I experience two kinds of time—Calculated and Endless. I need calculated time to get the stuff of my life done — for example, to wash, dress, eat and make it to the office. Or to do the laundry, shopping, plan and cook dinner, exchange life stories with a friend.
Endless time is different. It’s a space beyond all my doings and achievings, a place of rest within the movements of my life. It can only appear when all the strivings fall away. While it is always a possibility, I can’t make it happen. So how to cooperate with the conditions that bring it into being? It’s easy for time to morph into Endless time on a lazy day at the beach, if I can lie on my back in the sand without urgencies to disturb me, muscles relaxed from a good long swim, watching the clouds move and listening to the silence between the waves. But it’s so much more difficult in my busy day.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t serve up a warm beach that often! Another way to call up Endless time is practicing Tai Chi (or yoga, or qigong). Invited to give up Calculated Time right at the start, I lose contact with whatever just happened or whatever’s next on my agenda, and hook my inner rhythm into the present moment. The Long Form can’t be measured in the usual sense. When I begin, I’ve no idea how long it will take in clock time. I just plant my feet in the earth and stand there for a while until I’m ready to begin.
When I feel gathered enough to say ‘yes’ to going into movement, I sink down into the form called The Beginning. From then on the whole experience unreels like a film. The forms move themselves along, sometimes slowly, sometimes faster, depending on some inner measurement deep in my Being. The inner world takes on heightened aliveness and the world outside telescopes down. I. Here. In this place. Mind tuned to my energy in movement, I acknowledge through the window of my eyes the surge upward of the powerful trees or the scattering of minute spears of grass and twigs under my feet. The touch of the wind ruffles my skin. A bird call nestles in my solar plexus.
O how I wish this for all of us, this alternative reality! It is an experience of Now that is only offered when our usual world dissolves., when we are longer at the center of our usual cosmos, and are able to perceive life in the moment-by-moment living of it. What joy life brings when we are swept into Endless Time!