Time out – that does not exist!
Anyone who has worked hard for many months, weeks, days and countless hours has earned a break. We speak of well-deserved holidays, the much needed break and we look forward to a lot of “time and rest – only for me”.
That is ours. Vacation. This was fought in tough collective bargaining, we have cleverly already registered at the beginning of the year in the company vacation planner … as we later on the beach early in the morning our deck chairs with the proven crew towel will mark. The date has been fixed for months. With red felt-tip pen there is a thick spread over two weeks in July: MY HOLIDAY!!! So big are the letters that nothing can force its way into it. And every day that July approaches, the red of pen becomes more intense, haunting – more promising.
And then we count the days already loud. Tell my colleagues that we only have to endure eight weeks, and then we finally start. Eight weeks, that’s 56 days or 1,344 hours … and with each passing day, it’s 24 hours less. And then it is sometime so far: then the white areas on the holiday calendar have moved up to within a few centimeters of the big red “M” of MY HOLIDAYS. IBIZA – I’m coming!
The work is not really exhausting. At least not as heavy exercise exhausts and makes you tired. The effort comes from a different place. It is the uniformity of activity. The routine. The daily monotony of always the same processes. It starts at nine o’clock. But only if the traffic jam in the city center is exactly as it always is: annoying but predictable.
Water pipe break … then it does not hurt anymore with point eight. Even if it annoys us every day: punctually at eight is still better than half an hour later. The lost time you have to stay longer in the evening … and then you are trapped in the death trap of the rush hour.
Nine to five. Every day. Monday to Friday. January to December. From apprenticeship to pension. That’s so. We got used to it. It has to be like that, they all do it that way, you can not do anything … that’s life.
In the morning, we look forward to finishing work. It’s especially hard on Mondays. there is still so awful much week ahead of us … from Wednesday it’s better then again. Half. Half the week has been completed and done – finally brought behind us. Then it’s Friday soon … YEAH … weekend. And in May there are only 1,344 hours to go to vacation. They are still going around. This is always the same every year: The time from spring to summer passes much faster than the slow autumn, which seems to freeze slowly to winter in ever-growing nights. We like that time finally disappears faster and we are glad that we have the endless wait behind us. Full of impatient expectation, we look at what else can and will come.
Once we really think that old habit of our minds to the end, we actually do. Anyone who is happy in the morning, that it is soon evening, at the beginning of the week can not wait for the weekend and in the winter is looking forward to the summer … the accustomed but imperceptible to a fatal attitude to life: NOW to look forward to LATER. To consider the COMING more important than what is NOW. PROMISING a FUTURE to be more valuable than the REAL of the PRESENT.
If you have toothache, then you may like to yearn for the end, the agony. And if you’re now involved in complex issues, you may like to crave quick solutions in the future. And if we do not really know what’s right at the moment, of course we have to work with patience and long breath on the clarity that only arises when the current confusion comes to an end and new perspectives have opened up for the future. All this is not a problem.
This attitude becomes a problem only when it has become independent. When, through years of habituation, patterns of behavior have formed that have been ground into constant habitual patterns through constant repetition. We have become accustomed to finding assembly basically stupid, to consider the so-called “free time” better than the “idle time”. We have divided our lives in business hours and after work, in work and vacation, in everyday life and leisure – and we try our lifelong time even split in terms of time and time off.
Time out – that does not exist.
Physically not. Even the few people who can understand Einstein’s theory of relativity from the reality and the unreality of time will probably not be able to fully understand the notion of time-out that has become modern. The roots of the word time-out lie in sports. There, players of a team are taken out of the game at certain times and then they can take a so-called time-out on the substitute or penalty bench. The game continues though. For everyone – except the one who has to wait for his new job on the sidelines. Until the time-out is over. The time passes anyway. Only we just do not play anymore.
Of course, the idea of a break is obvious. The desire to simply get out of everything is comprehensible and quite legitimate. If you work a lot and intensively, you need breaks. To rest and to regenerate. Every break has a beginning, a middle and an end. In between, time passes exactly as it does outside of the breaks. They are subject to the same laws of physics as the time before, after, and in between. That sounds banal and obvious. What’s remarkable and amazing is that we emotionally perceive and rate breaks differently than they actually are.
Breaks we perceive as the VIPs of the time. There is the usual and normal time. As experienced at work or during school hours, and there are breaks, vacations, holidays. These times have a special meaning for us. They are more valuable and important than all the days before. Holiday days do not match the grey of everyday work. Colourful and promising, they sting out of the stew of the ordinary. With the most diverse expectations, we have charged them with pictures, ideas, wishes, hopes and aspirations. So we feverish the dream vacation – so we hope for a super time.
When we go on vacation, we prefer to travel to distant lands and places that are very different from what we already know and have become accustomed to for many years. The first hours at the dream beach are breathtaking. Picturesque sunsets, intoxicating cocktails and exotic aborigines. Everything new and intense, exciting and fascinating. This feeling lasts for several days. It would be best that would go on forever. That’s how we think for days, weeks, maybe months. And at some point, we got used to the view from the terrace to the sea imperceptibly day after day. The sunset is still breathtakingly beautiful, but every day the same sea and the same view make the sun and sea a habit. Every day nice weather is just nice until it finally rains again and the habit is interrupted.
Even on a dream vacation you can get used to.
Because dreams also become a habit. If they have only dreamed long enough, repeated often enough, and thus become uniform and predictable step by step. The problem with habit and everyday life is neither local nor time. It is up to our attitude and attitude to places and times. If we give a higher priority to foreign and exotic places than the well-known ones and if we attach more importance to time-out or breaks than the times before, after and in the middle, then we do not solve the fundamental problem by not changing the location of the world: to be out of place can be where we are and not experience the moment when it happens.
The ability or inability to be here now is the key. Who can not be here HERE, probably can not be HERE somewhere else. Because if you’re in another place that is so distant, this new place will be the only HERE we can have. HERE is always HERE. Here or there. There, where we are with our whole being – that is, with body and mind and with heart and mind – there is always HERE HERE. There is no other place here than where we are NOW.
And there is no NOW other than the NOW at this moment either. Certainly, we can look forward to the holiday in the coming July long before … but even this pre-joy is always only NOW. And if our actual experience in July of the beach of Ipanema has become reality, it must be balanced with the ideal image of pre-joy. Unfortunately, almost all pre-positions are ideal pictures … pictures that follow an idea and all too often an ideal, or rather precede it. And then one thing is almost inevitable – the disappointment.
That the beach is not as immaculate white as in the brochure, that the locals are unfortunately not as friendly to us as in the stories of other travelers and that the weather is very different, as predicted in the weather forecast. Or everything is much nicer than you imagined. But you have to imagine the holidays not so nice, not so ideal. If one looks pessimistic and with great skepticism toward the upcoming vacation, one can preempt the disappointment … but who wants to go on vacation with someone whose view into the future of fears, fears, forebodings and doubts is clouded.
An open view is necessary.
One who does not know in advance what to do. A view that is open to the new and the unforeseen. A look that is not obscured by ideas and burdened by desires, hopes, expectations and fears and may even be hopelessly overloaded. To see a way that leaves the unplanned, the spontaneous and the creative space, to surprise and enchant us. Magic never happens planned. The magic of the moment is not designed on the drawing board of future technicians … it always arises when two things come together.
BODY and SPIRIT – HERE and NOW
When we are HERE, with body and mind and when we are NOW, with heart and mind. Then the force of reality with all its potential can knock us off the stool of habit, the capricious wind of unintentionalism can blow fresh air in our faces and chance can pour out its surprise bag full of surprises on us.
But we – we live everywhere. But not HERE – just not NOW.
We can fly to the moon, build or use complicated smartphones, and develop or work through complicated organizational structures. We can travel to the remotest corners of the world and have knowledge of the long-gone millennia or clear ideas of what the future will bring us. If we look closely, we notice that we live either in the future or in the past. Every perception of our life, every thought and every reflection deals either with something that has already passed away or with something that may or may not happen in the future. EVERY thought! ALWAYS! More precisely – almost everyone. Of the hundred thousand thought impulses of an afternoon, perhaps three or four deal with the moment HERE and NOW. All left-over thoughts belong to the past or the future.
All past moments are irretrievably over and all future experiences remain as long as unexperienced possibility and an unreal idea … until every near or distant future has become NOW. Reality always takes place NOW.
HERE and NOW to experience, you can learn. You have to learn again. As a child, we still knew how to do it. When we were immersed in our game … and there was still no separation, between experience and the one who is experiencing it right now. We and our experience were one. Can become one again. We have just forgotten … this ability has only been spilled, superimposed by adulthood and by reason and the seriousness of life. We can conquer this widely open country again. With not too much effort, we will succeed effortlessly.
This effort is called meditation.