Remember the 1981 song by Styx, “Too Much Time On My Hands”? In it, the singer complains he’s bored. He doesn’t know what to do with all his time.
According to Rollin McCraty, the Director of Research at the HeartMath Institute, having too much time on our hands isn’t the case for most people. Instead, most of us feel we don’t have enough time. As a result, we race into the future, failing to enjoy the present moment.
McCraty says one of the greatest causes of stress is time pressure—an anxious feeling we can’t finish what must be done in the waking hours of the day.
Because of this gotta-get-er-done-now feeling, tsunami-size waves of fear flood our emotions. We push ourselves to move faster, jam everything in, and rush through each day.
This runaway feeling results in hypertension. Over time, the steady current of low-grade anxiety can take a toll on our mental and physical health.
To combat this not-enough-time feeling, I keep trying to do what many people are talking about: live in the present moment.
I silently recite mantras like slow down, take it easy, take time to smell the roses. And the words seem to work—for about two minutes.
And then my inner freight train builds up steam and I chug! chug! like The Little Engine That Could, pushing myself to move yet faster, so I accomplish everything on my to-do list and then some. And before I know it, I’m back rushing into the future again.
So, if stuffing mantras into my head alone doesn’t get me to slow down and take it easy, what’s the answer? How do we move out of that not enough time on my hands angst and sustain living in the present moment?
Perhaps the solution is letting our minds sink into hearts, and changing the time zone we live in.
According to Keri Mangis in her article “From Chronos to Kairos Time” appearing in Spirituality and Health, the problem is that we’re trying to find that carefree I’ve-got-enough-time attitude in the wrong time zone.
The ancient Greeks identified two kinds of time: Chronos and Kairos.
Chronos time is human made. Our ancestors created a system of clocks, calendars, and appointments. It’s linear time, the type we’re most familiar with, the one we’re always racing against.
The second time is Kairos. It comes from a Greek word that means “opportune.” This kind of time is limitless and infinite.
Kairos: Connecting the Head and Heart Stuff
In the New Testament, Kairos means the “appointed time in the purpose of God,” the time when God acts. The word is used 86 times in the bible referring to an opportune time. In other words, it’s the moment when the human and divine intersect.
For example, when we sit in meditation, we enter Kairos time as we seek to connect our human heart with the Divine Heart.
Nature unfolds in Kairos time. A tree has an appointed time for its leaves to bloom, die, and rebloom.
Every breath you and I take is the intersection of our human lungs with the Creator’s gift of life-giving air and oxygen. Every breath is the appointed time for our lungs to breathe.
Making It Real
As I held these sky-high thoughts in my head, my heart offered some street level questions: What if I lived each moment of my life in Kairos time? What if every moment is “the appointed time?” It’s the intersection of the human and divine.
When I pet my dog, it’s the appointed time for me to give and receive love.
When I undertake the tasks on my to-do list, they’re the human work God has given me to do in this moment, in this day.
When I sit at my desk and write, the human words connect with divine as God’s inspiration graces the present moment.
Living in Kairos Time
Rather than trying to jam a bunch of clever mantras into my head hoping they’ll ease the hypertension, I relax and realize every moment is Kairos time.
I let my mind remind me this is the appointed time—the right time for me and God to act. And as those words sink into my heart, I slow my pace, relax, and savor the moment.
This subtle shift in perspective allows to me to enjoy the present moment and enter Kairos time.
Which Time Zone Do You Choose?
God has given us the ability to choose the time zone we live in. We do have to live in Chronos time to keep pace with the world, but we don’t have to let the clock rule us, or, worse yet, ruin our health.
Instead, we can soften our anxious minds, let them sink into our heart space, and live in Kairos time—where every moment is the appointed time.
The next time you feel anxious or hurried, pause for a moment.
Let your mind consider this moment is the right time, the appointed time.
Then, let the words sink into your heart.
Savor the feeling of inner ease.
Relax into Kairos time.
It’s the best way to live in the present moment.
—brian j plachta
UPCOMING “FINDING DIVINE FLOW” COURSE