Time is money. The depth of this idiom is often lost on us.
Let’s break it down:
Time is money
Money represents value
Then we come to this point: Time is valuable.
True, yes, but can we squeeze more out of it?
Sure, the answer is right in front of us.
Time is value.
Time = value. Time does not represent value (time is valuable), time is value.
Now, before we pick this apart further, we have to be aware that time, in this idiom, does not refer to the cold, impersonal, mechanical succession of events we understand as time, but as our time, your time, the time that you have to live, the time that is valuable because it runs out. The time that you spend doing things.
Your time is currency. A currency that never stops flowing.
You spend time on what you value, whether you like it or not.
Your Time – the original superfluid.
Your time is the original currency. From the beginning of biological existence, things spent time on things they valued.
The mind is a value machine. It looks for value, creates value and sustains value.
You might not think that laying around all day eating pizza is very valuable, but some part of you obviously does, otherwise you wouldn’t do it. It’s your primitive value system. It’s old, it’s ingrained, and it’s powerful. It does not require attention.
It’s called bottom-up processing.
Humans have the evolved the ability of abstract value or ‘delayed gratification’.
Abstract value is new, learned and difficult to grasp. It requires attention.
It works, but our minds have a tendency towards the primitive value system. (Billion-year-old habits die hard.)
When we manage to delay gratification – override the primitive value system – it’s called top-down processing.
Back in time.
Here we make the cognitive leap.
There is no such thing as time. There is only spending of value.
When you say ‘I don’t have time for ________’
You actually say ‘I don’t value ______ as much other things right now’
Humans, being mostly polite and social creatures, came up with this idea of ‘personal time’, because it’s not very nice telling your mother that you don’t value her enough to call her right now.
Brutal, yes. But I’m here to show you something useful.
This change in thinking is useful in all kinds of ways –
yet here’s the focus on meditation. A little logical knot.
Every time you say – ‘I don’t have time to meditate.’
You actually say – ‘I don’t value meditation as much as other things.’
Time is not the problem here. Value is.
It’s difficult to create abstract value.
You’ve heard me say ‘meditation is good for you,’ perhaps a dozen times.
You (your biology via evolution) has heard your environment say ’social interaction is good for you,’ Billions of times.
It is 5:00pm, you’re at home, it has been a busy day and you have a choice: Meditate for 20 minutes or check Facebook for 20 minutes.
This is what the choice looks like to your mind:
1) Trust a new, uncertain and vague idea of value from a biased source? (Me telling you that meditation is good for you.)
2) Trust a time-tested, personally experienced and biological certain idea of value? (Social interaction – in this case, Facebook – is good for you)
Winner: Facebook – every. damn. time.
How to make time.
Take out uncertainty. Take out the abstract. Give value to attention.
Heard wonderful things about meditation? Who cares. Your mind sure as hell doesn’t. Your mind wants personal, subjective, one-on-one experience with the thing of value.
This is how we make value certain:
1# Meditate twice daily for a month.
2# Pay attention to how you feel after meditation. Glad you meditated? Feel clearer? Better mood? Better Rested?
3# Pay attention to how meditation improves your life and, through improving your life, improves the lives of others.
4# Step 3# helped you notice a benefit? Remind yourself before each meditation. Say, ‘That’s why I meditate daily’. The benefit doesn’t always have to be something new.
Your mind will eventually recognise value. But you have to follow these steps every day. These four things are now your meditation routine. It is impossible for you to meditate without them. Write ‘em down and use them.
Your mind does care a little about what other people say,
otherwise you wouldn’t have started meditation in the first place. So here’s one more important step:
5# Read, watch or listen to something about meditation once a day, for a month.
6# Post step number five.
Or post about a benefit you have recognised in you, or somebody you know.
Post here, post to your facebook or mine [prolepsis], post to twitter, post to a close friend, or even e-post to me (edwardmark[at]meditationminimalism.com). Or alternate. This will help me, this will help you, and this will help others.
Because we all need more useful ammunition for the creation of abstract value.
And because valid information is real ammunition in the human war against old, ingrained habits – of all kinds.
We all lose battles, yet with enough ammunition, we’ll always win the war.
Time is on our side.
Daily Meditation is good. do it.