Remember the Jim Croce song, “If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I’d like to do, is to save every day ’till eternity passes away just to spend it with you…” 

We have a strong attachment to time.  Some are seemingly slaves to time.  Our whites boards, desk calendars, blackberries, our lists of things to do; all serve to keep us on task and married to the passing of time with the goal to pack in as much as possible, as successfully as possible.

As children, we can’t wait to get to the next age; always careful to report that we’re “three and a HALF” not just “three”.  We are eager to experience the benefits of getting older like driving and voting and working to be finanically independent.  Then our relationship to time takes a turn and we want to put on the brakes and stop time from taking our youth and beauty; we manufacture youth by smoothing wrinkles and cutting into ourselves to ‘repair’ the effects of aging.  Something that was so exciting and anticipated, the passing of time, is now a  demon out to steal our vibrancy. In our golden years, we look in the mirror and wonder who that old person is staring back at us.  Inside we still feel like the youngster, yet time has altered our outward appearance and changed how we are perceived by the world.

In my yoga practice, we chant an invocation at the beginning of each session which ends in “mrityorma amritam gamaya”, Sanskrit for “lead us from time-bound consciousness to the timeless state of being.”  The feeling of being bound by time whether that means holding on to memories past, struggling to cross off your current ‘to-do list’ items or worrying about the future, is one of contraction and often conflict-filled. 

As we practice through various yoga techniques to soften our relationship to time, we move from that state of frenzy to a state of ease and peace.  Haven’t you ever experienced that timeless state?  Sure you have.  Maybe it was during exercise or sex, watching a movie or reading a book, gardening or golf.  I used to make pottery, and I remember how I worked on the wheel for hours and suddenly realized the sun was going down.  Where did the time go?  It seemed to stand still or was it moving so fast I didn’t notice? 

When we are integrated with what we are doing, completely engaged in the moment, we merge into time.  The dancer becomes the dance.  The singer becomes the song.  It’s a beautiful peaceful feeling that can be a recurring and consistent reality if we begin to study and practice with our relationship to time.

The world is fleeting; all things pass away. 

Or is it that we pass and they stay?

-Lucian