You know, it just doesn’t seem like it should be a new year. Again. Didn’t we just have one of those last week? I swear, with every passing year the time seems to scream by with increasing speed. Remember when we were kids and an afternoon seemed to last an eternity? Nowadays, it is gone in the blink of an eye.
And isn’t that just scary as hell? Because, if you think about it, we blink our eyes a lot. A lot. Blink – another week past. Blink – another starry night sky ignored. Blink – another opportunity to build a snow fort with your kids lost. Blink – another chance to say “I love you” gone. Blink … blink … blink. We don’t get it back. Ever.
Think about this. There are 8,760 hours in one year. If you work 40 hours per week, sleep 8 hours per day, commute 1 hour each way to work, spend 3.5 hours preparing and eating meals each day, and an average of 27 hours per week on laundry, grocery shopping (and storing), cleaning, showering/dressing and other assorted tasks you do regularly, that leaves you only 559 hours free every year. That breaks down to about an hour and a half each day to do with as you please. And that’s only the average things that most of us do; it doesn’t count the other tasks that find their way into our schedules. Blink, blink, blink.
Gurdjieff taught that most people are basically asleep at the wheel, so to speak. They don’t notice what is going on around them because they are lulled by the regular rhythm of everyday mindless tasks, and the stupor of living up (or down) to others’ expectations. We all know the sensation of driving along, suddenly becoming aware of the fact that we have no recollection of the last 10 miles of road. Where were we?
On the other hand, we also know the excitement of anticipation when we are engaged in or about to begin some task or activity that is truly meaningful or enjoyable to us. That’s when we’re really awake.
The question is this: would we rather sleep our time away? or would we rather be awake, alive and excited about the next moment?
Granted, there are some things that can’t be escaped. We must eat. We must sleep. We must clean and care for ourselves and our surroundings. But how much of our time is spent satisfying the expectations of others? And how does it compare to that spent doing what is most meaningful and fulfilling to us as individuals?
We all have a limited amount of time in this life to do what we came here to do. Those hours we waste will not be regained, nor will some opportunities reappear if we pass them by. If we sincerely wish to gain spiritual development and growth, we must recognize what it is we should be doing with our time, and spend that precious resource wisely.
— Drema Deòraich (from January 2005)