Saturday, March 13, 2010

wasting time

Somewhere recently I read that we tend to spend 85 percent of our lives waiting. Everything from elevators and red lights to doctors' offices to ordering in a restaurant involves waiting, and it is commonly thought that such waiting is necessarily a waste of time.

But I wonder if it is--and if the time we are given can actually be wasted. Perhaps it has to do with the attitude we take toward the time we have each day, making the most of the moment.

For example, while waiting for a flight to take off at an airport, I can easily retreat into the private world of my reading or meditation and be grateful that I have been given this period of seemingly useless time in which to be present to myself or to the text before me. Or to God. I can savor the power of the now.

In his recent book, 'The Naked Now,' Richard Rohr (one of my favorite spiritual writers) mentions the mystical tradition of the third eye. We have three eyes but seldom use them all.

One eye is physical, to see things; one is rational, to analyze or reflect on things; and the third eye is one of true understanding. This is the contemplative sphere of the mystic. Rohr, like Eckhart Tolle, is very good at de-mystifying mysticism, giving the reader a down-to-earth sense that all of us can be mystics. Mysticism is not about having visions or trances; it is about seeing the big picture, of going beyond either/or thinking.

So much depends on being aware of the present moment as a timeless event, which brings me back to the impossibility of wasting time--looked at with the third eye.

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