Spiritual Time Management – Part 2
Zen Teachings on Time Management
In part 1 of spiritually oriented time management, we introduced the key concept of doing things right away. So, whenever life popped up with a task to do, the idea was to try to reject all excuses and make every effort to try and respond to that challenge and get the work done.
This approach would then allow new opportunities to emerge and prevent the mind from being weighed down with clutter and incomplete tasks. In this second part of the series, we will continue to understand time, and time management from the perspective of a spiritual heart.
To understand this next important concept in time management, let us pay a visit to our favorite monastery and see what Zen Master Blumise is up to there (visit the spiritual stories category or the spiritual stories tag, for more adventures at No Wind Monastery).
Zen Master Blumise on a Whacking Spree
There was chaos at No Wind Monastery. The monks were running scared and the cause of their fear was none other than the head abbot, Zen Master Blumise. They all knew that the only monk who could help them in such desperate times was senior monk Tara, and the monks were running around frantically trying to find her.
Finally, a group located her sitting by the river enjoying the late afternoon sun.
"What’s all this ruckus about?" she asked, rather alarmed at seeing a gang of anxious monks approaching her. "And why is one side of each of your faces red?" she continued, noticing the glowing redness on the left cheek of every monk.
"Master Blumise has lost his marbles," replied Chin. "He is running around the monastery asking everyone what time is it? And as soon as you tell him the time, he gives you one tight slap and moves on to the next victim. In fact, he has slapped monk Gzan twice today already, see both his cheeks are red!" Chin exclaimed, while pointing out Gzan’s very red face.
"The old bugger is still pretty strong," muttered Gzan.
Just then a very irritated Master Blumise burst onto the scene.
"Tara!" he yelled, "What time is it?"
Tara looked up calmly, smiled and said, "The time is now, Master," and that was the end of that. Master Blumise bowed deeply to his beloved student and left the now awakened congregation of monks to reflect on this right answer.
Analysis of Zen Master Blumise on a Whacking Spree
This is of course the ultimate concept of time when it comes to the spiritual dimension. This approach cuts across all the great schools of spirituality, whether that be Zen Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta, Gyan Yoga, Sufism, etc. Without fail, each enlightened master has stressed the need to be mindful of the moment, aware of the now, a witness to the ego in action and those who heed this advice uncover the True Nature of Reality.
Live One Moment at a Time:
To a master, the time is always now. This means that the linear view of time, specially with regard to personal gain or loss, is simply rejected. Thus, all that matters is, now. In part 1 we discussed the importance of doing things right away, and here we take it a step further, in indicating that live as much as you can in this very moment.
This, of course, has nothing to do with maximizing pleasure, what is being said here is that attend to and embrace the moment, and don’t stray constantly to the past and future. All you have is the now, so don’t miss that, everything else is only a concept. With regard to time management, this means that the time that is most critical to manage is the very moment that you are in. If you take care of each moment in your life, you will end up taking care of your life.
Live One Day at a Time:
I would like to mention here that, although the emphasis is on living one moment at a time, it is also a very good approach to extend this to living one day at a time. Just make each day go right. In each day, try to include the key components of a spiritual life (the article 10 Things to do Daily is a nice guideline for what to try to do everyday). Just worry about doing your activities and let the results flow on their own.
The Importance of Leisure:
There is one more important view of time, from the spiritual perspective, that I did not include in this series because I have already covered it in the article Money Money Money and the Path to Enlightenment. That article, indicates the right use of money, which is to buy us leisure. Leisure is critical to your spiritual growth.
So in addition to doing things right away and being mindful of the now, it is important to organize your life so that you maximize leisure. This leisure though, should not then be squandered on endless entertainment. This leisure can provide the right atmosphere for self inquiry to take place and insight to explode. So don’t make commitments that force you to be so busy that all leisure is lost. Make your commitments wisely.
So from a spiritual perspective, time management is all about managing time so you can then discover the timeless.