It’s amazing how many of us never seem to have enough time. Perhaps we all take the proverb ‘Time and tide wait for no man’ to mean that we have to keep running in order to catch up. In fact, much of western culture is oriented towards ‘saving’ time, speeding things up. The results? Fast food, fast traffic, and fast information – leading to indigestion, blockages, and confusion! Taking more time, making space for ourselves, could be the single most important thing we do in the course of the day, in the course of our lives.
We need time and space to feel the impact of our experience, digest what we’re taking in, and see what’s happening. The idea of spontaneous responsiveness is very attractive, and it can seem like the best and most genuine way to behave. The 60s suggestion to ‘Let it all hang out’ could well have been based on a truth – that it’s better not to suppress or deny feelings or thoughts that may become distorted and block genuine expression. But there’s a catch. First of all, our behavioural patterns are based on experience from very early on in life. Our personality has had a long time to become fixated and rigid, and in fact, literally second nature to us. And again, most of this happens unconsciously. We don’t even realize that we’re often reacting on the basis of lessons learned and conclusions drawn in infancy – and then reinforced again and again – rather than in response to what is there in the moment.
It is possible to come to understand why we always seem to see certain situations turn up in our lives. To investigate the layers of distortions and misunderstandings that have come to cloud the expression of who we really are. To find out why we seem to end up with bosses who never seem to recognize our real value, partners who don’t fully appreciate us, family members who can’t see us for who we are, or neighbours who persist in encroaching on our space. And of course, the opposite can also be true – employers who praise us to the heavens, friends and family who worship the ground we walk on, acquaintances who can’t do enough for us. For some strange reason, however, we don’t usually feel stimulated to question the second category of experiences!
Luckily, there are increasingly numerous sources of support and guidance to help deal with the difficulties we encounter; professional psychological, emotional, physical, and spiritual caregivers. And with the advent of more true knowledge and experience relating to the human psyche, there are also growing opportunities for self-help. Taking time to explore our experience mindfully allows for understanding and growth. Definitely worth enquiring into!