Friday, March 07, 2008

Mindfulness Journal: The Time is Now

Just today I received an email from a gentleman named Adam Rothenhaus, who represents a new idea whose time, it appears, has come. In response to my recent post about mindfulness, he sent me a link to his website where a special watch is being sold which was designed to help the wearer tune into the present moment. Called the Now Watch, it offers the wearer the function of an analog watch with a constant reminder that, no matter what time it appears to be, the time is always "now". According to their website the Now Watch mission is "to bring more presence to people's lives".

Mr. Rothenhaus seems to have come upon a simple and brilliant idea which some may see as a gimmick, but which I see as a brilliantly simple but potentially effective tool for promoting mindfulness in a very direct way.

How many times a day do we habitually look at our watch? And why do we look at our watch? Is it to think about the past? Is it to ruminate about the present? I would venture a guess that, nine times out of ten, when we look at our watch, we are thinking or worrying about the future. Am I late? Will I be late? What will happen if I'm late? I, for one, am incredibly guilty of ruminating on both the past and the future ad nauseum, and any tool which can assist me in continuing to ground myself in the present is one that I desperately need.

Time as a construct is one which divides our days into segments which essentially assist others in controlling us. The hour and minute hand---or the digital equivalent---deconstruct our days into nothing more than slots into which we divide our attention and our energy. We set the alarm clock at night, wake to the alarm in the morning, "punch the clock" at work, eat our lunch in a hurried thirty minutes (if we're lucky), rush home to see the kids, watch our favorite TV show at its alloted time (unless, of course, we have TiVo), and watch the clock until it's time for bed again. A sad construct, but one to which we are thoroughly inured.

I am admittedly thoroughly controlled by time, and as such, I am currently looking for ways in which to secure my place in the present moment by any means possible. Mindfulness, meditation, Chi Gung and other practices are constant reminders to myself that the future is something which will never come. When my Now Watch arrives, I will wear it as a physical symbol of my new commitment to the present moment. But why can't I have it now?
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