Time pressure seems to be a universal problem in the so called modern society. More and more people I hear saying that they have not got enough time and it does not surprise me the fact that doctors have come to coin a name for this symptom, ‘hurry sickness’. For people suffering from this ‘illness’, life is a race. They are running from one place to another, they are impatient, they can be aggressive and typically they try to speed up all that they are doing. Possibly we all have had moments like that, when we multi-tasked or tried to squeeze as many things as possible in one single day. Days like this cannot really be pleasant, there is no harmony but only a kind of endless pursuit.
I am also sure that you remember situations or experiences when time was not a problem whatsoever, when you were engaged in doing something and all was perfect the way it was, no rush, no pressure, no desire to be anywhere else, just 100% present in whatever you were doing at that moment. According to psychologist Csikszentmihalyi this is called flow and he describes it in this way:
Being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.
When you are in such a state, there is not time stress. On the contrary, Csikszentmihalyi adds:
a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.
So what meditation and mindfulness have got to do with this concept of flow? Well, once again Csikszentmihalyi has something to say about that:
the similarities between meditation and flow are extremely strong; meditation is like a very thoroughly planned flow activity.
It goes without saying that people who practice meditation and mindfulness are more likely to be able to access and stay with the flow state. So, how do we want to spend our life? Constantly racing against time or entering the flow state? Of course it is easier said than done but, I guess that as for everything, it is worth giving it a go and be curious about that. Explore and experiment. Take some time every day for timelessness or meditation. Do your best to simplify your days and try to do only the essential bits. Think of quality rather than quantity. Scan your days and see how you spend them. What inspires you? What does not? What can you do to improve them and enter this space of flow for as long as possible? Be committed to dedicate this time to yourself, be patient and gentle, just try and see how it goes. The mind is most of the time trying to toss us around like an empty bottle on the ocean’s waves. Let’s try to use the mind to do what is in front of us rather than being used by it. Meditation and Mindfulness can help a big deal in this matter as they are the best tools you can use to train your mind.
Meditation and Mindfulness can help to deal with time pressure. They can help to enter a different space of action where the mind becomes focused on the object in front of us rather than the abstract of the mind itself. What not giving it a go? What is there to lose?