There’s a time for everything: the seasons of life

Every human being knows, understands and accepts that planet Earth goes through seasons every year. Depending on your location, we usually experience four and while we may prefer the beauty of Autumn to the coldness of Winter or the vibrancy of Summer to the rebirth of Spring, it’s pretty evident that these seasons are a natural part of our Earth’s cycle. So why do we often fail to embrace and live through our own personal seasons in life? Why the lack of acceptance and resistance to change? Why must we be so attached to certain expectations and cause ourselves emotional turmoil? Why do we judge ourselves for being in a less favourable season of life instead of allowing ourselves to live it and remember that “this too shall pass?”

Author and spiritual teacher, Wayne Dyer often shares his insights on the ancient wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. One teaching which struck me like a lightening bolt was that, “there’s a time for everything.” Whenever life reaches a point where things seem to slow down or we feel there’s no significant progress being made in certain areas, we feel stagnant and start to feel bad about ourselves. If we’re not busy enough, or the relationship isn’t working out, or we’re not accomplishing many goals at once…we deem ourselves boring, useless or a failure. This is when it’s imperative to remember that there’s a time for everything and everything happens at the right time.

Do you think you could take over the universe
and improve it?
I do not believe it can be done.

Everything under heaven is a sacred vessel
and cannot be controlled.
Trying to control leads to ruin.
Trying to grasp, we lose.

Allow your life to unfold naturally.
Know that it too is a vessel of perfection.

Just as you breathe in and breathe out,
there is a time for being ahead
and a time for being behind;
a time for being in motion
and a time for being at rest;
a time for being vigorous
and a time for being exhausted;
a time for being safe
and a time for being in danger.

The Master sees things as they are,
without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way
and resides at the centre of the circle.

Wayne Dyer, Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao

Accepting that we’re not always going to be on a high and that low tides are a normal part of life sounds easy in theory but when we’re in the midst of a less favourable season we judge it and do everything we can to change it. Instead of letting go and practising patience, we struggle and yearn for life to be different. Whenever I find myself complaining about what-is or obsessing over things ‘not working out’ I bring myself to the present moment and remind myself that, “there’s a time for everything.” By releasing my judgements on whatever the life circumstance is, I allow room for peace to enter my mind and heart. Please note that surrendering to what-is does not mean resignation or complacency. Surrendering to what-is allows one to remember that this too shall pass.

“Nothing in nature blooms all year. Be patient with yourself.” – Karen Salmansohn

We feel great when everything in life is going our way, things are magically falling into place and we’re encountering success after success. However these seasons can be so alluring that we become attached and wish for them to never end. As a result, when our world slows down, life just isn’t good enough anymore.

“There are cycles of success when things come to you and thrive and cycles of failure when they wither or disintegrate and you have to let them go in order for new things to arise or for transformation to happen. If you cling and resist at that point, it means you are refusing to go with the flow of life and you will suffer. Dissolution is needed for new growth to happen. One cycle cannot exist without the other.” – Eckhart Tolle, The Power Of Now

Each season serves a purpose and so to deny one season and only accept another is futile. It’s become the norm to place expectations on ourselves and our lives wherein a season of harvest means you’re worthy and successful and a season of solitude or peace is mistaken for being a waste of time or a sign of laziness. Do we curse the Earth for slowing down in Winter? No, we know it’s a natural part of the Earth’s climate and it’s inevitable. Instead, we prepare for it and make the most of it whilst knowing there’ll be Spring again.

“Sunshine all the time makes a desert.” – Arab Proverb

When one learns to respect the impermanence of life and receives each season with open arms, there’s room for serenity and clarity. Instead of being afraid or attacking what-is, we remember that everything is temporary and nothing lasts forever; not even the so-called ‘bad’ times. Cycles on Earth are natural and necessary; they restore balance and regulate the atmosphere. So next time we find ourselves in a season we don’t like, let’s not judge ourselves. Let’s remember that there’s a time for everything and this too shall pass.

-end-

Image credit:
Matt Lewis

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The illusion of time in relation to joy

“Try to imagine a life without timekeeping. You probably can’t. You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie. Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. an alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.” – Mitch Albom; The Time Keeper.

I have been thinking about the concept of time the past few days. Time is man-made however this physical reality we live in is linear. I remember watching a show a few years ago on near death experiences and I heard one man say of his experience that in the afterlife, there is no concept of time whatsoever. This blew my mind. Imagine living in a world where there’s no such thing as time. No past, present or future. No need to keep track of the minutes, hours or dates. Just being where you are. Ekhart Tolle has a whole book on being in the present moment, The Power of Now. However, remaining focused solely on the present moment and preventing the mind from wandering is difficult since we’re conditioned to live our lives around time. It’s not impossible though as there are moments in which we naturally focus on the present. Such moments can be found whilst doing creative work, savouring time spent with friends, family, your lover. Days spent at the theme park or extreme activities such as mountain climbing or sky diving also naturally encourage relishing in the present moment. These events take us away and we forget the need to be on our phone or checking the time to ensure that we are on track or waiting for the next moment before it’s arrived. As a result, the beauty of life is appreciated and joy is felt.

When time is forgotten, life is so fun and stress free. Obviously everybody has responsibilities and so cannot really eliminate time from their life. However I look back on my life last summer with a strong feeling of freedom associated to it. I had graduated university and was having a whale of a time. I actually felt as though I had all the time in the world and life had just begun. The world was my oyster and I was spending my free days being unemployed gaining work experience or meeting friends. As time went on (the irony) I began to feel that I needed to begin proving myself or before I knew it, I’d be looking back at myself in disappointment. Disappointment that I had let time slip away and wasn’t attaining what I desired such as pursuing my dreams and a career. Those thoughts were fear based and false since fear is an illusion. Whilst I was enjoying myself, the opportunities were coming to me anyway and I was focused on the freedom before me.

Earlier this year I felt stagnant. I felt as if time was running out and I was just watching the days pass. Nothing seemed to be going my way and I was not having as much carefree fun as I had in the summer. The days became boring and I felt that my time was worthless. During the first half of this year, I had chosen to see my time as wasted when really everything works out how it’s supposed to. I was too focused on everything I was lacking which happens easily when the mind has too much time to wander and isn’t tamed. The abundance I felt last summer had gone as I felt a lack of it in time and opportunities. Thankfully I am enjoying myself again and see structure and value to my days. I am seeing and embracing opportunities and no longer feel stagnant or lack.

“Time is an illusion.” – Albert Einstein

The illusion of time and not having enough reduces joy. It increases stress and the feeling of life slipping away. Where do such feelings and thoughts come from? Our ego. The mind craves control and the ego is fear based. Choose freedom. There is a feeling of freedom found in detaching from the notion of time as life begins to be viewed with an open mind. With freedom in your heart and an open mind, joy is felt a lot easier in each moment.

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.” – Ekhart Tolle; The Power of Now

Time is precious as we each have the power to bring value to it through meaningful moments and events. Therefore the concept of time is best utilised to our advantage by making it enjoyable rather than letting it be a disadvantage through lack of presence.