As the river of time flows,
try managing it.
Nobody can manage time because it ebbs and flows
What we can manage is what we do in the time that we all have.
The question is – How do we decide what to do in the time that we have?
Let’s say it is a Tuesday 22nd February 2022 6 am in India.
Your system of managing what you do, your karma has to be able to answer the question – What are you doing and what do you want to do next? Why are you doing what you are doing? Is what you are doing contributing to lasting happiness?
It is likely that you would be doing something on that Tuesday which has been decided on the basis of a system you have developed for yourself. Books and apps on productivity have certainly helped us get more done on the ever growing to-do list, made us more efficient but also made us more anxious because of the limited time we have. And there seems to be no respite from it all, if we also add the cacophony of social media to it.
Time is the one thing we cannot earn once spent, no matter how intelligent or rich we are. Rather than face this inherent limitation of time we distract ourselves with binge watching. We chase the fantasy of a perfect work-life balance but if we don’t have a life in the first place, what balance are we talking of? We procrastinate and yet plan compulsively. We avoid having the leisure so that we can see the bigger picture.
Then, what is the best use of our limited time on this planet? Your system of managing what you do with your time is related to decisions, processes and roles based on what you think the purpose of your life is and hence what your life priorities are.
If it is not clear then what wisdom does the Bhagavad Gita offer about the priorities for a karma yogi?
vyavasaayaatmikaa buddhirekeha kurunandana
bahushaakha hyanantaascha buddhayo’vyavasaayinaam (2.41)
With reference to this (moksha), Arjuna, the descendant of Kurus!
There is a single, well-ascertained understanding.
The notions of those who lack discrimination are many branched and innumerable indeed
A Karma yogi is not a different creature but a person who is pursuing the ultimate pursuit of moksha. He or she has vyavasaayatmika buddhi – a clear ascertained understanding about what he/she seeks from life and how it can be gained. The buddhi, mind, therefore, is said to be ekä, single-pointed. For the karma yogi, there is only one goal, moksha, in the form of jnana, knowledge.
The person clearly sees that through all the pursuits of pleasure, wealth and reaching out actions, ‘What I am really seeking is freedom from seeking’. I am tired of chasing after the next new shiny thing. Despite all my success, at the end of life, people will say – ram naam satya hai, the name of Ram is the only truth..a sentence uttered when the dead body is taken to the cremation grounds. Everyone is going to be met with old age, disease and death, limitation in other words.
If that indeed was our reality, we might as well reconcile with it. But it is not.
Vedanta says that one is already the limitless and ever free of any limitation.
But my experience says that I do not call all the shots. All my experiences have 3 characteristics –
The experience of having an icecream or a vacation or a psychedelic experience begins and ends in time.
The same experience does not give me the happiness it once did.
One becomes dependent on the experience for one’s happiness which is frustrating especially when you cannot control it. For instance, as the weekend approaches you anxiously wait for the video call of your 20 year old studying in the US. It your spot of happiness in the entire week.