Time management is a misnomer and a myth. The truth is I don’t – I cannot – manage time. It is time that manages me. Time is a most precious gift. I must treat it as such – lovingly and respectfully.
I know what time it is at any time of the day or night. At any place in the world and in the sky. In any language of the human race. I spent $ 45 B last year and bought more than 750 million watches to tell me this. I can look at the watch on my wrist that I bought with some spare change at $ 4 M or the one I got for an almost give-away price of $ 0.01. I could look at my inseparable companion, the mobile phone. If I couldn’t afford that, I could look up at the clock on the railway station or the bus station. If neither was available nearby, I could always ask a passer by.
I have no problem to know what time it is. But my problem is I don’t know what time is.
I see that time is with me all the time. I get to keep its company for 40-90 years. Maybe.
A quartz watch uses the vibrations of a quartz crystal to count time. Time uses the beats of my heart-muscle to count my life span. I’ve been allotted a definite but unknown number of heart-beats, a number most likely in the 1- 4 billion range before time discards my company. During this period, time proves to be nothing but a best friend and a beneficial company.
Time heals and educates me in the way only it can. It heals my physical injuries. It morphs my likes and dislikes. In doing so it heals my mental hurts too. When I do pay attention to it, it clears up my thinking process and makes me a tad wiser.
Time makes sure the blood circulates through my body once about every minute. Being a stern task master, it allows a maximum of only 3-5 minutes delay in blood supply to my brain. Every organ in my body is time-regulated in its interaction with one another.
I really do have a built-in clock that is “tikking and tokking” in the company of time.
[Source] Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
This built-in biological clock runs a 24 hour cycle. It is not made of cogs and wheels but is a dance symphony of interacting molecules in cells throughout my body. It provides a rhythm, the circadian rhythm, for the healthy functioning of my body, mind and behavior pattern. It determines how well I sleep, how healthy my appetite is, how aptly my hormones are made, how smoothly my cells regenerate, how well I maintain my body temperature, how well I cope with jet-lag and whether I feel depressed or cheerful. The symphony conductor is the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), a group of nerve cells in my hypothalamus, just above the optic nerves in my brain. The circadian rhythm is a fantastically nimble dance of time that not only do I get to enjoy but animals, plants, microbes and fungi also do. For more on circadian rhythm read here here.
Signals from the external environment, especially light and darkness, affect my biological clock. When there is less light, such as after sunset, the SCN directs the brain to produce more melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy.
Light from the sun sets the dance of life in motion in me through the SCN. The sun light influences the SCN and my body’s circadian rhythm.
Our rishis entered the universe of time through the door of this light. They started measuring time in relation to the sun’s movement. This is no more fruitful than counting the waves standing on a sea-shore. The counting starts when I start counting and stops when I do. My counting activity doesn’t affect the waves. Nor am I able to count the countless waves completely. But still it’s fun to do the counting. In the same way, the rishis measured time using the sun light.
Stuff appears in the course of time. And stuff disappears also in the course of time. Time envelops both. It takes a certain amount of time for the fetus to grow in mother’s womb. Rice comes to a boil in so many minutes. It takes certain amount of time for the plant to grow and bear fruit. It takes certain amount of time for the invisible energy to become visible matter. It takes a certain amount of time for things to appear. It takes some amount of time for them to disappear also. In addition to appearing and disappearing, my body also goes through the process of growth, change and decline – all controlled by time.
Time is cyclical. A Wednesday night 10:46 PM returns again in one week. Weeks repeat themselves. So do months and seasons, day and night. Time is also linear in that my age is measured linearly as are centuries and millenniums. Time is both cyclical and linear. It is also neither. It is actually beyond these.
The rishis started with an infinitesimal measure of time and ended with an incomplete gigantic measure of it. Frankly, I cannot understand either the infinitesimal or the infinite. They assigned a basic unit of measure of time called truti. This is about 0.00059 secs and is the time required for a group of eighteen hydrogen atoms to materialize and integrate. The mansion of time-measurement was built on this unit, ending in the largest time-measure unit of one full creation cycle-time at a whopping 31,104 trillion years!
These measurements are done in time and space internal to our solar system. Measurement of time becomes even more mind-boggling when we consider that our solar system is moving around the milky way galaxy; our galaxy is moving around a Local Group Cluster of galaxies which is moving around a Local Supergroup Cluster of galaxies and so on.
In the world we live in, things appear and disappear continuously for a period of 4.32 billion years. This process of appearances and disappearances then takes a break for the next 4.32 billion years before resuming again. This cycle repeats ad infinitum. In this gigantic envelope of time, I live maybe for 100 years. Not only is my life span not even a rounding error in the course of time, I cannot even begin to grasp what time is with my limited perspective and awareness. It is nothing short of ludicrous of me to even want to seek to manage it !
Utilizing time properly is a better approach than trying to manage it. Even though my life span is infinitesimal in the context of time, it is not insignificant. No, not all. I have a very significant role to play during my life span. I must serve the needy with love and sacrifice myself in love. Depending on how I utilize every moment of time, I become useful in the scheme of things.
Time is eternal. Brahma Samhita [5.52] afirms this.
I worship Govinda, the primordial Lord, under whose control even the sun, which is considered to be the eye of the Lord, rotates within the fixed orbit of eternal time. The sun is the king of all planetary systems and has unlimited potency in heat and light.
We worship Bhagavan as Time, as the essence of Time present in time, as beyond time, as the form of time, as the controller of time.
Kaalaya namah, Kaala kaalaaya namah, Kaalaateetaaya namah, Kalswaroopaaya namah, Kaala dhamanaaya namah.
Adi Sankara in Bhaja Govindam reminds me powerfully that this is all a play of Time and my life-span continuously decreases in this play. [Kaalah kreedati gachchati aayuh..bhaja govindam]
The sun sets every day taking with it about 100,000 of heart-beats in my allotted quota. When this is the case, how can I really manage and control time? It is clear that it is time that manages me.
Time is a mind-boggling yet very comforting thing. It makes everything possible and fructifies every possibility. It fulfills all my desires and moves me away from desires. It grants contentment and in the end, peace itself.
Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita [10.30], “I am Time”, “Aham Kaalosmi”. Taittreeya Upanishad declares that this eternal entity is Love only, Priya eva. Time is Love.
I am the company I keep. In the company of time, I can expand to become Love itself. Then my words, actions, thoughts, character – all will be in sync with the Seat of Love that I call as my heart. This is the end goal of the game that time is playing.
Keeping the company of time
[Image Source][Quotation Source – Sri Sathya Sai Baba]
Time is such a precious gift and blessing that I must not waste it.
The best Time Management attitude and approach I can develop is to be constantly aware that time is managing me.