What is the most important resource to all 7 billion people on the planet?
I’ll give you a hint:
You cannot save it.
It does not appreciate.
You cannot protect it or put it in a bank.
You cannot have more of it than another person.
No matter your race, economic status, religious, sexual preference or political affiliation — with regards to this resource — we all have been given an equal amount but it also can be snatched up right from under our nose in the blink of an eye.
Time my dear friends. Time. Time is this both tangible and completely fleeting thing. Time can feel like both a blessing and a curse. We have the potential to become a master of time or a slave to it.
What if we began to value our time as much as we value our money, relationships, careers?
The great Buddhist Monk AND the man donned the “happiest person on the planet”, Matthieu Ricard in his book, “Happiness,” talks about time being our most precious commodity. He also goes on to share what I believe is a way to understand how we spend our time which in turn allows us to participate with our moments and minutes, hours and days, months and years — rather than feel as though we are being run by the clock and our calendars. It’s certainly a dance but one that, with a little practice and self awareness, you have the ability to re-shape your view of time as a tool you can utilize to create your life (and not the other way around).
“It’s not that we have so little time, but that we waste so much of it.” — Seneca
Ok, let’s get real folks. Scrolling on your Facebook feed or heck, even reading this article would not necessarily be catagorized as your most “meaningful moments” today. It’s just a fact. So, I don’t want to hear any whining about how you have “no time.” Whenever you day that I challenge you to audit the minutes you spend on social media.
And that is a great place to start — with a “time audit.” This can and should be done regularly. It not only informs us of how we are spending our time, what kind of time we are engaging with (more on that below) but it can also really tell a story of the state of our lives. You have the opportunity to notice things like:
- How focused you are (or not).
- How rested you are (or not).
- What inner conditions you are living with?
When you do a “time audit” you are guided to observe time from a minute by minute perspective. I’ll warn you that it is not easy to do at the beginning because you may be forced to come face to face with the reality that you are wasting more time than you think.
Three Categories of Time (all shared from Matthieu Ricards book, Happiness. Get it!).
Note: When you are doing your time audit, after you record how you are spending your time you can place it one of these three categories.
Ahh! Golden time! This is the time when we live in our potential. It’s where we the painters paint and writers write. It’s where we feel connected to purpose, meaning and fulfillment. It’s the experiences when you feel like “time stops”. Life and death, deep connection within yourself or with another. It’s engaging a devoted practice to contributing to the welfare of others. Matthieu Ricard says it’s when you “cultivate and develop the inner qualities that will permit yourself to become a better person and help others.”
Leaden Time (or killing time)
Scrolling on Facebook. Purposeless activity. Gonna leave that right there and watch the minutes from your time audit come rolling in. This is the state you are in when you get annoyed with not having enough time but just carried your phone into the bathroom (yes, I went there).
Wasting Time (boredom, loneliness)
This is dreadful. This is the time when you are annoyed with boredom, solitude, setbacks, even life itself. This is the space where you seek to blame others (perhaps even time) for the state of affairs you are currently in. This is the painful separation from feeling connected to one’s own existence and connection to others as well. You are trapped in the bubble of your own ego.
After you do this exercise, here are some reflection questions that might be helpful as you navigate your new, fresh perspective on time.
What am I already doing with my time that feels meaningful, fulfilling and connected?
How do I do more of that?
How can I create a supportive way to hold myself accountable for how I spend my time (especially when no one is looking)?
Would it be helpful to look at how I communicate about time?
What do I want my relationship with time to look like and feel like?
There is no better time to start than now.
If you are ready to bridge the gap from the life you are living to the inner cry of exploring a life lived from the inside out join me in 2017 for The Soul Sessions — a year long program to help you rediscover what it means to be “well with your soul.”
Originally published at medium.com