Time Being - Being Time

TIME IS INSIDE OF US, Dogen Zeni says in his essay “Uji’ (“Being-Time”) from the Shobogenzo. It is our essential nature. What does this mean, and what is time according to Dogen? He writes, “Time is not separate from you, and as you are present, time does not go away.... People only see time's coming and going, and do not thoroughly understand that the time-being abides in each moment.” 
- Katherine Thanas, from The Truth of This Life

What is the nature of time in our work? It's easy to see time in a linear fashion: past to present to future, but it is an illusion. 

We can't live in the past. 
We can't live in the future. 
We can only live in the present.

Working with Gongs, Bowls, and Bells is perfect for bringing your sense of time to the present. Each strike and the resulting sound is a reminder of the here, the now. The sound has a way of snapping our minds to attention. There is no thinking about the past, no thinking about the future. We are confronted with the now, which is all we ever have.


1) Pick one instrument (Gong/Bowl/Bell) and sit or stand comfortably with it. Now strike it once and let the sound fade away. When the sound is no longer audible, strike it again. Continue the process.
2) As you strike, concentrate on the sound. If monkey mind presents itself, refocus on the next strike/sound.
3) Continue until all you experience is the sound.
4) Experience only the moment.

The idea here is to train ourselves to disengage from what we commonly refer to as time and experience no time. You will find yourself in a state of suspension, neither here, nor there. As you learn to experience time in this new way, you can bring it into your life and other activities. Being present in the now can have a great impact on how we both approach, and live our lives.

~ MB

Chop Wood / Carry Water / Play Gongs™ / Be Present


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