Sunday, December 19, 2004

Spontaneous Nature

Spontaneous Nature

I hate to miss even a day of blogging; but sometimes time is not always under our own control. Even though I might give the impression that I'm a bit of a control freak, I actually don't micro-manage time. I believe a little bit of spontaneity makes a healthy life.

When I was in school, for a short while, I did experiment with half-hourly schedules. I wanted to make sure that I cramped as much as possible into my 24 hours. And so to prevent "time leakage", I had all my daily activities allocated neatly into 30 minute time chunks. No "elevenish" or "after nine" kind of thing.

In the end, this ambitious scheme was too stressful for me to manage. It proved to be quite impossible to schedule my life in such a way that I was to have exactly half-and-hour for a meal and to study for the following one-and-a-half hours, and after that, exercise for half and hour and so forth.

That kind of precision makes your life extremely stressful because you are constantly looking at your watch. By trying to execute things at the trigger of the half-hour mark, like a machine, you don't allow time to "warm up" and "wind down". Of course, one could, schedule warm-up and wind-down time too, but again, one will be faced with the problem of having to worry when to start and stop the warm-up/wind-down session!

I know there are people who suffer from insomnia simply because they try too hard to "schedule" their sleep. They go to bed with a "performance target": they must get x hours of sleep so that they are fresh for work the next day.

When they switch off all the lights, anxiety immediately creeps in: time is ticking. I must fall asleep now, this very second. The seconds become minutes and suddenly he finds himself shifting restlessly for hours in bed.

Sleep is something that cannot come at will. There must be a winding down period where one slowly calms one's thoughts down and then sleep will arise spontaneously. Sleep cannot be micro-scheduled.

By allowing time to be slightly flexible, one actually gives space to spontaneity. A bit of jam karet can sometimes be good, for creativity arises out of spontaneity. The creative forces of the universe will work for you if you let things take their time, sometimes.

How does one know when to be flexible and when to be strictly time-regimented?

I don't have a simple answer. Again, it is a problem of balance. And finding the right balance between flexibility and rigidity requires wisdom.

And what is wisdom? It is nothing but spontaneous knowledge that arises from the mind uncluttered by ego-centric thoughts.

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