How much time do we have?

This question will come as no surprise. You’ve probably already asked it yourself. Right now – quite legitimately – ecologically focused people are focused on it. If you’re not, ask it and set your alarm clock accordingly. Times are a changing…

3C No 2 Clock Watcher Twitter.jpg

The system and climate breakdown activists among us scream ‘we’ve got a decade if we’re lucky’, the productivity gurus start pressing their apps, the financially focused make fantastical forecasts, the spiritual prophets rub their hands to usher in new dimensions and a large majority frantically check their facebook messages.

But Benjamin Hoff’s Pooh bear and the Taoists are unconcerned, ‘Tao does not do, nothing is not done.’ Or to put it Pooh’s way…

‘Just how do you do it, Pooh?’
‘Do what?’ asked Pooh.
‘Become so Effortless.’
‘I don’t do much of anything.’ he said.
‘But all those things of yours get done.’
‘They just sort of happen’.

[The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff]


And here’s the rub. We can’t act EFFECTIVELY (let alone creatively) if we’re time-bound. This does not mean we DO nothing. In fact we find all kinds of adventures present themselves and we do exactly what needs to be done right now.

A sheep saunters in with a poem in its mouth. It was inspired by an article on Medium whose author warned his readers ‘nothing is free, especially time – there’s a price to pay’. Actually, that’s not true: nothing and time are free and immediately available, which is possibly why we spend them without a second’s thought… We’ve forgotten that ‘there’s no time to lose’. It’s up to each of us to give it away generously rather than hoarding it as if there isn’t enough. Then we might just be able to stop the clock and utilise the only time we have at our disposal: the present.

The answer to the question ‘How much time do we have is, of course, a paradox: we have no time at all and all the time in the world.
— Pearl's Pearl

A weird thing happens when I remember the maxim ‘to speed up, slow down’. My shoulders drop. Miraculously, as the timelessness of this moment is felt, the prism of ‘past and future arising in the present’ radiates its clarity and facilitates conscious choices which include all three.

The shed is drenched in stillness as the clock stops.

What’s the problem then? Good question! And the answer is short, sweet and simple…