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Time By: Dixon Rexach Toro

Time is not what you think it to be. Its very enigmatic structure has puzzled me for a while now, leading me to having a strong desire to discover its secrets. I would’ve never found out how intertwined it is with who we are and what our sense of self becomes as we progress through our life. 

Time, in my perspective, does not seem to only be a form of measurement but rather an extension of our very being. Time and Self are but the same entity, dancing to a tune that allows them to move together in unison.


On a warm summer morning, I decided to wake up to my spiritual practice; a self-studying technique found in Japanese Soto Zen Buddhism called Koan, or “Zen question for meditation”. I sat in my meditation pillow first thing in the morning and contemplated on the topic: “What is time? What does it mean to run out of time? What does time have to do with me?” I thought to myself. I found myself that morning more confused and my mind foggier than usual, so I got ready to take most of the day into solitude with this question in mind to a place that allows shelter from any distractions. It’s a small forest with much vegetation covering my vision with different shades of green and wild creatures next to a busy street – trees, bushes, leaves, moss, poison ivy, squirrels, red robins, geese, deer, otters, groundhogs, and the Passaic River were present at that time which created an ambient rhythm that dissolves any confusion inside of me. I brought my yoga mat and meditation cushion to sit down once again to ponder the question. 

It indeed was a very unusual morning that day, as if the entire world was waiting for an answer for me to express. 5 minutes into the meditation, I heard no more traffic, the bird’s tweeting came to a halt, all the creeping animals were unseen, and the river came to a pause. There was this stillness that the entire world provided for me. “Let’s get into it then” I thought. In the process of practicing Koan, I eventually came to the realization of what time actually is. Consciousness, as the very foundation of how experience comes into being, acts as the fuel to how life will present itself. We call that Time, how the experience will go. “Wherever I place my attention to is how my life will happen. It can happen fast or slow, depending on where my focus goes. My focus is what matters” I thought. I suddenly felt the space in the environment around me inside my body. It made it feel like I became the environment I was meditating in, like being in a dark forest and using the moon to guide one’s way home. This silence pervaded my field of experience. 

Most people feel like they are losing a grip in their life in which they must not have much time to do the things they want to do. Some people must feel like they have no control whatsoever. Why is that? Is it because, since they are thinking about it, they are causing a self-perpetuating cycle that causes them to create more pain in themselves? Is it because of their hyper-fixation on their problems that is causing them to have such a fast-paced life, to have more problems? 

Time is the product of how one’s life will go via where your attention goes. Through awareness, life may happen in very different ways that can influence how it gets processed, whether through speed or circumstance. When I placed my attention into meditating, it felt like time freezes in place and reflects the state of mind I'm in. For example, when one is stuck in traffic and angry, they place their attention towards what’s causing resistance to themselves and feel like it’s taking a long time for the cars in front to move. This is why people feel like time flies when they’re having fun or when its slow because it’s there isn’t much to do. This great mystery was unveiled to me in Koan and felt deep equanimity through it. I sat with this wisdom for a while. 

This life we live in seems so strange. Our very state of mind can be arranged in a certain way, which causes our field of experience to reflect one’s mental state. Consciousness, our personal experience, is related to Time, how the experience shapes itself to be.  

I bowed down three times; one giving thanks for the opportunity to practice, one for the practice itself, and one for the environment that allowed my practice to be possible. I packed my yoga mat, placed my meditation cushion inside my bookbag, and enjoyed the scenery for a while until I went home. With this in mind, I see now that utilizing my attention span to create the life I want and the content within it is an essential skill that everyone must learn to live life to the fullest. 

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