Connected Time

Many years ago when I was studying with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche he sent me down to care take some retreat property in a remote valley in southern Colorado. The cabin I stayed in was very rustic. This was a time before cell phones and computers. There was not even a radio in the cabin.The day after I arrived, the watch which my parents gave me for my college graduation present broke. I had no idea how dependent I was on that watch. What should I do? When should I eat? I felt anxious and out-of-sorts for days. And then I began to adjust. I slowed down. I got in touch with the rhythms of nature all around me. I was situated in Huerfano valley, north of a small town called Walsenburg. From where my cabin was, I could see a great distance up and down the valley. When storms rolled through, I could see them coming from many miles away. Slowly, I shed some of my urban malaise as I increasingly connected to this beautiful, remote world. There was really no escape, so I just settled in. If I was out hiking or doing an errand, I got very good at judging from where the sun was in the sky, how much day light I had to get home. Through this experience I discovered another sense of time, one this is more organic and participates in the rhythms of nature, along with the sun and moon's cycles.

I call this "connected time". It's a sense of time that arises when you are connected to a larger world. Notice how you never seem to have enough time. Time seems to slip away from you. When you imagine that time is merely a unit of measurement, this separates you from time. So instead of living in "connected time", you end up "serving time".

"Serving time" may give you a false sense of order, security and control. In this prison of your own making, you are a victim of time. It's all about coping which gives rise to tension and stress. The trouble is that this controlling self drives for results from too small a place. You just keep pushing through any obstacles or resistance which creates further resistance. While this prison you have constructed may seem familiar it's also a bit claustrophobic, and it's very painful because as long as you live here you are disconnected.

"Connected time" arises from being in an intimate and dynamic relationship with a larger world. This sense of time is rhythmic, flowing and dynamic. It includes past, present and the future in your experience right now. And here you to re-inhabit time. Here there is no coming and going, no victim, but an active participant.

Connected time can help you shift from driving results to attracting them. The pull of connecting to others and their needs is far more powerful and enduring than the push to control them. Influence comes from connecting with others and showing how your idea connects with their interests as well. In "connected time" people are not nouns; not separate objects floating in space, but active participants co-arising in a sacred space together. What arises from "connected time" is joy and enthusiasm. We shift from coping to thriving. When you make this shift, you begin to sense the larger forces at work in whatever situation you're dealing with. What may come as a surprising discovery is that here your aspiration actually attracts the future. Here you are time itself. And there is no rushing or busyness as you usually experience it, yet a great deal is accomplished. It's like a great stillness in the eye of a storm. When you re-inhabit time in this way you will experience your world with great intimacy and peace that passes all understanding.

Robert Althouse