I needed to find a way to stop time. The constant passing succession of calendar days was making me dizzy. By the time I bought a calendar for the new year it was already the next year. The years keep passing like wind. As I get older the months pass so quickly that I am all of a sudden balding and going gray. I seem to have less time as I grow older in time and I am afraid that before I know it everything I love will be demolished by time .
In an attempt to stop time I have tried perpetual masturbation, week long meditation, month long episodes of fasting and drinking binges that went on for years. I have tried to become a Buddhist and accept the inherent emptiness in all things, but the thought made me sad and anxious. My meditation teacher worked with me to be more accepting of time rather than trying to do away with it all together. “Courage,” he said “is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” He kept trying to get me to have the courage to accept time but all I wanted was to find a way to stop it, dead in its tracks.
Our society is made up of little excerpts of being on time. “Rapid Service,” “Overnight Shipping,” “The World On Time.” It is almost as if we think that we are lengthening our lives by speeding time up. A stranger who I happened into an interesting conversation with at a cafe said, “Time is a man made construct to express time as an illusion. You see, time is a concept that we use to express birth, growth, degeneration and death.” Interesting I thought. Maybe I could stop time if I can learn to forget about the past, loose all my memories and forget about yesterday. Then the thought came to me, “If I do not have a job, friends, wife or places to be- then I would never have to worry about being on time. I could live outside of time!!”
I thought about this for a few days and realized it would never work. If I forgot about my past and gave up my responsibilities I would end up lonely and poor. I do live in a society that is addicted to time. We use time up quicker than we can appreciate its passing- this is why I always hear people lamenting the passing of time. We exist in a psychological state that feels the absence of time. We live with a loss so great that the only thing we can do to medicate our pain is move quicker or drink and eat more.
I suppose that it is impossible to stop time. Time is a movement forward and no matter how much I try to sit still or walk backwards..time still seems to pass me by. I grow older without even having the time to experience being young. The more I look in the mirror the less I can see an image of myself reflected back at me. Time seems to be erasing all things that I felt to be familiar. My aquarium remains unwashed, my clothes stay dirty and my heart seems to grow more weary with the passing of each day.
I woke up this morning realizing that time is apart of being human. I could stop it no more than I could stop rain. If I concentrate hard enough during my meditation, I can forget about time- but still my hair turns gray and wrinkles appear on my skin. I returned to my meditation teacher this morning who quoted T.S. Elliot. He said, “Time past and time future are all contained in time present.” Then he handed me a pen and asked me to write a few Haikus. This is what I wrote:
Look at the dust/this is me,/tomorrow.
Inquire mind,/tell me,/nothing.
Not knowing/My days pass/I am free.
Stuff becomes/Nothing./So unstuff.