Don’t get me wrong. Being punctual is great! Being disciplined enough to be consistently on time is wonderful! The problem is that most people don’t stop there. In the pursuit of always being “on time” we have found ourselves perpetually “out of time” which leaves us unwilling or unable to “take time” for really important things.
Things like breathing. Eating while sitting. Noticing the flowers. Noticing our children holding the flowers out to us. Noticing what our bodies say to us about our relentless paces. And how many times have we cut off really good conversations with people while tapping our watches and assuming the other person understands?
If the clock derails us with stress in the present, calendars derail us with stress from the future.
What’s happening tomorrow?
What do I have to do next week?
Will I have time for a break next month?
How will I survive financially ten years from now?
Sorry, dear friend, I can’t fit you into my schedule until five weeks from now…
All the while our bodies exist in today. There is quite enough stress to manage today. Conversely, there is tremendous joy and richness and communion with others to discover today! If we will slow down our minds and let them exist at the same time as our bodies.
Not that holding up a metaphorical mirror to the soul for the purpose of inner growth is bad. That sort of mirror is very helpful
The unhelpful mirror is the one made of glass that only shows us our faces and skin. Our bodies become our idols and our images our taskmasters. We have created a society where you live or die based on how you look. In most contexts anyway.
What if we always looked for the inner person? What if we always developed our own inner person? What if inner qualities really were the mark of a good person?
Scales can take us two directions
Some scales are the ones that tell us how heavy our bodies are. This wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t hear “Fat,” “ugly,” and “unlovable” where the scale only said “187.” Scales like these chain our hearts down so we can’t experience joy. Scales like these crack whips over our souls and crush us in the pursuit of a different body.
Again. Not that being healthy is bad. Everyone should be healthy. But being healthy is not the same as hating the body you have.
Other scales are for comparisons. Think of the old scales where there’s a fulcrum in the middle and you put things on hanging plates on either sides. Whichever one is heavier hangs lower. From these scales comes the phrase, “You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting.”
This scale is an invisible one that exists inside each person’s mind. This is what allows a person to compare him or herself to another person and say, “That person is lacking and therefore inferior.” “That person is different and therefore bad.” “That person is shaped different, looks different, acts different, believes different and therefore is wrong.”
When have mindsets like these ever let to peace and productivity?
So there you have it. Four inventions that rule the world and drive it into the ground. Blessed is the one who can escape their holds. I have not gotten there myself, but I believe it can be done. Perhaps better done in good company.