Previously (Time Stopping) I wrote about time and the perception many of us have that we never have enough of it. But how many of us really use time well? There is a very interesting connection between our thoughts about time, and those patterns of behavior that make us feel that we “don’t have enough time.” Imagine that in the 24-hour day, someone thinks there is not really sufficient time to sleep, so he always gets a bit less than he would need in order to make himself feel really great in the morning. Sound familiar? I would say a great many of us live this way; always on the edge of not very rested. I have many pupils who fit this profile.
Now let’s add to that a job of 8 hours plus 2 hours of travel time. Some of us have a lot of travel time and if we use mass transit, we may be able to read or close our eyes a bit. But many of us these days are commuting while working on a laptop/iPhone/iPod; we are effectively at the office before we even arrive.
Back to our example: our man gets to the office and the day continues with emails, phone calls, meetings (on Skype or in person, at the office or running to some other location). Generally, if this person is taking Alexander lessons, his teacher will have told him to take lie downs, but he tells the teacher he “hasn’t the time,” he gets home from work and he is “too tired,” he wants only to plop into a sofa, eat and watch the TV. “Actually,” he sheepishly says, “I tried to do one last Wednesday, but I fell asleep on the floor.” Then he asks, “What am I supposed to be doing on the floor again?”
At this point the teacher may wonder if anything in the lessons has gotten through.
If you are a teacher or a pupil, the scenario I have just described will not be unfamiliar. There is, however, a solution. It is simple. (But it goes against the habit of your life, so it is not easy!)
The answer is, in a word, mindfulness. What does it mean to be mindful, and how does this affect our experience of time? This we will explore in the The Use of Time, Part II.