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Archive for April 19th, 2009

..there is always time..

I have been toying with the idea of having a blog for a long time. Two main reasons prevented me from doing so, the first being time or rather lack of it. Many who seek eternal youth will say that time is our one common enemy. This however, I think is very much debatable.
 
Recently I have had to think about time and how it was passing me by, a very natural thought process you might say for someone reaching a certain age.
 
It all started when I became heavily involved in an IT project. For weeks my life was dominated by work and deadlines. I was eating, sleeping and breathing it.  Every activity unrelated to work became a distraction. I had no time for anyone or anything as my days were divided into sections of hours and minutes, with a checklist next to each section. I wanted to put my heart and soul into this work, but of course deadlines and checklists had a different opinion.
So I ended up working ridiculously long hours. It soon became clear to me that these deadlines and checklists were no more than information translated into fancy charts and graphs for management meetings. They had nothing to do with the real needs of the people, nor did they represent an implementation of a much needed solution. A situation that I am sure many of us are only too familiar with.


Gradually, I started missing the simple things that life had to offer, such as talking to friends, going to a movie, taking time to cook a nice meal for my family or even doing simple chores around the house.  On one hand I kept thinking that life would become normal again once I met my deadlines and on the other hand the offers of new projects were too tempting to pass up, which meant more deadlines and checklists.
 
Being tired of this ongoing race against the clock, I was taking a break one day when I came across some old family photos. Everyone, including me, looked so carefree and relaxed.
 
I remembered how life used to be. My day did not start with a noise of an alarm clock, but with the sound of early birds or the sweet voice of my father chanting a prayer or my grandmother calling me.  The day began with some light breakfast of sweet tea, bread and cheese, and the determination to understand the quadratic equation or get to the bottom of compound carbons. I was revising for my exams. On a blanket under the shades of an old walnut tree, I used to line up all my books around me and drown myself into my studies. My surroundings did not disappear, but blended into the day and became part of it.  It wasn’t a choice, but a way of life. The day was not measured in hours or minutes, but rather in the completion of tasks. Time had stopped.
 
Later on it was the same, only the mission had changed.  I would set off in the morning walking towards the next village to take a children’s class or do some shopping, not only noticing, but also being mesmerised by the autumn’s golden colours or the many different shades of green on offer. 
 
Years later it was our children who shaped our days.  When they woke up, the day began and would then be divided into various activities. Morning was when we walked to school exploring the laws of composition and decomposition in simple stories, trying to explain why there was a snail on top of another snail and that they weren’t fighting. The most complex realities of life would be simplified through stories and that was how time was spent.
 
 In those days, even though life was more restricted and there were too many different tasks to perform, everything around us would be seen, noticed and appreciated. 
 
The fact that time is passing us by is of no concern. Everything has a beginning and also an end. Without the end, the beginning has no meaning. The end of one cycle always initiates the beginning of another cycle.  But time takes with it our energies, our powers, strength and vitality. Sooner or later we ask ourselves where has the time gone, or rather, where has our powers gone. What did we do? How did we fill our moments, what did we leave behind and what do we have to show for our existence.

 

It is a sad reality that often our sincere and hard work becomes lost in the world of politics and hidden agendas. A world where people circle in frenzied motion all day long in pursuit of position and power but not much is achieved, a pattern of behaviour imposed upon us by the standards of the present world order.


I ask myself if I want to be part of this. Time needs to pass, but do we want to let it pass us by while we are too busy oiling the wheel of success for the undeserving or are too engaged in supporting a collapsing and redundant system, whilst missing the beauty of life and everything that really matters.
 
I believe that there is this deep, spiritual need in all of us to continuously give something meaningful back to the world, something which is our own creation, a sign of our nobility and at the same  time  its fruit.

 

For many of us these spiritual needs are suppressed and buried under the rubbles of the present world order. Being pushed by the strong currents of life, created by our own hands, we have long forgotten our own nobility and are just struggling to reach a destination which is no more than a mirage.

 

Sooner or later however we realise that we need to able to look back and say to ourselves that we did some good in the world, we made a real difference, and our existence on this planet was useful to some and meant something. We need to know that our powers were spent in pursuit of a sustainable goal, which benefited someone other than, or as well as ourselves. We all have this need to find the beauty and the inner reality of this world and of ourselves.


Thinking this way, time becomes a precious commodity which holds our powers and vitality in its hands and that its every second needs to be treasured and used to leave lasting memories behind.
 

As `Abdu’l-Bahá  says:


“When there is love, nothing is too much trouble and there is always time’

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