What does Zen and time have in common?

Zen and time: Part 1. I friend of mine asked me when I started this blog whether it was just going to be another time management type thing. I asked him what the problem with that was and he said “People are inundated with prescriptions and exhortations for using their time more effectively and being more compulsive about it.” I asked what he thought was the antidote and he said “We all need a more Zen-like attitude about time.” I presumed I knew what he meant, but the more I thought about it, the less I knew. I had studied Zen many years ago and was familiar with Zen meditation and Zen Buddhist philosophy. However, I had never thought about its application to time.

I once remember doing a long drive from Rhode Island to Wisconsin. The hardest part was going to be crossing NYC and getting past the large metro areas in Pennsylvania and NY. I had been doing regular Zen meditation at the time and I thought “Well, I will just use this drive time to meditate and not worry about the traffic or congestion.” I put myself into a frame of mind for sitting Zen. I did not expect the results. In what seemed like a matter of a few seconds, the next thing I remember was being on a wide open stretch of road in rural Pennsylvania. I had gone over 250 miles in some of the most traffic congested sections of the USA in what seemed like a matter of seconds. It still does not seem possible and feels more like a dream than reality. How could something like this be physically and mentally possible? Can time really stand still? Can we make life so smooth with our unconscious thought that we eliminate stress and anxiety and yet can still function? What then is a Zen-like attitude towards time?

Do you have a Zen attitude towards time? One comment I found on a web-blog was “But get some Zen and time slows down since you are actually experiencing it.” Are you experiencing time or do you just sort of anesthetize your self to it? Do you allow time to happen or do you try to control it? Are you waiting for something to happen which never does? Could your life be more exciting if it was more Zen like?

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