This morning I was suddenly hit by a very profound realisation of just how precious time is. Of course this isn't revelationary news…but for whatever reason, the truth of this reality suddenly hit home on a deep level.
"Ok great" you say, "that's all well and good...but what's your point?"
I'm not sure that I have one really, but if I do, it's this…
Too often we drift through life, coasting from one moment to the next without stopping to contemplate just what a wonderful experience it all is. Worse still, we're guilty of actively wasting time...spending it doing jobs we hate, surfing aimlessly around the web (I'm particularly guilty of this) and watching mindless rubbish on TV rather than using our time productively. The phrase "life's too short" is often bandied about but how many of us ever pause to really think on the implications of that statement…or to act upon them? If we did then perhaps we'd make some pretty significant changes to how we use our time. We might focus it more on the things that we love doing, the things that we're passionate about and that fill us with a sense of purpose, rather than just 'passing the time' doing things that we're not really all that interested in. We may even learn to treasure and value every single moment, to always pay attention to the joys and wonders of this world and to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude for the life that we've been fortunate enough to live.
This would mean not always grasping after what we want or can't have (ideal case scenarios), but being appreciative for what we do have. It would mean not just focussing on an abstract, indeterminate destination or goal, but fully experiencing and savouring the journey that we're on in the present moment and making that journey as productive and purposeful as possible. Yoga (amongst other practices such as meditation) can help us with this by encouraging us to be more present in the moment, more aware of what's happening in our bodies and with our minds and more attuned to our experiences.
And yes this would also mean that at times we'd need to embrace challenges and difficult situations. Rather than just giving in to our natural aversion to these situations, we could try to cultivate a sense of acceptance for whatever's present in this moment. This is obviously easier said than done, but once we bring our focus and attention to working with our present experience in an accepting way, then it becomes easier to deal with.
Again, the practice of yoga can help us to develop this skill. When we practice yoga asana we often find ourselves in unfamiliar (and occasionally disorienting and uncomfortable!) postures. But with practice comes skill. We learn to breathe through the discomfort, and indeed to embrace it, being fully open to our present experience. With time this becomes a natural reaction, one that we can carry into other areas of our life...helping us to make the most of every moment we have.