In Sacred Balance by Melinda Emily Thomas, there is a chapter entitled Daily Rhythms: Balance in Ordinary Routines. She compares the daily schedule of those who practice Aryuveda to the Order of the Rule from St. Benedict. Both challenge us to look at our days in parts.
The Rule dictates prayer 8 times a day. The monks start the day at 2 a.m. in prayer and meditation (having gone to bed at 6 p.m. they still had 8 hours of sleep). At Dawn, the monks begin their work. At mid-morning there is another pause for liturgy and work. At around 10 a.m. after working, the monks return to study and prayer. At noon there will be a light lunch and further study until 2:30 p.m. Mid day is time for work before late afternoon light supper. At night, the beautiful service of Compline is held followed by a period of silence and sleep by 6 p.m.
In our modern fast paced world we rarely notice time except that we worry of it passing too rapidly and not allowing us what we need to accomplish our “to do” list. A funny example is in the book, Gulliver’s Travels, where the Lilliputians first saw a watch and declared that it is obviously Gulliver’s God for he looks at it all the time and seems to live by it.
In Gary Eberle’s book, Sacred Time and the Search for Meaning, he writes: “Sacred Time is what we experience when we step outside the quick flow of life and luxuriate as it were, in a realm where there is enough of everything, where we are not trying to fill a void in ourselves or the world, where we exist for a moment at both the deepest and loftiest levels of our existence and participate in the eternal life of all.”
Many of my friends are retired now and our days are truly our own to fill. Do you rush through your day, running against the clock or do you strive more like the monks and work contemplation into your day? Take some time to reflect on time and ask yourself if you are keeping it sacred.