October 20, 2017

Getting over something

HourglassHow far do you need to go into the future before the present will seem like the past?

When we’re struggling to get over some incident or upset, I find it can be a great help to think forward into the future—far enough into the future that present or very recent painful events seem definitely to be in the past and at a distance.

In the form of a question, it can be: “How much time will need to pass before we have moved on from this experience: A month, a year, ten years? The very act of asking the question tends in itself to move us on. Some might respond “never,” but actually there’s always a distance of time at which it’s over, even if it’s a hundred years. Then we can work back.

There’s a great line in the Tao Te Ching which sums this up…

“This too shall pass.”

If we have the courage to explore the future state, it can help us displace the present painful one.

How do you get over something?

The skilful use of time

Calendar dates from monday to sundayIn relating to other people, time can be an ally, if we use it right.

It’s more usual just to react to what happens in the present, transacting back and forth, hoping to make progress in the direction we want to go in, all in the here and now. We want to solve it this instant.

But as Abraham Lincoln says in the film, “Time has a way of thickening things.”

Sometimes it’s better to plant some seeds, or to train the vine a little, than go for the harvest straight off.

Or to move on from a problem, think of how things can be different tomorrow, next week, or next year. Imagine them solved now, and look back to the present. How significant (or not) do the issues seem from that distance?

As Lao Tzu wrote in the Tao Te Ching 2,500 years ago, “This too shall pass”. Nothing, but nothing, lasts forever.

How do you use time in your relationships?