|Why Are We Running Out of Time?
by Jacob Needleman
[Listen to Audio!]
Technology itself is not the cause of our problem of time. Its influence on our lives is a result, not a cause — the result of an unseen accelerating process taking place in ourselves, in our inner being. Whether we point to the effect of communication technology (such as e-mail) with its tyranny of instant communication; or to the computerization, and therefore the mentalization of so many human activities that previously required at least some participation of our physical presence; or to any of the innumerable transformations of human life that are being brought about by new technology, the essential element to recognize is how much of what we call "progress" is accompanied by and measured by the fact that human beings need less and less conscious attention to perform their activities and lead their lives.
The real power of faculty of attention, unknown to modern science, is one of the indispensable and most central measures of humanness — of the being of a man or a woman — and has been so understood, in many forms and symbols, at the heart of all the great spiritual teachings of the world.
The effects of advancing technology, for all the material promise they offer the world (along with the dangers, of course) is but the most recent wave in a civilization that, without recognizing what it was doing, has placed the satisfaction of desire above the cultivation of being. The deep meaning of many rules of conduct and moral principles of the past — so many of which have been abandoned without our understanding their real roots in human nature — involved the cultivation and development of the uniquely human power of attention, its action in the body, heart and mind of man. To be present, truly present, is to have conscious attention. This capacity is the key to what it means to be human.
It is not, therefore, the rapidity of change as such that is the source of our problem of time. It is the metaphysical fact that the being of man is diminishing. In the world as in oneself, time is vanishing because we have lost the practice of consciously inhabiting our life, the practice of conscious attention to ourselves as we go about our lives.
About the Author: by Jacob Needlman, excerpted from "Time and the Soul."
|Latest Community Insights
|Why Are We Running Out of Time?
How do you relate to the notion that being truly present is to have conscious attention? Can you share a story of a time that you felt truly present through conscious attention? What does the practice of conscious attention to yourself mean to you?
|david doane wrote: I think what Needleman says is profound. To be truly present is to be consciously bodily attentive to what is happening. To be is to be consciously present, aware in the here and now.&nbs…
|Jagdish P Dave wrote: Wisdom traditions have taught us how to be free from our self-created and complicated spider web. We want every thing new and instant right on our palms. We as human beings have created high te…
|Share/Read Your Reflections
Many years ago, a couple friends got together to sit in silence for an hour, and share personal aha-moments. That birthed this newsletter, and rippled out as Awakin Circles in 80+ living rooms around the globe. To join in Santa Clara this week, RSVP online.
Some Good News
Video of the Week
Global call with ServiceSpace Volunteers!
Join us for a conference call this Saturday, with a global group of ServiceSpace friends and our insightful guest speaker. Join the Forest Call >>
Back in 1997, one person started sending this simple “meditation reminder” to a few friends. Soon after, “Wednesdays” started, ServiceSpace blossomed, and the humble experiments of service took a life of its own. If you’d like to start an Awakin gathering in your area, we’d be happy to help you get started.