In American culture, we tend to have a horrid relationship with time. We often try to kill it. We believe we can buy it. We are confident we can make it. We seldom lose track of it anymore, because we so seldom do the things we love most. We are hellishly good at wasting it.
Time is not easy to waste. Even when we are doing nothing, we are often making the best use of our time. We will then read good books and listen to good music. We will putter in the garden, or go for a long leisurely stroll. We will take delicious naps. We lounge. We cook. We become Sabbath, even for others. We take on the spirit of being at ease, calm, relaxed, ready to stop, look, and listen. We are in fact ripe for intimacy. We write letters and make phone calls. We clear out clutter and remove the cobwebs -- from our minds as well as the ceilings.
Doing nothing is often when we are being exactly who God would wish us to be. We finally pay attention to what matters. We notice the beauty of the season. We show interest in what Life has to teach. When we are doing nothing, we are open to receiving and letting God in. Only then can we be embraced by the Grace which is the ground of our being.
When we stop all the doing, we can start being. We can be awake and alive and aware. We can be compassionate and concerned and care. We can be willing to learn and love and grow. Spirituality is not something we do. It is something we can only choose to BE. Spirituality is the process of doing less and less and less.
The ONE true way to waste time, is to become too busy. When we become too busy to bother, to notice, to pay attention, our lives become a whirlwind, and our state becomes chaotic. Busyness is the culprit behind most of our wasting of time. Busyness is the business of ignoring our lives. It is our way of escaping the spiritual fact that we will all lose the race against Time.
Isn’t it strange to think that we are often wasting time, when led to believe we’re being productive. The problem is that what we are producing is soul numbing stress. Real productivity must be eternal. It must possess qualities which last. We need to be productive in our loving and forgiving, being gracious and generous, committed and loyal. Productivity without a point is not productive. It is the spending of time. Treating time as if it were a commodity to be bought and sold. It is failing to negotiate with Time on how it wants to use us.
Be careful. What you may think of as wasting time, might just be what God calls entering eternity. Think about it. When you lose track of time doing something you are passionate about doing, which engages you fully in an act of creation, then you have not only become a co-Creator with God, but you have moved into eternity. When we lose track of time, time has not gone missing. It has simply been transformed. Eternity equals the absence of time, which in turn equals the abandonment of all clocks and calendars.
How we experience our time is crucial to a spiritual life. The only way we can truly waste time, is by becoming so busy that we fail to pay attention to the Spirit working in our days. To waste time is to not have time for God, Self, soul or spirit. It is to neglect the seeking after a glimpse of Grace. It is spending dawn to dusk talking the talk, and never once talking with God.
A major course in spirituality is learning how not to waste time. This means being fully engaged in learning the lessons of the earth, how to receive tutorials of the heart, and how to respect the myriad ways our own lives teach us about what is of importance and consequence. When we are busy trying to bring heaven to earth, we are leading a full life. When we are busy trying to grab our piece of the pie, then we are full of that sick spirit which will eventually make us puke.
Time, my friends, from the right perspective, is always on our side. Even when we must spend days slogging through dreary routine, we still have the capacity to seize a moment of eternity. Time can work for us, when we are not trying to control it or change it or challenge it to a duel. When we embrace Time, accepting that it is in charge, we not only go with the flow, but we can receive its spiritual current. We can be led and called and absorbed by a most loving God.
Slogging is suspended when the human spirit connects with the Spirit of God. These are those holy moments when Time and ego disappear, and we are at one with the pulse of God. These are the miraculous days of great Grace, when we feel fluid and fine in every respect. We smile then, knowing the full joy of walking at the pace of a skip, or feeling the desire to strut. It is that rare time of truly walking the walk.
Reverend William R. Grimbol has spent the past 30+ years helping people create and develop strong spiritual connections with loved ones and God. He is also a published author, with over a dozen books to his credit.