A moment of time can reflect our past, present and our future. It is in the hidden moments that pleasure resides, in between the minutes that we jump over and overlook in our intense desire to strive and get on quickly; to progress and gain faster and faster. Is it so that we conform to social pressures? Is this why we skip the moments, the ones where the true secrets lie, and the secret that we are searching for? The ultimate and sustaining sanctity of happiness, the embracing arms of peace where the earth and mankind come together as One and we experience harmony. With one quick blink of an eye, most of us fail to truly see what resides in that moment. Stop! Look! Listen! And leant. Hear what the world is whispering if you dare.
To truly see, is to feel what you are seeing simultaneously. To brusquely turn away is to reject and deny the moment. It’s hard, because when that beauty touches us for the first time, a sorrow or anxiety can accompany it. This is to remind us that this is indeed a very special, most significant moment. The message that the sorrow brings tells us that this experience can be alienating and that we aren’t really happy living our lives the way that we have done up until Now. In that moment where we are wide open, we feel free, we can accept and we can be. The sorrow with its attachments wishes that we could be joined by more; many more people and moments like these and the sorrow says that this happiness can’t last forever. It’s given us a glimpse of what we instinctively know to be true, that there is much more to life. It’s worth so much.
There’s such an abundance of happiness in these moments that it defies all prior notions of value that we now find are no longer appropriate. Value and its worth take on a new meaning. It’s worth so much to us, yet it is something that we are so eager to share. There is an abundance of it so we instinctively know that we can share without the thought of what it might cost us to do so. It defies financial greed. But we know with sorrow that the world might not be ready, quite yet. It’s unfolding and we are evolving. It starts to creep in upon the road that we are racing along against the cogs of time.
The hidden moment, if stumbled upon by accident, can create dissatisfaction if we’re unable to find it again or repeat the experience. It drives us to find the exact experience again and up we get, caught in the quest for fulfilment once again. As the memory of the experience fades – either through misunderstanding, lack of support or a period of withdrawal time – we forget and re-integrate with the majority once more and take on their values as our own once again. We lose the concept, yet something in the background niggles at us. Our search may be a secret from others, hidden away for fear of disapproval because we dare to go against what we are conventionally taught.
And as we are racing, our instincts tell us that at this fast pace, preservation is a necessity; that there is a very real reason for fear. It is there to protect us in the form of anxiety, stress, depression and disease. It is our warning sign; the sign to tell us to slow down. Why is it that the cat does not like travelling in cars? Their concept of time does not blend easily with ours; our time scales are seven years apart. We and they become on hyper alert, knowing that at this pace, few of us are equipped sufficiently to cope and at this speed accidents can occur in the blink of a cat’s eye. We must constantly be looking over our shoulders and behind our backs because there’s pressure on us to get to the end, to finish the race, to succeed. It’s highly competitive the human race.
But the tortoise knew about tactics when racing against the hare. And the sun knew about the strength of warmth when competing against the strong winds of resistance. But when we’re racing so fast we can keep missing things, we don’t see the signposts. We don’t listen to ourselves. The inner voice that craves a moment’s peace goes unheard. Fuelled by the power and destructive energy of anxiety, stress and pain, it can sometimes cause us to race faster and faster, just so that we can get to the end, just so that we can finish quicker. It is one way of doing it. But does the relief of being able to stop overwhelm the joy of achievement? If we’re lucky we might get there, but it can drive some of us straight to an early grave. In our haste, we may forget to turn the corner before we reach the dead end.
For others, their significant moment might be an opportune delay. The breakdown is there to warn us that a part of the machinery needs attention. We may ask ourselves why we can’t cope and how to best go about mending and maintaining ourselves in the future; prevention rather than cure, breakthroughs rather than breakdowns. It forces us to stop and think, even if it is for a moment before the garage is called. And if we don’t listen to the mechanic’s advice or our early warning systems, we cannot blame them for lack of information if it happens again. We have to accept responsibility for not listening, and make amends or changes in order to progress once again.
If we go down a gear to get up the hill, we place less strain on the car and use less energy; we can freely enjoy the speed again, once we get over to the other side. A car cannot cruise at 60mph forever. Being aware and taking into account the environment and adapting accordingly serves us well. A good driver recognises exactly when it is appropriate to speed up or slow down.
And as for the cat meowing pitifully in her travelling basket, we may be more inclined to listen to her cries and try to calm her down, than we are to listen to our own inner tears and crying. We might be more inclined to overlook the noise because stress and anxiety are muffling blankets, making it very difficult to hear and interpret what is being said. Our focus is usually on the surface or the top layers of anything. All we initially do as we experience disease is focus on the discomfort of the symptoms.
And as the cat arrives home with relief at once again being on stable ground she goes through a routine of re-adjusting. She may tend to her needs by having a wash and calming herself down, or she may withdraw for some peace and solitude as she brings herself back to her centre of balance. She may run and hide in a safe place to cut out any further external stimuli that would only serve to heighten her already bombarded senses. The time taken to centre herself again passes quickly if her private space and time is accepted. She will come out on her own accord. Some of us might wish to offer her comfort out of the kindness of our hearts but this may stress her further. It’s her choice to withdraw, she knows what is best for her and we must respect that. If we disrespect the cat’s own internal voice, it might prolong her anxiety. If left alone, you can be sure that she will acknowledge in some way or another to you, that she has been respected. She returns of her own free will and it’s all the more joyous because we know that she is truly settled again.
And as I sit here on the bench in the sun, a little black head pops over the fence. Spooky is a very independent cat, but he has a very special deep loving bond with my partner. When he looks at him, his eyes following him around the room there is pure adoration there. He is adjusting to me and adjusting to his new home and I respect that he is a cat that doesn’t like to be restrained or over-fussed. To do this would only push him away. I acknowledge his independence and know that when he is ready he will acknowledge me as part of his family too. And he lithely comes towards me and jumps up onto my lap, for the second time only since he’s been here.
I’m writing, I’m busy, it would be all too easy to carry on, I might lose my train of thought. But maybe those thoughts weren’t as important in the overall scheme of things. Perhaps there is something to be learnt from the message that Spooky brings. It is recognising moments such as these as potentially significant, and this ‘peace’ is meandering around what we can find in these hidden moments of time. So I put my pen aside and I enjoy his attention. He purrs and looks at me with wise green eyes, his paws paddling on my lap in a state of pure contentment and I begin to see the meaning of quality time; the meaning of it, because I really am in it, truly connecting with Spooky in this moment, my attention fully focused. These are not some half-hearted absentminded strokes because I am on autopilot. I am there with him, my energy and his combining to bring a more fulfilling intimate connection.
And my thoughts wander to how the cat can teach us the joy of simplicity, the delight of simple things. A lavish toy or luxury bed from the pet shop can often be overlooked by the cat for something a lot simpler. It is for our own pleasure that we are buying; the cat can find interest and pleasure in an empty cardboard box, the old cotton reel or the scrunched-up piece of tin foil. Just like the child on Christmas Day that discards the expensive toy to play with the boxes or wrapping paper when the novelty has worn off. Are we fools unto ourselves? Are we living in a world where our actions are dictated by what we think others want or expect?
I come back full circle to the intense experience of not only feeling beauty but taking what is rightfully mine in the first place: time. It is there for us, free for all, it is a constant in our lives. You may say “I don’t have the time” but what you also say is that you are denying yourself the time. Time is there for you, for me; all we need do is look at those hidden moments and take the time out of them. This is the recipe for making time. There is no need to steal it. Time is flexible; it can be manipulated to appear as if it is passing very quickly or lengthened so that it passes more slowly. Time can be managed, if we take control of it, by prioritising our own needs and what we would like to get from it. Time can be made; time can be given as a simple but wonderful gift not just for others but for us as well. When we take time into our hands, there lie the secrets of beauty, peace and joy. Be still, like the cat and feel it for what it is, take time.