“An unhurried sense of time is in itself a form of wealth.” Bonnie Friedman
I went into retreat fully excited to throw myself into the strict, timely routine of meditation and mindful activities. I thought, as most people do, that I could train my brain to be different as well as modify my habits. There is the scientific approach that states this but the rigidity of it makes no room for the truth of what the act of meditation truly is.
On my first day, I was very exhausted from my work week but fully excited to be there and attended the tour, work assignment, and nightly meditation gathering. The next day we were requested to be awake at 6AM because our days initiated at 6:45AM. I was determined and woke up, got ready, went downstairs for mindful breakfast, meditation, walking meditation, work shift, mindful hiking, meditation, mindful lunch, and so on. I was so determined to do everything, to do it right. This attitude wore me out and I gave into my exhaustion. I allowed myself time to rest when my body requested it after I realized that I was setting myself up for this. Then, I learned something about myself and my relationship to meditation. Sitting and meditating sometimes felt like a chore, a task, an errand, part of the checklist. Then, I learned to sit and just be with the present moment, with no end result, no grasping to some spiritual or fulfilling outcome. This space was opened up through the words of one of the speakers during the retreat that allowed me to tap a little deeper into the nature of my being.
During one sitting I heard the speaker say; "Now, take a deep breath and allow your breathing to be as is. Do you feel something? What do you feel? Feel without words, without conceptualizing, without identifying. Are you able to just be with it and allow yourself to feel what is going on in your body? It may be anger, frustration, excitement, happiness, aversion, greed, sadness. Allow yourself to experience this human condition in a physical way while sitting. Do not resist it or push it away. Just be here, accepting whatever it is that is happening in this moment." He paused, giving us space to be and then went on to say; "What if I told you the past and future do not exist, that there is only this moment. How would you physically feel now? How would the current of your thoughts change?" These words taught me the difference between sitting, because I had to complete, a task and simply sitting. I physically felt at that moment, centered, not being pushed nor pulled into different directions. At that moment in space, I existed, but time was non existent and allowing became natural. I realized that the illusion of time was the factor for most of our grasping and clinging and that, in return, led to feelings of anger, greed, sadness, unworthiness, aversion, and dissatisfaction.
In today's day and age, time is our partner, a part of our reality. There is a common understanding that without it we cannot survive due deadlines regarding work, our health, caring for loved ones, and so on. This is why it is
important to set aside some time for meditation so that we may center ourselves amidst, this sometimes, overbearing life. So, when you sit to meditate, truly give yourself that gift by suspending yourself in space and eliminating time. Note how you feel. Breathing moves to the forefront, awareness becomes more vivid, and you become awake to this present moment. You remember that this is existence.