Recently, I was on my way to an important meeting that I didn’t want to be late for. I was on one of the narrow stretches of road when my neighbor Dean approached in his truck. We had to decide which vehicle would go backwards.
Normally I don’t mind driving backwards, but this day I wish I didn’t have to. Dean seemed to read my mind and sympathetically backed his truck a long way to let me pass. As I drove past him, I rolled down my window to thank him. “No thanks,” he laughed. “We’ll all get where we need to get if we need to get there.”
Well, that ‘s just an affirmation to hang on the wall. Many of us spend much of our life rushing to get somewhere. In the process, we do clumsy things, become impatient and irritated, and sometimes cause accidents. In our rush to get somewhere, we miss being somewhere , and never seem to get anywhere.
In the Greek Bible, the first translation from the original Aramaic, there are two different words for ‘time’. The first is chronos , which equates to the way we think about time — the passage of life divided into seconds, minutes, hours, days, and so on.
The other word, kairos , is more difficult to translate, because we don’t have a word for it. The closest translations are “when the time is right,” “in season,” or “in God’s moment.” According to kairos, there is a right time for everything, and when that time comes, things happen by themselves. Kairos does not depend on time. It depends on timing .
Those of us who are inclined to live by chronos will benefit from a good dose of kairos. We would relax more and everything would work out. My friend Harriet was on her way to an appointment with her psychotherapist. On a road where overtaking was prohibited, she was chasing a slow driver.
At this rate, Harriet would be late, and she became more and more annoyed. In vain she tried everything to get past that slow one. Finally she was allowed and she flew past her enemy. When she turned and looked at the slow driver, she saw that it was her therapist. Harriet would have arrived on time no matter how slow the slow driver was driving.
Gandhi said, “There must be more to life than increasing its speed.” We are addicted to speed. Will the world be a better place if we move faster every day? At a certain point, speed no longer improves the quality of life, but distracts us from it.
People from ‘primitive’ cultures know how you just sit. They hang out with their families, watch the stars, laugh with their version of a beer, and capture magical moments that have eluded more developed countries. Those who are closer to peace are ultimately more evolved.
“There is a season for everything,” says the Bible book of Ecclesiastes. No matter how powerful we think we are, we cannot let things happen outside their appointed time. If you take fruit before it is ripe, it will be hard and tasteless. If you wait too long, it’s spoiled.
Take it at the right time, then the fruit will be tasty and nutritious. So it is with events in our lives. Getting married, finding a job, moving house, spiritual maturity, all major life events have a timing. Stay in the flow and the right things happen exactly when they need to happen. Let everything come when it wants to come, and go when it wants to go. You will be a master of Tao.
Patience doesn’t mean delaying the things you want to happen now with regret. It means discovering the beauty, wonder, and richness of what is happening now, so that you don’t have to wait for something better to come. A spiritually mature person is neither patient nor impatient. If you live in the here and now, you don’t have to wait.
If you don’t have to get there, you can be here. Here has everything you are trying to get there for . It’s a paradox. The more you need, the less you have. The more you have, the less you need. The more time you need, the less time you have. Decide that you have enough time, then you will not need it.
We will all get where we need to get if we need to get there. This tile wisdom applies to many. Even with the delay on my country road, I got to my appointment right on time. True agreements are made in heaven, and heaven always keeps them.