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You Never Have Time, Only Intentions

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In my new house the top floor is a single room with gabled walls and a single window that looks out over the street. I go up there twice daily to meditate for half an hour, so every time I’m in that room I can’t help but think, at least once, about how much time I have left in the day.

During those sessions I’m more aware of my thoughts, and the effect they have on me, than at any other time. And I’ve noticed that the amount of time I have left after my sitting—before I have to be somewhere, or before bedtime—makes a big difference psychologically. Given what I plan to do for the rest of the day, I always have one of two distinct feelings: I have enough time, or I don’t have enough time.

I’m learning not to trust either of these feelings, because they’re based on an error in perception—when you think about it, and we never really have time. Time we talk about “having” is always in the future, where we can’t see it and don’t know what it will be like. We can’t be confident it will be there when we need it, or that it will arrive without conditions or unexpected problems.

We never possess time in the same way we possess the money in our wallets, although we talk like we do. We assume we have three hours or three days to do something, but it never actually comes into our possession. The time we “have” is never where we are, and we can never see it, unlike everything else we have: our clothing, our furniture, our homes, our friends and family. We never know our time like we know those things, so we can’t depend on it like we depend on those things.

The un-ownability of time is a little more obvious when it comes to life expectancy. I have to occasionally remind myself I don’t have another 40 or 50 years to live. I often expect it, but I never have it. It’s not mine. I don’t even “have” one year. I do have this moment, but all the time stretching forward from it is just speculation. We can have intentions, but never time.

This all might sound like the shower-thoughts of a very bored person. What difference does it really make? “Having time” is just a way of speaking, isn’t it?

It’s not just semantics—there’s a tremendous difference between believing you own and control the upcoming three hours, and understanding that you have intentions for it but don’t own it.

Despite your expectations, something could interrupt you, or distract you, or the thing you thought you’d get done is bigger and more complex than you thought, all of which can instantly transmute the comforting feeling of “enough time” to the claustrophobic feeling of “not enough time”. Your time was never dependable, even if you didn’t realize it. Even if there turn out to be no complications, you can never know there won’t be until the time in question is gone.

Time we think we have is always going to be unreliable in this way, and since we’re constantly depending on this unreliable thing, it’s constantly generating a certain kind of stress, regardless of how any given stretch of time turns out. Even if you leave early for an appointment, giving yourself an apparent abundance of time, you never quite know if you’ll have enough to avoid the embarrassment of slinking in late. Anything could happen, and that’s never not true. You can never count on time if you see it as a uniform resource.

But you can know with confidence whether you have enough money to buy a hammer when you get to the hardware store. You do know if you have enough floor to support your breakfast table. You do know if you have enough sweater to keep you warm. We don’t worry about the reliability of these resources the way we constantly worry about time.

The longer I live, the more I’m convinced that our suffering comes from insisting on more control over our experience than is actually available to us. When it comes to time, we do this incessantly, by believing we can bank an upcoming afternoon for this or that errand, the way we can earmark an overtime check for a new microwave.

It’s always going to be stressful to depend on unseen, untested stretches of time with the same sort of confidence we have in suspension bridges to keep our cars out of the river. In the back of our minds we know time is never concrete and never sympathetic; it will almost always surprise us in some way. Nothing unfolds quite like we thought. No stretch of time fits quite the activities we thought it would fit.

Time shrinks and disappears, or arrives with new problems we hadn’t accounted for. It has done this to us our whole lives, and we never learn. Time we “have” is completely unknowable, and depending on it is like delegating vital work to an employee you haven’t interviewed, or even met, and who doesn’t need the paycheck.

You may have noticed almost nobody has enough time. Somehow, even after decades of life experience, we cannot seem to corral all of our responsibilities within the amount of time we have. It should be simple math, but it never works out.

We can’t depend on time, but we can depend on intentions. We can create, own and protect intentions. Intentions aren’t bound by time, or anything else outside our control. You can own an intention to write a novel whether or not time co-operates. You can work on it with the same purpose and confidence regardless of how time unfolds.

When intentions are your focus, time returns to its true status as an unpredictable condition—a weather system, rather than a stockpileable commodity. This allows you to make the best possible use of it without stressing over the quantity or quality available on a given day.

Unlike time, you can deal in intentions without demanding more from them than they can deliver. You can keep an intention, or get rid of it, and that’s entirely up to you. Circumstances and surprises won’t take it away from you. It’s always yours.

Of course there’s a difference between whether or not you finish your novel, but if you have the intention and it doesn’t get done, it was impossible. Whether deadlines are met or missed becomes a matter of managing human relationships, which is what deadlines really are anyway. Finally you can quit playing the losing game of trying to manage a resource that isn’t really a resource and which nobody really controls.

With intention at the helm, you don’t need time to be sympathetic to your hopes. If you intend to do it, it gets done if it can be done. And what else matters really? Exactly how and when you finish what you finish isn’t that important, or at least it isn’t important enough to fixate on at the expense of your intentions.

The magic of intentions is that they make your usage of time efficient and realistic. They don’t require more of you, or of time, than what’s available, and so they don’t generate stress. The system for managing intentions is simple: know what intentions you have, keep your good ones and throw out your bad ones.

Whenever I remember to stop trying to have time, and instead focus on having worthwhile intentions, time seems more abundant. It seems to show up as needed when I’ve got a good intention going.

This makes sense, because the feeling of not having enough time doesn’t come from not having enough time. It can’t, because you always have zero time. It comes from the pain of valuing wishes and hopes over intentions, and what happens to you over who you are.

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Photo by David Cain

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Zoe May 23, 2017 at 2:19 am

Of course. We spend so much time thinking about how we’re going to spend our time… so much time thinking about how or when or if we’re going to do something, than actually doing it.

Anna May 23, 2017 at 2:26 am

I had to read this a few times because i just could not understand it ( nothing to do with your writing skills it Was very clear and beautifully written as usual) the problème is that i nearly ONLY get things done if i scare myself with a deadline….. Things that i intend to do, do not get done otherwise.
M’y subconscious Knows that your article is very important but i just can’t get it yét. ( sorry i havé french automatic spell Check on)

David Cain May 23, 2017 at 9:26 am

Deadlines are useful tools, but they’re just agreements, either with ourselves or others. The reason they work is because they give you incentives to form an intention to get it done before a certain date. And the intention is what matters, not that you own or control the time between now and the deadline — after all, if the deadline was three days sooner, or three days later, somehow you’d get it done close to the deadline.

carry June 16, 2017 at 3:15 am

i’ll argue the opposite.. we always have time, it is the intentions that change. i know for sure , like the phone i am holding in my hand, that i HAVE the next 5 hours and i can surely bank upon HAVING it. though what i can’t bank upon is that i’ll use that time to do some. because while the time will definitely remain there.. my intentions might not.

DiscoveredJoys May 23, 2017 at 4:00 am

I’m reminded of the Taoist ideal of Wu-Wei or ‘effortless action’. A bit like ‘flow’ or being ‘in the zone’. Trying not to manage the unmanageable time, but moving through it without trying.

And there are at least two strategies. The Confucian one of practising and polishing until effortless action becomes spontaneous in the right way. Or the Taoist strategy of simplifying and stepping away from the hedonistic treadmill until what is left is natural unforced effortless action.

It’s a choice of holding on or letting go. Or at least knowing when to hold on and when to let go. I’d guess that holding on to time is always going to disappoint, but you might have to let go of effortful intentions too.

Celia May 23, 2017 at 6:06 am

Thanks, DiscoveredJoys, this is helpful.

David Cain May 23, 2017 at 9:30 am

Me too, and I think they’re probably just different conceptions of the same thing: life gains this forced quality when we don’t let it be now — trying to get past what you’re currently doing, trying to slow down the advance of time, will always feel awful. In Buddhism they call it dukkha. Believing that we can own time, as though we own money or other resources, is always going to produce that straining, because it doesn’t conform to our expectations in the way our bank balances and material things can.

Cindy May 23, 2017 at 4:05 am

This reminds me of the many times in my life I would start doing something I wanted to accomplish without any knowledge or care about how much time it would take; I would get lost in the flow of the project–the present–and time would disappear.

David Cain May 23, 2017 at 9:51 am

There is definitely something to that — I think everyone’s best work is done when they are not thinking in terms of time.

Carole May 23, 2017 at 5:32 pm

Yes The Power of Now is all we are guaranteed

Sally May 23, 2017 at 4:28 am

I want to hear from all the project managers out there :D

Thanks David for another interesting read!

The Tepid Tamale May 23, 2017 at 5:11 am

This is a thought that I have often had: ‘Somehow, even after decades of life experience, we cannot seem to corral all of our responsibilities within the amount of time we have.’ Especially now that we have all this technology that is always adding ‘efficiency’, yet we always are ‘short on time’.

You are describing what is happening during a lot of my struggles. I start the day with a list of the tasks I want to accomplish (well on the good days), but I cannot control my time. Things come up, and some days I even deal with them well, but they cause me to not finish my list of tasks. I then beat myself up over the fact that I cannot finish my list. So, I can see where managing my intentions makes more sense. I have to think through what that will mean for me during the day as my time is unfolding.

I am not sure how this will play out ….. still thinking on it. Great food for thought, thanks for a great article getting me to think through the process behind a common issue in my life!

David Cain May 23, 2017 at 9:57 am

I find that when I start obsessing and calculating about time, I tend to spend a lot more time frustrated with what I’m working on — when I’m focused on completing or creating something, I am using time most efficiently, and not thinking about time at all. So I think our anxiety about time effectively shrinks the amount we have, because it prevents us from diving into the work itself.

Vilx- May 23, 2017 at 5:47 am

And yet I see at least one exception: when others depend on you doing something “on time”. An accountant who needs to transfer money on payday. A surgeon who needs to perform a life-saving surgery at an appointed time. A fireman who needs to arrive at the disaster scene as fast as he can. Even in office jobs, sometimes missing a deadline means losing thousands if not millions of someone else’s dollars. This relaxed thinking somehow doesn’t seem a good fit here.

Karen May 23, 2017 at 8:08 am

I think the importance of the intention is still valid here. If one intends to meet one’s obligations, because our integrity is a value developed from all of our previous choices, also based on intentions, then we simply follow through and there is a confluence of our behavior and others’ expectations. Being relaxed doesn’t have to mean being irresponsible.

David Cain May 23, 2017 at 10:02 am

Of course we have to use clocks and make appointments and measure the passage of time, that’s not what I’m talking about. But the belief that we can possess time is a false one and it causes trouble. In each of these cases you mention, intention is vital and time is just a condition under which these intentions unfold. Your accountant’s payment deadline is an arbitrary agreement, but whether the intention is to pay or not pay is obviously what matters, and the time doesn’t matter at all if there is no intention.

Pherd May 25, 2017 at 7:17 am

I want to extend a thought about the fire fighter example:

All of my employments have been in “reactionary” type jobs. It’s often referred to as “firefighting” when doing it, although it may be as simple as helping a customer with an issue.

When you’re doing this kind of reactionary work – planning never is in play. You are relieved of the stress of deadlines, because you’re calling into action “now!” and just do what you need to do to the {emergency} at hand. There are other stresses involved in this kind of work, but deadlines and planning for them, is never part of it. In many ways – reactionary tasks have their own calming effect because as soon as you’re into it (either by training, rote, or someone calling out the next action) you’re acting, not thinking.

It’s the down-time lulls that get stressful when the planning mode kicks in. :)

Karine June 7, 2017 at 10:29 am

You’re so right about reactionary work! I remember being a teacher, and going through the day and dealing with what was happening at hand (a lot of “putting fires out”) was not the stressful part at all. The part that drove me crazy was the planning and trying to meet everyone contradictory expectations. It is sooo stressful. I think our ancestors (I’m talking cave people) evolved to react to situations, and the stress involved in those situations is a good stress.

Thanks for sharing your insights. It gave me food for thoughts!

Celia Kozlowski May 23, 2017 at 6:02 am

Your writing about our non-ownership of time is utterly brilliant. As a widow whose husband died at age 47, I was moved to tears. And one of the first things I noticed changed for me after beginning my mindfulness practice was an altered sense of time. Periods waiting for someone, a span of time that once seemed like an eternity, now seemed to pass more quickly (and generated less angst) if I made the effort to be present in my body and senses rather than off in my head.

But… I would love it if you would do a full “Part-2” to explain more about intentions … the section from “but we can depend on intentions…” onwards. I think I’m mashing up anticipation, intention, expectation, hope, aspiration, striving, and the process of arriving at and holding some set of these that works comfortably in my life. There’s lots written about “time management” but now I sense what I really need to understand more about is “intention management.”

Thank you. As always, I’m indebted to you and humbled by your insights and ability to express them.

David Cain May 23, 2017 at 10:05 am

I think it is more useful to keep it simple. You have an intention to do something, or you don’t. And if you’re not sure, you have get really clarity on it by asking yourself. “Do I intend to do this?” Otherwise you get muddled up thinking about time. How often do we sort of half-feel like we’re going to do something, if we have time, if it works out… Often we feel like we’re supposed to do something, or will get around to do something at some point, but there’s no clear intention to do it, or not do it, and it’s just a stressful mess. When the intention is clear, time management is a small and easy thing.

Beth Larson May 23, 2017 at 6:53 am

This essay might just push me out of my comfortable seat in front of my computer and into concrete reality to follow through on tasks and goals. My request is that you write a post about that cliff hanger of a closing sentence. Thanks, as always, for putting your ideas into words and sending them out into the world.

David Cain May 23, 2017 at 10:09 am

It really just means that intentions are what give us control. Too often we defer to time to decide — how many times have you said “I’ll do that if I have time”? What does that really mean — I’m not going to decide, I’m not going to be responsible for whether it gets done. I will blame time. Intentions assert your values and character, deferring to time is really a refusal to do that, to be who you want to be.

Daizy May 23, 2017 at 5:13 pm

David, I think you are right on the mark here in pointing to the fact that if one addresses intentions management vs. time management they will be on their way of owning time, to certain extent at least as it cannot be quantified due to its fluidity and fleetingness. Also, you are cornering the fact that time is STILL a commodity that allows us to get things done and not the other way around. And therefore if we crystalize the clarity of our goals in our heads first, time then will be manageable depending on what goals and tasks we are working to hone and harness. Also the way you put it, it will certainly give one a sense of a better self control in general. Thank you so much.

CARLA May 23, 2017 at 6:57 am

The simple yet profound word “prioritize” is what I use. Which is simply deciding which intention is most important right now. Allowing myself to NOT “finish” my lists, but to choose what to prioritize from them keeps me from stressing. If it isn’t on my list it doesn’t matter either! Sometimes rest is my priority. Breaking things into smaller steps seems to keep things flowing.
Celia, I too was widowed (twice) and it does give one a different perspective of time certainly. When I see what was left behind…and how it really isn’t important anymore there is a shift in perspective. Blessings to you.
Our cultures focus on time=money is so twisted.

David Cain May 23, 2017 at 10:18 am

Yes, totally… I like using that word because it implies responsibility. We talk about having time as though we are not in control of whether we do or not. But when we say something isn’t a priority instead we are accepting the reality that it’s a matter of intentions, and not something out of our hands.

celia May 23, 2017 at 12:12 pm

hugs, Carla! I know what you mean about priorities. I’ve re-valued “stuff” and “experiences” (in opposite directions) over the years since my husband’s death… And the mindfulness /positive psychology pieces have made it easier not to get quite so wound up in outcomes… but I’m still not quite where I’d like to be on this. Still not fully taking on board that nothing’s perfect, permanent, or personal… Still likely to see post-hoc readjustment of what my intentions really were as scummy rationalization. I think maybe I need a little more self-compassion…

CARLA May 23, 2017 at 6:59 am

Oh, and I forgot…David, the “ownership” of time bit…utterly lovely. Very insightful and appreciated!

Deborah May 23, 2017 at 7:08 am

I read all your posts and so often gain insight, but I had to say thank you especially for this one because it was exactly what I needed to hear at this moment. What stood out for me is that you feel (believe? know?) that your intentions are solid. Before reading your post I would have equated the solidity of intentions with the solidity of time.

David Cain May 23, 2017 at 10:20 am

Thanks Deborah. I don’t know if I’d describe them as solid but they are real and we can protect them and keep them alive in a way we can’t with time.

Mrs. Picky Pincher May 23, 2017 at 7:56 am

Agreed. Time is a construct that we’ve made, anyway. It’s funny how much “more” time I seem to have when I don’t let myself watch TV, play on my phone, or play video games. Suddenly the world seems ripe for the pickin’ when I’m more intentional about my day.

David Cain May 23, 2017 at 10:21 am

Right, and even when we do watch TV or play video games, doing it intentionally improves the quality of it, removes any guilt about it and prevents you from slipping into a pit.

Peter Akkies May 23, 2017 at 8:34 am

I experience the stress you point out of feeling that I “don’t have enough time”. Thank you for writing about it clearly. I hope your way of thinking about the illusion of having time will help me focus on time a bit less.

David Cain May 23, 2017 at 10:22 am

Probably the most direct way to remember this is to put a mental asterisk beside any form of the phrase “having time”, and remember that you don’t have time, and ask yourself if you have the intention to do it or not.

Curtis M Michaels May 23, 2017 at 8:41 am

Thank you. I always find your insights beneficial and this is no exception. Today I am stressing more than at any time I can remember. This too shall pass. Time will happen. I will most likely be here as it does. I know what I can do and I know what I cannot do. That is enough. It has to be.

David Cain May 23, 2017 at 10:26 am

Just pick some intentions and run with them! Best of luck Curtis.

aletheia33 May 23, 2017 at 8:41 am

we do not “own” or “have” anything. the money i tell myself i “have” in my pocket on the way to the hardware store is illusory–i owe it to a credit card company and can’t afford to pay it all back, so the interest is piling up while i buy the hammer i think i must “have” with money i really don’t “have”–or whatever. money is an abstract concept, like time.

we don’t really get to “have” time, money, relationships, employment, housing, clothing, etc…. the whole setup is based on the illusion that time can be measured, money is concrete, and objects, people, land, and the like can be owned. these assumptions arise from our mutual agreements living in society together. without these agreements on value, measurement, property, and exchange, these assumptions have no meaning.

we only know real freedom when we understand this, and see that it is probably a good thing to give these assumptions their due and act in accord with what our society agrees on, while realizing that nothing is guaranteed to “last” beyond “now” for even a minute and learning how to enjoy one’s life from moment to moment no matter what happens.

american/western society is a cruel one that forces everyone, in order to “have” food, clothing, and shelter, to live their lives obsessed (usually unwillingly) with maximizing return on investment–of time, money, effort, focus, will.

if i am not aware of the extent to which my social conditioning drives my thinking and my intentions, then i am captive to this shared illusion. if i cannot see that all of my assumptions are merely contingent on my situation as a human being in a human society, then i cannot become free of the striving to realize my “good intentions” that arises from my unknowing collaboration with the social forces that control my thinking.

do you want freedom? or do you want a “better” situation of unfreedom? this may be the most difficult life question there is.

David Cain May 23, 2017 at 10:39 am

Money is abstract, ownership is a political invention, yes. We could extend that same doubt to all words and concepts, all conceptions of reality and experience. We could go down the rabbit hole all the way to nihilism if we like, where nothing can be known or talked about.

But most of the time it makes sense to use a few provisional ideas, so that we can communicate something useful. This article is about a meaningful difference between a common conception of time and an alternative one. I think it is a useful distinction for most people.

TheHappyPhilosopher May 23, 2017 at 8:45 am

Time is such a tricky thing. For me, I’ve found simply letting go is the simplest thing to do. When I no longer try and control time (which is impossible anyways) I feel like there is more of it. It seems like when I set goals for how to use my time I always feel a bit dissatisfied. I like how you frame the idea of intention.

David Cain May 23, 2017 at 10:41 am

I think that dissatisfaction is pretty much the only outcome, it’s just that sometimes by coincidence our hopes are met, and we don’t notice we were never controlling the time.

Linda May 23, 2017 at 8:54 am

I think your last sentence sums everything up and makes it all clear:
having “mindful intentions” is more like a commitment to accomplish a task rather than a passive hoping to get it done.

David Cain May 23, 2017 at 10:42 am

I’ve come to see hope as mostly a bad thing. For some reason hope is lauded as a positive quality in society, but it’s really a sad state of affairs when you think about it.

Anne May 24, 2017 at 12:58 pm

What’s the alternative?

David Cain May 24, 2017 at 1:17 pm

Acting on what you can act on, accepting what you can’t act on. Hope is just hooking your emotions onto all the things you can’t control

Alison May 28, 2017 at 9:57 pm

Have you read Meg Wheatley’s piece “The Place Beyond Hope and Fear”? It speaks to your note about hope..

Ellen Symons May 23, 2017 at 10:51 am

Well, I think you wrote this just for me. Just before reading your post, I was having this exact conversation with myself, about how the unpredictabilities of my work, for example, mess up my ideas of what I’m going to be doing in a specific time period or what sort of rhythm my day will have. It was a conversation with a fairly desperate-sounding tone. It’s been a life-long issue for me, and has been quite excruciatingly present in the past few weeks after someone very close to me died young and suddenly, bringing the whole issue of time acutely to the foreground. But the part I hadn’t identified in my conversation today – or ever – is the part about having intentions versus owning time. So I’m going to try this on and see how it fits: to see that I always have zero time, and that I get to choose my intentions. Thanks, David.

Ellen Symons May 23, 2017 at 2:13 pm

P.S. The meditation room photo at the top of the article is very appealing. I’m assuming that’s your real, new spot. How wonderful to have a dedicated, clear, uncluttered space.

David Cain May 23, 2017 at 2:51 pm

That is my spot! But don’t be fooled, behind it is a fairly unsightly storage area haha

Ellen Symons May 24, 2017 at 5:37 pm

Sounds great, really. It’s like life: calm and chaos co-existing. You get to choose your view!

Patrick May 23, 2017 at 11:13 am

I currently work a full time job. I have family, and my wife has lots of friends, and she likes to plan stuff for us on the weekends. And sometimes my family plans stuff to include me. I often feel like I want to be introverted and geek out on the computer and get some articles written and so on, but family life and social demands pop up and I feel like I cannot “recharge my batteries” with some introverted ME time.

And that is when I feel like I get short changed. Why am I working a full time job all week long, plus writing articles for extra part time income, if I get yanked around to social outings each weekend when all I really want is some time alone?

So I want to figure out how to apply this concept of “you have intentions but not time.” Because I see the truth in it–my time can be compromised on a whim by events beyond my control. Chaos can happen at any time and suddenly that block of “me time” that I had set aside is disrupted. The solution is to go with the flow, don’t fret about the “me time” that is lost, knowing that you have strong intentions that you are working towards.

I suspect it comes back to “figure out what you want in life” rather than what you want to avoid. AKA “DreamLining.” If you don’t have strong intentions then of course you are going to feel like you are getting yanked around, because every little demand or priority takes precedence over your life. How can you refuse to go to the social outing unless you have an excuse based on a strong intention? I think that is my problem. I don’t have any strong intentions right now, I am not currently building anything, no personal project right now, etc.

David Cain May 23, 2017 at 2:50 pm

It sounds like it’s a matter of negotiating this alone time with your family and possibly your employer. If it is possible to work out an arrangement where you are unlikely to be interrupted for an afternoon a week by either party, you can do that. Many people do. If it’s not possible it’s not possible, but I think often we declare things impossible when we are simply hoping that they will happen without intending to make them happen. You don’t need an “excuse” not to conform to everyone else’s wishes — everything is negotiable, but you need to be willing to negotiate for your own interests, which can be uncomfortable.

David Cain May 23, 2017 at 2:58 pm

To really drill down on the point here, because I think it’s an important one: it’s common in society, at least my society, to either say yes to every request made of us, or to come up with an excuse why we “can’t” do it. We try to avoid saying “No, I won’t”, only “Ok, sure” or “I can’t”.

That just teaches other people that we will do anything they want unless it’s impossible for us, and when it’s not impossible we need to pretend it is. We don’t establish real boundaries, we can’t be upfront about our real desires and values, and so we are all overworked, alienated and taking on too much, because the people in our lives aren’t used to hearing an honest no.

April May 23, 2017 at 1:47 pm

This is one of my favorites by you! It is beautifully and masterfully written. I know I will return to it again and again! Thank you!

Patrick May 23, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Your second comment there hits the mark I think in regards to telling people “no.” Being assertive has never been my strength….I tend to be passive with others. Working on it though….

Abhijeet Kumar May 23, 2017 at 10:26 pm

Future is a prediction. It is a statistical extrapolation, as we never know all the parameters. What is interesting is how we make that extrapolation can affect our future, even if our extrapolation was inaccurate. Intention matters. May not be the outcome you thought you’d get, but it will determine your approach, and hence affect the outcome.

I struggle with intention. The only intention that has worked for me relatively well in my life has been to be open to the present experience. It keeps me moving. I do have other intentions, but they mostly remain as values.

Alaina Raychel May 24, 2017 at 10:03 pm

As I sat here negotiating with all of the intentions I have for the upcoming week, I approached that familiar question of “will I or won’t I be pulling this off?” Hoping not to fully enter the pit (and process) of thoughts that consistently derail me, I opened your page and begged you out loud to have written a new article that could serve me as that ‘just enough’ thing to propel me back towards the light. So, thank you. You help me fix my problems every time I ask you to, and in the other cases, you open my eyes to new and beautiful ways of seeing and interpreting, which always makes me feel better. Thank you so much.

Justin May 25, 2017 at 9:24 am

I love movies. One of my favorites is Bucth Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, a film of the late sixties. In one of the earlier scenes Butch and Sundance are riding to their hideout, having just robbed a train a few days before. Butch is lamenting about there never being enough money and he just cannot figure out where it goes. He thinks that they work hard at robbing trains and he knows that it’s getting harder and harder to do, and that their time and luck is running out. He believes that he has got to find a better way. Butch comes up with the idea of Bolivia where the banks are fat, the people are lazy and the Polizia do not care.

He tells Sundance that’s where they should go.

Sundance chuckles at Butch and says,”You just keep think in’ Butch, that’s what you’re good at.”

And Butch replies, almost to himself, “Man, I got vision and the rest of the world wears bifocals.”

David, to Albert Einstein time was relative and all things could be illusions. Thick Nhat Hanh writes about relative truth and absolute truth. Relative truth is the wave and absolute truth is the ocean. I find that your essay is an interesting wave in the bigger ocean of truth and space time relativity.

I say this only because I respect your writing and ask you to consider that no matter how much poetic license I grant you, time cannot be personified into an object. As a noun the illusory wave of time is only a measurement of duration; a man made construct to delineate one year from another, one season, one occasion, one age from another; at times it’s no more than a rhythm or tempo. Thought of in this way time cannot be experienced as a container to break free from but as a construct to help define intention.

As a verb time simply means to schedule something, to have an intention to do something. Or as an intransitive verb, time is simply keeping a beat. When I think about it all intentions have an element of rhythm and tempo.

As an adjective time does finally suggest something bordering on critical to intent, as in something is timed to ignite or explode. Here the analogy of the accountant delivering payroll rings with some authenticity. At its foundation the accountant knows there is NEED therefore intent to do payroll; however without the construct of a deadline (time) the intention becomes mere wish fulfillment. Now that thing you plan to do is no more than aimless, purposeless goals or wish fulfillment

The provocative thought of juxtaposing intention and time appear to me to be two sides of the same coin flipping down our life’s journey’s path, inescapable in its intent of the final timeline of life.

David, as one who has grown older, I’ve learned that time becomes moe important than money; to our civilization’s elders it is the coin of the realm regardless of intentions, good or bad. Against the backdrop of time and space always accelerating time and intention must be united to work hand in hand.

Keep envisioning David. Your search for absolute truth is one wave at a time landing on the shore of relativity. You have vision and the rest of us are searching for our bifocals.

Barbara May 28, 2017 at 11:14 pm

I did enjoy this message to consider “reframing” the way I relate to the time
I may have coming. Tried the “I intend” tape today, and the urge to control slipped away very easily, and I never gave one tiny thought to whether this was the right way to think, feel or act. Glad you are not charging for this, David. Thanks :-)

Joel May 29, 2017 at 1:22 pm

At its core, Time is unforgiving, relentless, brutal and the only thing that saves it from being as hated as folding socks is that it treats everyone the same way. It is not biased and will always remain impartial.

Time wants two things.

1) That we treat it is something that is immeasurable
2) That we do not rely on it

And if we give it these things, it will reward us with the only thing it can…more Time.

Before you run out to be rewarded by Time, I caution you to remember that it also looks for balance. Time simply cannot afford to constantly reward us. The rewards would become too high and even worse, expected. We must have a mixture of the moments that quicken and slow Time to maintain the balance.

The Rhino May 30, 2017 at 2:39 pm

That is a gloriously inefficient use of your top-floor – I thoroughly approve..

Dhruv June 3, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Hi David,
Can you please explain lil further….
No problem with the article but I am lil dumb that’s it…
I loved and was able to connect till the part time being intangible object which we are trying to control it… And u talk intentions being the solution for it… Can u please elaborate on it…. Like how exactly am I supposed to tackle it or solution for it ….

Zach Wawrzyniak June 4, 2017 at 12:43 am

Wow, what a great article. I got into meditation last year and it has helped me have a lot of similar breakthroughs.

ساخت اپلیکیشن June 16, 2017 at 7:28 am

like this post

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