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Where you are right now is where you are. You may have a million developed desires to be in other places, doing other things, but you are not there, you are here. Experience this moment to its fullest.
QUICK, CATCH IT! This moment is gone; it can never be relived.
When you look forward into TIME, it seems like forever. When you look back into TIME, it appears life has passed in a flash.
Can you see time? No. Then you should stop looking for it.
You can watch a clock tick. You can witness a sunrise or a sunset. But, that is not time. That is simply movement. Movement is the defining factor of time. From this on to that. From that on to this.
Stop trying to observe time and you will be free of time.
There is no beginning and there is no end to time. There is only a beginning and an end to your perception of time. When you are alive you can witness time. When you are dead you cannot. Time is an ALIVE concept.
The judgment of time is always done in the past tense. You can only judge time in terms of placement—comparing where you were then, to where you are now.
The more you think and worry about time, the more you will be controlled by it, and the faster it will appear to pass. The less you concern yourself with time, the freer you become, and there is always plenty of time.
Can you save TIME? No, there is no savings account for TIME.
There has always been a recorded history of TIME, whether it was recorded by human hands or written onto the surface of the earth. Before that, did TIME exist? Before your consciousness of TIME, did TIME exist?
Have you witnessed how sometimes TIME moves so slowly and other times it passes by so quickly? During some periods of life one lives an enormous amount of experiences in a very short time. these times of intensity, life goes by very fast. At other times, life all seems to be the same; it passes quite slowly. Make the best of each time period, for all life moves in cycles. Live and experience both fully while they are happening. Live the fast time, as consciously as possible. Reflect upon all of these new experiences once TIME has slowed down.
If one could travel in TIME, either into the future or into the past, that would mean everything is continually happening forever. Does this moment happen continually forever? How can this moment be any place other than where it is, RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW?
Take the TIME to just do nothing. It will open up a completely new world of insight for you.
How many times have you stepped outside and not even noticed what the weather was like? How many times have you traveled to some destination and, due to the fact that your mind was on another issue affecting your life, you did not even notice how you felt or what you saw? How much of life do you let pass by without a thought?
Life is made up of experiences. Many of life's experiences are as momentary as the second in which they exist. Feel them. Live them.
Think of all of the times you took a shortcut in order to accomplish something. What was the purpose? It was probably so you could hurry up and get on to the next project or situation you believed needed your attention. Maybe you wished to be somewhere else, doing something else, and so you rushed. Whatever reasoning you may have possessed, by rushing through one subject and on to the next, you missed the beauty of living and experiencing the present moment fully.
"I can't wait!" This is a common statement. What's the hurry? Do you get to where you are going any faster when you rush and make yourself upset? No, you do not. You get there in the same amount of time as when you simply proceed to where you are going consciously. If you relax, appreciate the beauty of where you are now and plan your time wisely, arriving can become an enlightening experience, instead of creating a situation where you lose your peace by rushing.
Happiness is a choice. Acceptance is a choice. Forgiveness is a choice. Anger is a choice. Desire is a choice. Love is a choice. Life is a choice. Your time, your choice.
What you do with this moment does not only affect this moment. Positive and constructive actions taken now equal a positive future. Negative and destructive actions taken now create negative events in the future.
You are either getting better in this moment or you are getting worse. Getting better is your choice. It is what you choose to do with your time. The simplest things lead you to getting better.
Some days pass by in their fullness, others in their emptiness. Empty or full is your perception of how you wish your time to be spent. A businessman desires a full day—time spent interactive. A monk desires an empty day—time spent absorbed in solitude.
There are occasions when we allow ourselves a moment to just not care, times when we automatically sit back, view, and admire the beauty and perfection of the given moment. This feeling is different for each of us. It is a mental experience, but physical environments can help to bring it about. Make a mental note when and where you encounter these experiences: perhaps being by the ocean, in the mountains, by a river; maybe just in some specific place alone. Wherever it is, give yourself some TIME, as often as you can make possible, to live those experiences. The TIME will be well spent.
You can hold on to what you know, but there are no guarantees that what you know will exist in the next moment. As long as you hold on to old beliefs, you keep yourself locked into one life position and you do not allow yourself the ability to have new experiences. Why? Because you are expecting what you have known today to exist tomorrow. Expectations of what will come tomorrow are hopeful speculation at best. Tomorrow is promised to no one. Life holds no guarantees. Nothing lasts forever. It can all change in a moment. No matter how much you hold on to anything, there is nothing you can do to change the pattern of this world; sooner or later it will all be gone.
Pursuing something is good. Choosing to pursue nothing is also good. Being completely content with where you are, with what you have, is good. Fantasize, dream all you want, but realize that you will never accomplish any of those desires if you do not map out a very conscious plan for their obtainment. You can only fantasize about what you have been programmed into believing is desirable. Dreams are nice, but if you do not attempt to live them, they will never be achieved and they will only cause you frustration. If you have a desire, put your dream into action. Is your TIME spent desiring, or is your TIME spent taking steps toward those desires?
Never allow yourself to think about what you could have done, had situations been different. Situations were not different. Don't waste your TIME. You are HERE. This is NOW. You did not do "THAT" then, and nothing you can do will ever change it.
You cannot go back. What's gone is gone. It can never return. Lamenting will never bring about anything but unhappiness. The past is gone. It can never be changed and can only be relived in memories. LIVE the moment NOW. Experience the moments to come, and let nothing further ever hold you back from encountering what you truly wish to experience.
It is your TIME; do with it what you will. You find yourself in a traffic jam as you drive your car. You find yourself waiting in an office for an appointment which should have occurred half an hour ago. You are waiting for someone to arrive—who is very late. What are you going to do—get angry? Or, if you choose, you can put the time to the most beneficial use and accomplish something. This accomplishment is only restricted by the limitations of your own anger keeping you from fully actualizing the moment. If you are concerned about the lack of time, use every given situation to its fullest potential. If you feel you must continually accomplish something, use every moment, do not let any moment slip by.
No one ever promised that life was fair. The only time you feel cheated is when you expect something. If you have no expectations you will possess no disappointments. The less you expect, the freer you become, and the more you are not dominated by time. Why? Because you embrace acceptance. Acceptance sets you free.
If you are always thinking about TIME, you will never have enough TIME. People who rush throughout life find a LIFETIME quickly spent.
If you wonder how your TIME is spent—isolate it. Set an alarm to go off every ten minutes. Segregate your TIME and you will know where it goes.
If you have a problem with time, organize your time. Take three notebooks: NOTEBOOK ONE: Write down what you hope to achieve in the given week. NOTEBOOK TWO: Write down an hour-by-hour breakdown of what you desire to achieve each day. Be TIME realistic and be open to changes. If you do not finish something on the specific desired day, move it forward to the next day and be sure to make it a priority. Then do it. NOTEBOOK THREE: As you go through the day, place in this notebook a complete schedule of what you did and what you accomplished at specific times. Add to it, briefly, how you felt about accomplishing the specified task. If you desire accomplishment, time yourself. If you obtain what you desire, does it make you happy? If scheduling makes you anxious, leave the scheduling and the desire behind.
If you live by a schedule, if you make appointments, you must constantly think of time. The majority of people live "morning logic." They are awakened by an alarm clock each day at the same time. They shower, shave, brush their teeth, put on their makeup, get dressed every day the exact same way. Then, they go to work. Afterward, they go home and watch television, go to a health club, or go out with friends. They then go to bed and await the alarm clock to start the same routine the next day. In this lifestyle there is never a new moment. This schedule is continued until death; though most people promise themselves someday it will be different. Take a moment, envision your life without those programmed constraints. See yourself not needing to be structured or disciplined. Let your mind be at peace; forget where you are supposed to be, what you are expected to be doing. Ignore the fact, at least for this moment, that you have any place to ever be. Allow yourself a moment of freedom and you, too, can find your own method for a livelihood not bound by time.
Relearn everything. Let every movement be new. There are ways to survive without the need for scheduling.
If you choose to stop living your life by the definition of scheduled time, you will enter into a space of freedom; worry and anxiety will leave you. What is anxiety? Concern about what is to come. But, it has not happened yet and there is no proof that it ever will. Set yourself free and no longer be concerned about anything which is not actually in progress—at this very moment.
Talk is cheap. What does it actually equal? How much of your time do you spend discussing things that have no absolute meaning, or occurrences which you have no control over? Creative discussions are interesting. It's a time to listen, to learn, to view opinions other than your own. It allows you a moment where everything else in your life can be forgotten. Some people, however, allow continued meaningless conversations to dominate their life. This gives them a reason to procrastinate about their own unfulfilled desires. Tape your own conversations; see what you say. How do your words affect your LIFETIME?
Have you ever rushed to prepare for someone's arrival, feeling that he or she would soon be there and you would not be ready? You completed your preparation and your guest is not there on time or arrived very late. In one period, you have rushed and time passed quickly. In the next, you were forced to wait and time progressed slowly. Did the movement of time actually change? No, simply your perception of it changed.
Life holds many promises. As long as you take no action and only hold on to daydreams, you will never experience what it is you may truly wish to live.
Take a look at others who have done what you think it is you wish to accomplish. What is their lifestyle like? What are they like? Are they truly happy? To be a business owner, is that what you desire? To be dominated by external financial influences and trends, day in and day out until you die? Lifetime secured employment at the same firm? Twenty or thirty years of experiencing nothing new or different? To be famous? Without the ability to do anything unnoticed. Is that what you choose? Reflect upon your life objectives deeply and analyze them well before you place them into your bank of desires.
If you view the mind of the average person, you will realize that most people choose to compete with one another, whether it be: financially, intellectually, or in terms of physical beauty. Most people do not even choose to realize that all things of this world are as temporary as life itself. If you remove competitive desires from your life and just live within your own peace and perfection, your TIME becomes your own and simple things will please you.
If you could do anything RIGHT NOW, at this moment, what would it be? What is stopping you from doing it? With the exception of the unnecessary, unwanted, or unconscious involvement of others in your desire, you should go and do it.
Modern people generally fill their TIME with an occupation, mundane family involvements, car repairs, home maintenance, and the like. When they have any free time, they are generally so tired, they only wish to sleep. Is that what life is truly about? Most people are so self-involved with momentary necessities, they never take the TIME to truly witness what is going on in the world around them. The majority of people live in this grind throughout their existence. They choose to. They tell themselves "This is the way life is.", "I am doing what I am expected to be doing." That is a lie. It is your choice to do what you want with your TIME. No one forces you to believe the lies of social acceptance in this world. The reason there is so little creativity and acknowledged genius is because the majority of people choose to believe the falsehood that they must forge out a living in the mainstream and, therefore, they have no TIME to live and create their dreams.
What if accomplishments meant nothing—if everything you did meant zero? What would you choose to do? In a sense this is the case of life. Personal accomplishments are an illusion. You will live, you will die, and that is that. When you are gone you can never reap the benefits or the gains of the particular human form you are currently in. Even if you believe in reincarnation, you will not be in the same body. If you believe in Heaven and to get there you must be kind and good, that's fine; good is always good. But, this world as you know it will cease to exist. If all is here, then it is gone, what do you really want to do in the HERE? Because the HERE is all that you can truly live.
Look at this moment—how many regrets do you have? What are you going to do about them? You have three choices: One, you can sit around and feel miserable. Two, you can do something to fix the damage and achieve your preferred result. Three, you can forget them. It always seems that "later" you realize what you should have done, what you could have done. What if you choose to view what you did, simply as what you did, what you had, as what you had, what you lived, as what you lived, and leave it at that?
Your desire may be for an experience lived in the past to be different from the actual event; but who knows what negative results you may have, in fact, incurred if you had lived the experience the way in which you desired it to be.
You are ALIVE. It does not matter how old or how maimed you are, as long as you are ALIVE, anything is possible. People continually make excuses to themselves about why they cannot experience what they truly wish; for example: "I'm not good enough," "I'm not intelligent enough," "I'm not holy enough," and so on. You want something? Do it ! Forget all the excuses. Make a game plan and go after it. The pursuit of it will give you a feeling of accomplishment and the experience of taking control over your LIFETIME. It is the greatest healer.
Tomorrow is always a new day. Make it a new day, don't bring negative experiences from the past into it.
One choice leads to the next set of available circumstances. With a conscious mind, you can do anything.
Life is a step-by-step process. You didn't know then what you know now because you were not prepared to know it then. See your life as an overall passageway. Don't look back with regrets, because there is nothing that you can do to change the past. Do not look forward with anticipation. Do it or don't do it. Live it, when it arrives. Live the perfection of this moment and the next moment will take care of itself. You will grow. Life will continue. And, in the end there will be no regrets, for you will have lived what you have lived.
Excerpted from Zen O'clock by Scott Shaw. Copyright © 1999 Scott Shaw. Excerpted by permission of Samuel Weiser, Inc..
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