Inquiry: Running out of Time?

Credit: Salvador Dali, Persistence of Time

LJ Frank 


The thoughts occurred in a restaurant. I suppose it could have been in any city in the northeastern or midwestern United States. It possessed a Currier & Ives aesthetic.  I looked across the room upon hearing familiar voices and laughter. A group of people at two adjoining tables were in an animated conversation. They looked like family and friends from the past. I shook my head as if to sweep away the image. I looked at my aging hands. I folded and then unfolded them. Everyday seems to be the same of late. Sleep, get up, shower, eat, write, periodically listen to music while writing, and then meditating while driving, stop and get my daily green tea with light ice, no water, no sugar,  retrieve my journal, write, return home. practice a yoga pose, write, read, catch the news, yawn, go to bed, get up in the middle of the night to write.

I sat at the table with conversations at other tables serving as background rhythms. Can my mind’s eye see across the boundary of time like peering through yesterday’s window? I imagined walking through a transparent membrane of what we call time and entering a different period in which the past and present merged. It can be unnerving and stimulating. For a few minutes I imagined another dimension. I ordered a glass of wine as the waitress arrived at the metaphoric table at which I was sitting. It was not my table. Eating at it was like appropriating it for a brief culinary experience.

The clock is silently ticking. I’m in the middle of a transition, as my mind still recognizes my body in the morning mirror while shaving. Unable to run away from the clock perhaps I thought I could somehow transcend it. My mind is always up for a good challenge while seeking the easiest way out.

I was there and wasn’t there. I was in a memory zone and perhaps part of and beyond the spiritual.  A memory is beyond the ego of a shared experience.  Was the experience a signal that my clock was winding down?

Context. Situation. Circumstance. Downstream effects. They sometimes eat away the soul.  The problem perhaps was finding the correctness of time like the correctness of words. Life should be accessible like the words we make up about it. My brain is searching for the simplest equation for meaning. How does one make accessible what appears to be the surreal in life? I’m aware of other’s voices that are not one’s own yet affect my thinking.

The clock is only real while I am alive and looking at it or working within its framework – the hours, days and weeks slip by and though I no longer accept the artificial chronology of the clock and calendar I am caught while effectuating an acceptance of my temporality for which there is no escape. My mind is beginning to unrecognize the body it inhabits. 

I have become more cognizant of this moment and more productive attempting to fill it up…not for the benefit of some external employer but my own stasis or equilibrium beyond the ego. That desire is a spiritual one not in the traditional theological sense of the word. Rather it embraces an uplifting of meaning and purpose where none otherwise appears to exist.

I am deeply troubled by life’s meaning for the mentally and physically challenged, starving, illiterate and innocently imprisoned and the anguish they retain through no fault of their own. I prefer to give people their due for to merely survive is an act of heroism. And yet our life is shrouded in time beyond any Zen like inner moment of self-disclosure. And that moment retains an existential quality.  

So, I taste life and fill it with physical and mental stuff including memories. And memory gives the clock meaning. So, I smile while I still have the ability.