So as I prepare to give this talk, it occurs to me to ask for your patience and your forgiveness for what's kind of talked about, because I want to talk about something that I don't really think I know much about. And I'll probably say all kinds of things, which maybe are not, maybe not even accurate. And some of you will know more about this topic than me. And if I could shake your head and or you have particular perspectives on this topic, from your particular studies, or something that what I'm end up saying might not fit that perspective, and you'll shake your head. But the, for all the mistakes I make. My wish from giving this talk is to provide you with a heightened attention to this topic. And to be able to think about it, spend time with it, talk to friends about it, maybe see if there's other perspectives for this topic that might be useful of how you live your life. So the topic is time, time. What is time? I don't even I don't even know how to answer that question very well. But I live in time all the time. I suspect some of you do as well. And it's possible to have many relationships with time. It's possible to be time rich, and time poor. And just to say it that way suggests that time can be a wealth. And that's independent of material wealth. It suggests that there's something very valuable potentially about time that may be many of us live in impoverished in time, in how we live our lives. What would it like to be living time rich, to be wealthy in time, you have to wait until you're well and retired. Some people who retired find themselves with even less time. So that's no guarantee. And then, I was reflecting about how we have all these terminologies around time that we use. And a two of them that I'm thinking about is taking time and giving time to something. And, you know, taking time. I mean, that seems kind of acquisitive, once I started thinking about which were taking time. For myself, I take time for myself, do I take it? Do I keep it? Do I share it? Why don't you know, what does it mean to take time? Exactly. And, but more or more importantly, you know, it's just an idiom. But but you know, it has other associations to it taking time that may be it goes along with certain kinds of self centeredness. What about giving time being is it possible to have a generous relationship with time and, and you know, is that provide a very different relationship to the world and the notion of taking time for something many people say that time is really a useful resource to have time for something allows healing to happen. Sometimes healing psychological healing requires amount of time to for it to happen. Time is useful for processing our lives digesting our life. Time is really important and quality if you want to be a wise person, I suppose I would suggest that that if you don't have a lot of time, you're probably not going to have a lot of access to wisdom. And one of the one of the characteristics may be a foolish way of being in this world is to not give enough time for what you do to do it well. And then you have to do it over again. Which takes more time there's a traffic sign up here neighborhood city I don't know if it's still up that that says something like late with a question mark you'll be later if you get a ticket. And the so
so you know so you know what is rushing that people do? Is it really beneficial? You know, or is it? You know, in the short term, it seems like it's beneficial. But what happens in the end, I saw a car accident on the freeway the other day and, and I wondered if the person responsible was in a hurry. And probably the person was going to be late now. If the person was even alive, there was some question about that, that's I drove by. So wise life is a life that has time for time. And what does that mean? What does it mean to have time for time? There are some people distinguish between physical time and psychological time. And so we get to that might be useful to think about cultural time, and spiritual time. So at least, you know, four categories of time. And physical time has to do with some physical event in the world, which measures the duration of duff time measure some duration for measure for some way of measuring change sequentially. And so there was a time when people measured the months by the sequence of the moon lunar time, and now we have this Roman time, that it was kind of made up by the Romans in some kind of funny way that we're still kind of trying to grapple with. And, and it's very confused time, because September, literally in Latin means the seventh month, October is the eighth month. But for us, it's these are the ninth and 10th months. And then, you know, so November's a ninth month in December is a 10th month, but you know, so like, we're just confused. And so, so, physical time, so we have, you know, the calendar time that we live in, and, for example, the year and the year, it lends itself to kind of a cyclic idea of time. But also we have this linear idea of time, from the past to the future. The there's a Tomic time that's used now for measuring things and says, All you got physical time is something which we can measure. psychological time is the time that our mind somehow calculates or lives in and works in. And it's amazing that our mind can in certain kinds of ways, measure duration of time between events. And apparently, they have never discovered any place in the brain that is the timekeeper. They had some kind of an intuitive sense, maybe a way of looking at patterns of things that the patterning of the mind as it coordinates can get a sense. And so for example, the time it takes for a beach ball to reach you, is very different than the time for a baseball to reach you when you're at bat. And so, you know, baseball player has to have a very acute sense of how long it takes for that ball to get over over home base. And if you don't have the right timing, you've missed the ball. And the beach ball flies through the air. And sometimes you can just keep your hands in your pockets for a second or so because you know, it's like taking its time to float there to you. But you know, the volleyball that comes over the net, you better be on it, you know, quickly, so that somehow you don't you don't pull out your stopwatch and calculate, you know, and that your grave smartphones now, so we can probably do all kinds of calculations. There's no time to do the calculations and let alone figure out the physics of time and weight and mass and all these things that have to be calculated to figure out when the object is going to reach you. And is it going to reach you it's going to reach you on your left or the right or higher or lower. And the mind has this amazing capacity to have a sense of the duration it takes the time it takes for things to come without us consciously calculating it. So the mind has a capacity for for you know, figuring out something about time. And,
and and also they say that people can have a spatial sense of time. And what's interesting is that people at different peoples and the world cultures have very different ideas of what how they imagined time spatially. So for example, I think in most English speaking books, where they're going to do a chronology of history As it goes from left to right, the old times is in the left and you get, you know, into the future, and then the maybe arrow that's pointing to the right for the future. And then maybe that makes some sense, because we are we read from that direction, cultures that read in the other direction, they actually see time as going to the left. And I heard that what what do you mean, to the left, I can't be. And, and, and what's interesting about also about this is this is the reference point for this image of time is personal. It has to do with your, your body left and right, kind of, there are some cultures who don't use the left and right, which is a bodily, personal reference point. But they use things in nature, there's places in the world where islands and people live on where the future is up the mountain, where the river comes from. And the past is the ocean where the river goes to. And so it's the source is the source of everything is in the future in a certain way. And, and then it goes someplace where it's a big repository, you know, that big repository for the past, past content so much, have you noticed that and you're contributing to making it bigger and bigger. And so, so that's kind of interesting that so, so no matter where you are on mountain, whatever direction you're facing, they always have a sense that, you know, they're gonna talk about the future, they point up. And, and in some of the aboriginals in Australia, you know, I think for many of us, but some of us if we were given a whole series of photographs of ourselves, over the our lifetime, and are told to put them in chronological order. Many of us here in America, at least in the West would probably do it, you know, again, from left to right, baby pictures on the left, and, you know, whatever age you are, likely, closer to the right. And apparently, some Aboriginals in Australia are just their ass. And they always do it from Westie from, I think it's from east to west, I guess where the sun comes up, and it goes, and then it goes down. And so no matter what direction they're, wherever they're sitting, whatever direction they are, if they're, if they're sitting pointing south, or they're pointing north, they always have a sense of where east and west is. And they'll lay it lay out the chronology that way. So these people with the mountain and the ocean and, and the east and the west cents, they're not measuring time, from a personal reference point, that people in Western cultures are often doing the right and left, which is always personal in some way. So it has to do with the body and our hands and how we see things doesn't make a difference. That we have this anthropocentric centric idea of time, directionality for time, spatial idea of time, or having some some reference point, the nature that's beyond our anthropocentric concerns. I don't know if it makes any difference, but it does show the does show that we have different senses of sight of ideas of time, concepts of time. I asked a friend recently yesterday about this thing about left and right, you know, where does she see time. And she taught me to know a time comes at me. It kind of goes through her the feet from the future. It comes directly at her and then through and, and one way I think of time is as an hourglass. And I think sometimes that time comes from above and goes through the hourglass is big funnel, and then goes out again at the bottom. And I'm sitting at the neck of the hourglass and I'm sitting that's what I watch everything going through the neck of my experience. So
psychological time, but psychological time is also related to cultural time. And we live part of the burden we have in living under time is a lot to do with our cultures. We were living in the legacy of the Industrial Revolution. That's when really extract ideas of time through the day really became institutionalized. And from because they had all these shifts in the industries that were being built as huge manufacturing places and they would have these horns that would blow and people would know when their shifts stopped and started and they have to show up all at the right time. And, and so it became much more regimented than it had been before before there was just big industries and big groups of people to organize. And then from what I read read is it from the industrial example of how they organize time, that was translated or apply to the school systems. And I don't know if before the Industrial Revolution, how time was at school. But certainly at the time of the Industrial Revolution, it became clear to the industrial countries that it was important to educate people to make them prepared for this industrial world that we were growing into. So then there was massive movement to educate people and they borrowed they know very, you know, again, we know some some of us know, this very regimented idea of time, that's the students have to live under. Is that healthy to do that is that useful to do that? I met a kid up in islands outside of Vancouver some years ago, who had never been to school. And he lived on a farm. And his parents would never required him to go to school. And, and I don't think they made any particular efforts to educate him either. And, and he just kind of roamed around and worked on the farm a lot. And he seemed very smart and knowledgeable and engaged and seemed like a really fantastic, lovely person. But had never been put under the pressures of this, you know, regimented time that. So many of us I believe it probably lived under. I've lived in different cultural times. were fascinating time for me was, I lived in a Zen monasteries that use the time system from long ago, in Japan, maybe China, which was a five day week. And, and so it was measured by the days of the month. So there were, you know, there was the one days, the two days, the three days, the four days and the five days. And, and so one two was worth right. For nine days. I think we worked 1234 I think we worked three days. And then the fourth day was off. Is that right? That works? And then 5678? No, no, I think there was zero days, right. So there was worked for four days, that zero in it. And then 123. And then the fourth day was off. And then 5678. And the ninth day was off. So we would talk about for nine days, like some people would talk about weekends, we were talking about for nine days. So rather than your two days off, he would have one day off and then go back to work or four days, or to be at the monastery schedule. And it was fascinating to live in this alternative sequence of time. And I lost touch with what days of the week it was the days of the week were irrelevant. And I didn't know it was Sunday or Monday or, you know, because I just knew that the date because it was all by the date. So that was interesting. And then I'd done long retreats, where I had no idea what day or month it was, you know, just that that kind of concern just completely dropped away. I lived on a farm for a while. And I loved living on the farm for a number of reasons. But one of the reasons was time wasn't regimented. The work time and off time and play time were kind of flowed kind of seamlessly between each other, we would go out and do work in the fields or take care of the cows, and then we would have time off and do something but it was never planned. It was never you know, strict, but rather has wonderful organic feeling just flowing between what we were doing. The only thing that was little bit strict was by Dawn you had to have milked the cows. And by dusk you had to have brought them back to milk them but that was you know, following that light. And so to have that experience of this fluidity of schedules between personal time and work time and having good so porous was really a fascinating thing for me.
And then we have spiritual time. And what is spiritual time? I think that you know, there's a kind of a common story of going to some wise spiritual person and saying, you know, what's the most important time? And the answer is now, now's the most important time and we have a spiritual practice this insight meditation practice, that is really based on being firmly rooted grounded in the presence in the now. And important part of that practice of attempting to be in the now is to discover how difficult that is, and how difficult it is because of concerns about other times the concerns about the future or concerns about the past, and, and how difficult it is to be resting or, or alive or feeling a sense of real kind of attentional vitality to this moment here, without a need to leave it behind without to leave to kind of lose track of it by our distractions in our thinking mind or are rushing around. And, and so we start discovering how, with that challenge we have with the present moment. And some people attribute that challenge to the challenge of a distracted mind. Some people have the challenge of having a full schedule of things to do, or a long to do list. But it's also the challenge of you know, our relationship to time. And maybe not understanding how valuable the present moment is how much is available here. I think of you know, if we have the time being a timeline, which is a line from this thing here in California from left to right, that line is impoverished, it's just a very thin, narrow, and rather than the present moment being a.on, that the present moment is not even an axis that goes through it that makes it two dimensional. The present moment is three dimensional, or there's maybe there's more dimensions, I don't know. But three dimensions, it's, it's, you know, as opposed to, there's something about the past in the future that maybe fits into a line. But the present, I think is three dimensional. It's a difference between going from a black and white movie to a color movie. It's you know, that dramatic. If you're old enough, you remember the Wizard of Oz going that direction. Suddenly, it's alive. And so so this spiritual time, I propose has a lot to do with our relationship to present moment time, the time that's unfolding here and now and that that's the three dimensional which means that it's never a dot little pixelated dot that you've passed through quickly. That spiritual now is has a duration. And how long is the duration of the now if you're relaxed and present and really embodied or inhabiting the present moment, without any indicate any veering away into the past and future preoccupation fantasy, but really here to experience this moment, kind of in its fullness, three dimensional fullness. What's the duration of now? Admit some of you probably never considered seriously how long is it now? And how long is the moment? Is it is that just like snap the finger that's all it is. A famous American philosopher psychologist named William James. I think it was him who talks about the Saddleback of the present moment. And Saddleback means it's kind of like a U shape. And so the present moment somehow is in this, you know, maybe if there's a timeline, the present moment is like this U shaped dip.
And that, you know, that it settled back that it lasts for a while. But how long is that while and then we have spiritual people who want to talk about the timeless now. What is it timeless now? And what good is it? Because if it's if this timeless if time measures change, how do we deal with change? If we're, if it's timeless? Well, maybe time and timeless can coexist. But what is this present moment that we have that we live in and what's the duration of now and It's possible by getting a sense of the present moment now, then this moment that then we can start living in time. And expression living in time, I think has two delightful meanings. One meeting is like comes from music, you know, the music is in time, I'm in time with the music. And so living in harmony with the, with time to be in time, is not just to show up on time, but to kind of be in harmony or to be in the flow or find a rhythm with time, as opposed to missing the present moment. I suspect, most of us here have missed a lot of moments. They went by without us noticing, noticing them. And, and so to be in time, in harmony with time, but also to in time is kind of, to inhabit time. As opposed to living under the weight of time. To live in time is more like a floating on the water. To to be in the water for most people, is they're floating on the surface, right? Because unless you're a scuba diver or something or diving down for a few moments, but to be in time to be floating on time. Maybe time is weightless. As opposed to the weight of time. What are we really weighed down by when you talk about the weight of time, because time is I think it's weightless. Last time I tried putting on the scale. And if time is weightless. And we have some intuitive sense of time. The mind does kind of construct a sense of duration of time and a sense of time and but if it's weightless in your exam, how can you feel that or sense that is that make a difference? Or? Or is that preoccupations of the mind so strong, that you're pulling away out of this moment that you don't have time for this talk even? I mean, it's such a silly talk ridiculous when you could, you know probably be figuring out what stocks to buy tomorrow. Or today I don't know if they've opened and weekend. Something's open the weekend to buy. But but to be in time, and, and then in time and be present for the duration of the present the moment now. And how long is the moment for you? Sometimes I've thought that my moments last about as long as I say it takes to say the word now sometimes now is the duration of how long is to have how long it is for me to have an in breath. That's that's duration of a now. And and sometimes I have a sense of some timeless now. Timeless present, but genuinely doesn't last. In theory it lasts outside of my being aware of it. But is there time? Is there timelessness? If we're not aware? Is there does a tree that falls in the forest make a sound if there's no one to hear it? Is there time if there's no one to be aware of time? And, and I think not at least spiritually. There's a way in which we could talk about awareness time, where awareness and time are inseparable, they kind of arise together. And so this richness is three dimensionality of time. Awareness time, what is it? What's the time in which we're aware?
What's the awareness that exists in time? The awareness that exists in time can only exist in the present. Your awareness, which is such an important part of this practice, cannot exist in the past. It's gone. There's no There's no awareness. The only awareness of the past is our memory and we're aware of the memories. The only awareness we have with the future is our prediction and forecasting the future, which again is the world if we can be aware of those thoughts and ideas. But to be aware of time is to be here. And what are we aware of? It's fascinating think that it's possible to be aware of the recognition of now. I'm in now I'm now I'm here. It has a beginning and as a middle, and it has an end. And then you do it again. And again, that somehow an act of awareness, a clear, concise, distinct recognition of the moment has a duration, that appears, it's there for a while, and then it disappears. What happens to time when you've, the recognition of it has faded away. Physical time, you can go look at your watch and know exactly what happened. But But this spiritual time, the time that has spiritual time is time that has time, lots of time, it's spacious time. That's where time becomes a richness of a well, here, where the mind is not rushing off, is not preoccupied. Where the mind senses and feels, what's here is available for something that's different, then what we're controlling what we're directing, what we're wanting that doesn't fit into industrial time, doesn't fit into even this kind of idea of time. That's very personally the spatial sense of it is very personal from left to right or right to left. To feel the time here now. What is it to not live under the burden of time? The pressures of time? What is it to live in a luxurious time. And this is such a these are such an important questions for people doing this meditation practice. Because at least when you're meditating, that's the time to give yourself over to time. To live in time, to live in the time of this moment here, where awareness and time are coterminous awareness and time arise together no separation. Where there's no hard and fast measure of time, requirements of time, where we can sense the comings and goings, even of time, in a sense, the awareness of time. And it's almost as if you know, there is a vast ocean, if time is not aligned, but a vast ocean, two dimensional surface. And maybe the present moment is a wave that somehow gets energized, gets lifted up and has some prominence for a moment, and then the wave passes and settles down again. And so what is that wave? What is this coalescing are coming together, arising of that happens here and now in this time now? What do you feel? What do you experience? What's available to you, when you're living in time, in the moment, here and now? So, I hope that these ideas
will give you something to think about, and to reflect on how might you have a new relationship? What is your relationship to time? And is there a new way of seeing it? And is there so new way of engaging in time when you're meditating? Is there a way of living in a spiritual time or luxurious time, a generous time when you're meditating? And we're going to take to do that, to have a sense of that to be in there. And and, so.
And I hope that this will support your marriage ancient practice in a dramatic way, they kind of kind of opens up a new dimension of it that maybe you don't know that not so well attuned to because we don't really give a lot of time to think about time. But to give time for time, imagine that. give time for time. So that's what I have. And maybe some of you stay now for a discussion outside. Maybe we'll find out if it sparked any interests, questions, reflections on this topic or anything else you want to bring up, bring up. So thank you all very much and