then he's ready to proceed and he will probably do the thing that needs to be done easily and well.
If he's tense and pressured, then he needs to lay it aside for awhile and do some preparation much as you would take your automobile and get it gassed up before you go on a trip. Take time to be still and get in tune to the inner flow before you frantically plunge in and start saying, "Oh my. Oh my. How will I ever get this done? Why do they cram all these things on me? [00:17:21]." All the while, trying to do the task and totally destroying the possibility of doing what we do easily or doing it well or doing it without actually tearing ourselves apart within. And then after we've torn ourselves apart and feel terribly rundown and terribly, emotionally disturbed. Blaming it upon the system. Blaming it upon the boss. Blaming it on any one of a number of things except simply the fact that we got out of tune.
Sometimes, when we find that sense of pressure before we take a ... Begin to get into a task. It's very important to lay it aside for a moment and get still, get in tune. Or perhaps, take a break. Or even literally, take a walk. Remember Emerson says, "I think it is the best of humanity that goes out to walk. I think all affairs may be wisely postponed occasionally, for this walking."
In other words, it's a matter of learning something that most of us have never given any time or thought too because, in this western system of rush, rush, get it done, get it done. We have had very little if any, preparation in what is called leisure. Leisure for most people in the western world is undertaken just as frantically and just as urgently as a person going to work. "Oh, I'm running off to play golf." And, "I'm running to catch you at the next hole." And, "I'm stewing and fretting because they are too slow." And, "I'm running to the beach." And, "I'm running back." And, "I'm going off on a vacation." And, "I'm trying to see how many cities I can go to. Oh, I went to Rome and Paris and Brussels and all in three days. Course, I never saw any of them, but I can check it off on my itinerary because those are the places I went too."
So, that we get into the same hurry up, do it now sort of a consciousness so that few of us are really preconditioned to understand what leisure really is. The art of doing nothing. Joseph Peeper says, "Leisure is not only the occasion but the capacity for steeping oneself in the whole of creation."
Now, the reason doing nothing is so hard is that, when one is not doing he has nothing left but being. And this is where most of us feel insecure. What should I do? What is there to do? We feel we want to harness to something. You want to get in the saddle. We've gotta get at it. And it's very difficult when there's nothing left but just being.
Doing for most of us, and it's important to understand this because, this is one of the basic fears and one of the motivations that causes us to get out of tune and to have this sense of urgency whether a thing is urgent or not. Is that doing is so often an escape. The busy life is often driven by a sense of inadequacy. Many seemingly successful lives, owe their achievement to a plaguing feeling of inadequacy that will never let them be idle. Walking is an excellent outlet because, while walking we tend to come face-to-face with nature. And in nature everything lives after it's own kind. Nothing is struggling to be anything other than what it really is.
When we take time to reflect on being instead of rushing into doing. We come to live with the privilege of immeasurable mind as Emerson says. "We get steeped in the whole of creation." It is only in the part of creation that time becomes a factor. In the whole of creation, there's no time. Now, this is a hard thing for human consciousness to understand. Probably, the thing that we understand the least about this whole fundamental, metaphysical system which most of us are involved in. Is the concept of time. Because usually, even at this particular time, I'm watching the clock because I have a radio broadcast and it has to cutoff at a certain time. Many of us begin to watch the clock because after all, we gotta meet somebody a little later. So, we're always into this thing called time. It's very hard to free ourselves from the pressure and the limitations and boundary lines which time sets down.
So that in partial experience, in human consciousness we have what we call, deadlines which are an abomination in human experience. But in the whole of things, we have only alive lines. We live in eternity and time is always now. In the eternal view there is a completed whole. There's a finished kingdom and all that you do and seek to do is always complete in infinite mind and as we say it can be done in a twinkling of a second or it can be done in hours. It can be done in days. Or we can stew and fret about it all of our lives. In God, it is now done.
Remember Jesus said, "You say it is six months to the harvest but, I say lift up your eyes for behold the fields are now white on the harvest." In God mind, the harvest is in the seed even before the seed is born. And that's a hard one to get into our consciousness. So, when we work we need to first of all, prepare ourselves in an experience where we seek to get out of time, into eternity. And instead of doing your work on the treadmill of time, "Where oh, where? Or how will I ever get it done?" Do it in the consciousness of the freedom that the work that needs to be done in mind is already done.
And then, the mind becomes relaxed and open and receptive and free and the work literally, does itself. And so often we say, "I can't understand it. This time I started on this job and it just kinda did itself." And it can always do that when we get off the treadmill of time. So, the slogan "do it now". Has a great point of truth in it. Do it in the consciousness of the now. Slow down, get off the treadmill and become steeped in the whole of creation.
So often we say, "I have this project to do and there just isn't enough time." How much time is enough time? You ever thought about that? How much time is enough time? Time is not a quantity. It cannot really be measured. "Oh," You say, "It can. I have a watch." But the watch is synthetic. There's noway to really measure time because time is a depth, it's an aweness. You may say, "But, I only have an hour. I only have a day." And so, all you do is admit to yourself and to others that you've encased yourself in a shell.
And this timeframe will always frustrate your creative flow and time for you will be a matter of the clock ticking on but it's only where you are in consciousness. So, it's time to slow down, to look up. To get a sense of the eternal and this basically, is the purpose of prayer. Gebron says, "For what is prayer but the expansion of oneself into the living ether." Out of time into the consciousness of aweness. Blast off into outer space beyond the sunrise and the sunset where there's noway to measure time and get the sense of being steeped in the whole of creation.
And then suddenly, beautifully, there's no question of how much time do I have. The question is only, what needs to be done and as quick as you can snap your fingers. You're in the flow, guidance comes, ideas flow and the job that could take a week is done in 30 minutes. You may say, "How can it possibly happen?" That's the great miracle or perhaps, the non-miracle of life. Because, in infinite mind. That which needs to be done. That which we seek to do. That which we believe we can do, is already done if we can let it happen. Let thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. In earth as it is in heaven.
So, if you take time always, to get quiet and have a prayer experience, a silence, a quiet time of oneness. Then you'll never rush into any job with the pressure of urgency and tension. And you will be in the flow and things will be done easily and they will be done well. And without any sense of personal deterioration. And, I think it's important to be alert to signals. So that whenever, when you're about to start something you're caught up with the sense of urgency. Whether it's running for a subway or frantically trying to get a job done before five o'clock. That's the very time to say now, "Wait a minute." Get still, even if it's only 15 seconds. 15 seconds is not all that much time as you measure time but it can be an eternity in terms of, getting yourself attuned. Just a minute now. Take a deep breath. Realize your oneness with the divine flow. Realize that time can be a great servant but should never be a slave or a master or you a slave to that.
Let yourself get in tune with the rhythm of the flow of the eternal [inaudible 00:26:58] that works within you and suddenly, you're freed. The shell is broken. Now you have all the time there is to enable you. To let this process flow and now it will be done just like that.
I love those lines of William Blake. "To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wildflower. Hold infinity in the palm of your hand. And, eternity in an hour." That's a kind of relativity that I think we all need to deal with prayerfully. So, in a sense what Jesus says in his Sermon on the Mount and what I'm trying to say to you this morning and perhaps, looking in a mirror saying to myself, more importantly. "Slow me down Lord. Let me get in tune. Let me get off the treadmill. Let me get the sense of oneness with the rhythm of life. Let me get in tune with the pace that is not related to the ticking of a clock. But to the divine flow in which, great ideas easily and effectively and timelessly unfold themselves and manifest themselves in the right way at the right time. And in an harmonious outworking that is right and good for all concerned. Slow me down Lord."
Copyright 1981 Unity®
Unity Village, MO 64065