A young man, looking very stressed, boarded the ferry-boat with all others. Though there were empty seats in the boat, he preferred not to sit. After a minute, he started pacing inside the boat. An old man watching this grew curious and asked,
‘Why are you pacing inside the boat my lad?’
Without stopping he replied,
“Unlike you, I am a very busy man. I don’t have time to sit and relax. I have to reach the other side fast!”
We are all in a hurry. Everyone complains of their busy schedules, and lack of enough time. The greatest malady of the modern world is the lack of leisure which the previous generations gladly enjoyed. But is it really true?
Coming to think of it, time was calculated precisely by humans with a lot of effort to aid him in his day-to-day life. But now, it seems that we have opened up a Pandora’s box. We are straining hard against the net of time, in which we have apparently trapped ourselves.
Mind and Time
Actually, is there something called time at all? How can we introduce a yard stick called time in the chaos of the universe with infinite stars and galaxies revolving and colliding with each other with no apparent law explaining the behavior. This is a philosophical conundrum which has baffled thinkers since the beginning of time itself.
Nevertheless, many agree that mind and time are intrinsically connected. I will even dare to side with those philosophers who argue that time is a construct of the mind. So it is us who decides how long or short time can be.
Racing the time
With modern man, everything is ultra fast. Messages can be sent across the globe in a matter of milliseconds, a process which took days, even months, just a few decades ago.
Money transactions, business deals or even access to any kind of information is just seconds away. Still we find it difficult to cope with the rush of time.
Look around, everything in nature, except humans, abides by the natural time frame. The uninterrupted cycle of birth and death, growth and decay all takes place in the right place at the right time. Nature has a time for everything.
I believe it is us, not time, who grudgingly try to win over the other. When we race time we create an anomaly which manifests as stress in our daily lives.
As children, everyday me and brother used to pull out the seeds that we planted, to see whether they have sprouted roots. Our parents used to laugh at us.
‘If you take it out every day, how will it grow? Give it sometime’ our mother insisted.
I think our childhood impatience is evident in all of humanity. We tend to push things too hard and hence unintentionally make the process slow. This makes us stressed and we push more harder, again making it slower.
Okuden, a young man seeking enlightenment, went to meet a zen master and asked politely
‘Oh great master, How long will it take to achieve enlightenment if I try hard?’
‘Ten years’ the master replied
‘I mean if I try really hard?’
‘No master you don’t understand. I mean if I try really really hard..’
Our lack of patience actually makes the process more slow. Though it is difficult, if we can give up the illusion of control, we may take great strides.
What is funny is that we who insistently complain of the tardiness of nature, sometimes try to cling on to the past and slow things down.
It is almost comical to see so many trying to slow the process of ageing. People literally jump hoops to regain their youth.
Some, on the other hand, are nostalgic trapped by some memories or catastrophes that they had to face in life. Like Miss Havisham in the Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations (1861), their life gets stuck in the moment and refuses to move forward.
All these people are unintentionally in battle with time.
One of the most poetic words on time, I believe, is from the bible.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Accepting that there is a time for everything is not as easy as it sounds. Many a times, we become too emotionally attached to the fleeting things around us.
As Krishna teaches Arjuna in Bhagavat Gita, we must learn to remain aloof and keep doing the necessary without getting impatient.
If we can laugh at the restlessness of the young man in the ferry-boat, we can very well perceive the humor in our own frustration. Learn to remain calm after doing that which is in our power and cultivate trust in the natural law of eventuality.
Remember: Patience is a virtue.
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