The following story is in The Big Leap by Dr. Gay Hendricks (Link to my podcast episode with him): A manhattan stockbroker was running late one morning and sprinted to catch the train to Wall Street. He was trying to balance a cup of coffee, a bagel, and his briefcase. Inside the subway he was “jammed in with the other riders on a crowded train.” As time ticked he looked at his watch “but couldn’t raise his arm because he was wedged in so tightly between people. He felt a wave of panic building because he couldn’t see what time it was or access how late he might be for his meeting.”
Have you ever felt similarly pressed for time? Whether it was work to get to, things to do or things to learn, sometimes there are so many things you either have to do, get to do, or want to do. Yet, due to the volume of activities it can feel like you’re squeezed and can’t do them all. It’s definitely doable in that there is enough time in the day, especially if you schedule a time for each activity, but how sustainable is that? More so, how exhausting is that?
Take a moment to consider how you have responded to situations like this in the past.
The manhattan broker applied what Dr. Hendricks calls “Einstein Time.” What did he do? In realizing his current approach of panic, he shifted his mindset, relaxed his body, and “focused on enjoying the moment in-spite his wedged state.” He closed his eyes and put his attention on being just where he was. Rather than anxiously assessing the time, he let the urge pass and arrived to work in a calm manner. To his surprise, he was not late at all and nobody was in the room yet. He sat down patiently waiting and “relished the at-ease feeling in his body.” People began to stream in with complaints about trains, coffee lines, and such that he too experienced. He just smiled.
Often the conception of time we adopt is skewed that, as Dr. Hendricks shares, we either feel there isn’t enough time or that there’s too much of it. This understanding of time is all based on an outmoded, Newtonian paradigm. In fact another name for it is called the clockwork universe characterized by its materialistic vision of isolated inert objects(matter) that interact in a linear cause and effect fashion. “The Newtonian paradigm,” Hendricks writes, “assumes there’s a scarcity of time, which leads to an uncomfortable feeling of time urgency.” In order to accomplish all the things on the to-do list, it could require lots of scheduling, time-management, rushing from one thing to another, and doing what it takes to get them checked off. However, Einstein time is the realization that “you are where time comes from.” Rather than viewing time as linear, it - meaning past and future - is all happening in the present moment. When a person truly embraces this truth, it will lead them to move with more presence, ease, and firm action.
In the JEM (Jewish Educational Media) video How To Use Your Time To The Fullest, there is a clip of the Lubavitcher Rebbe sharing a word on this concept as well: When one is busy doing something, everything they did in the past, and whatever they will do in the future, are as though they are non-existent, if they are not relevant to the current activity. True [it may be] only a short moment, but during this short time, one dispels all distracting thoughts of the past or the future, and this enables them to use the present moment to the fullest. And this is called “success with time.”
Seizing the moment is not about rushing to do something. It’s being in a space of readiness, promptness, for whatever arises in the present moment.
We’re always exactly where we’re meant to be, and “everywhere you are it’s exactly the right time.” Even in the situation of the manhattan stockbroker where there is much to dwell on and worry about, he let go of control and chose to embrace the moment. In our lives, we may not be jammed in with other riders on the subway, but we may feel jammed between things to do. The best solution is to take a deep breath and gently bring your attention to the present moment, entertaining no thought towards the past or future. The present moment is where you’re most focused, clear, calm, and in harmony with time.
Time is not outside of you. Although clock time is necessary for meeting with other people, scheduling when to do certain activities, don’t allow it to control you. Use it as a tool, and it will no longer use you.
What can you do next time you feel rushed - to be somewhere, do something, or the like?
Become aware of the thoughts and feelings you have. Are you in panic or trying to rush?
Take a deep breath, and remember that you are time.
Focus on and appreciate the present moment - what’s going on around you? Place your attention - without judgement - on where you are.
Continue on in this space. It’s all done. There is no place to get to. When you arrive is the perfect time.
In the evening, review your day considering where you may have rushed. Ask yourself how you will improve next time a similar situation arises. In the morning, set an intention for how you will respond throughout the day. In this way, you’ve laid down the networks so that when you may feel rushed, you have the awareness to realize it and can respond differently. [To read further in The Big Leap, read Chapter 6 Living in Einstein Time. Similarly, Dr. Joe Dispenza refers to a similar concept as the Quantum model of the universe vs the Newtonian model, as briefly touched upon above.]