We have created a subjective reality in our culture where many of us experience life as a seamless blur of events and people, desperately trying to cram more work in our day, more information in our heads and more ”quality” in our ever-shrinking time. We live in a world which invites us to participate in digital time, where events are measured in millionths or even billionths of a second. On many days, we may have more electronic contacts with people than human ones. It may take us weeks or months to authentically connect with a dear friend or with ourselves. Many people now bring their laptop computers with them on vacation and then check their email every day, ”just so I don’t have to go through 300 emails when I get home.” People are thrilled with the ability to have wireless Internet access on their cell phone, anywhere, anytime. Our amazing technological advances have given us incredible efficiency and instant access to more information than we can ever use. But sadly, technology has also left too many of us disconnected, speeded up, burned out and lifeless. This is what happens when we allow the tyranny of digital time to rule our lives. How much time do you feel you have when you are immersed in digital time mode? We get impatient when it takes more than one second for a website to load or an email or text to send. Unfortunately, time is a great metaphor for life: if you have no time, you have no life.
But there is another subjective experience of time that we can choose to tap into whenever we want. Love’s time is not measured in megahertz or nanoseconds. It’s not concerned with efficiency or speed. Love’s time is neither fast nor slow, for it is out of time, time-less, right here, right now, this second as your eyes read these words. Love’s time is measured in meaning, in connection, in authenticity and in love. Love’s time asks not how many emails you answered today, but how many hearts did you touch? How many eyes did you actually look into? How often did you connect with and feel your own living experience in your body, the felt sense you carry around all the time, beneath the distractions?
Digital time ruins relationships by relegating human needs to merely another item on a digitized to-do list that can be deleted with one click. Love’s time nourishes the essence of relationships, knowing that our needs for love, intimacy and authentic connection can never be deleted from the human psyche. Digital time prides itself on efficiency and on the number of things it can get done. Love’s time knows that one moment of genuine connection is worth more than a thousand completed tasks. Digital time tries to squeeze children and lovers into pre-programmed categories and gets angry when things do not go as neatly as planned. Love’s time knows that the human heart has its own pace, its own reasons for unfolding and opening and that the process cannot be predicted, rushed, controlled or squeezed. Digital time believes that faster is always better. Love’s time knows that in matters of the heart, speed is irrelevant. Digital time gets frustrated when having to wait more than a second for a click to execute. Love’s time is patient and treats humans as purposeful, living beings whose behavior does not fit into pre-conceived notions.
Look at your relationships, with yourself and others in your life. How many of them are running on love’s time? Have you chosen to allow digital time to impair the quality of your relationships? If so, here are some guidelines to get more love time into your lifetime. As an added bonus, by doing these things, you will invite those that you love to also increase the amount of love time in their lives as well.
Meditate: nothing is better for helping you get out of techno-time than meditation. Mindfulness meditation is particularly helpful for slowing down your mind and getting into synchronicity with your breath and body. If you need help in learning to meditate, some great books to get you started are A Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield, Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn and A Gradual Awakening by Stephen Levine. Or if you prefer to integrate your digital life with your meditation experiences, try any of these meditation apps for your smartphone.
Prioritize Unstructured Relationship Time: give yourself at least one block of a time a week that is completely unstructured. Do the same when you plan to spend time with your children, your friends, and your lover. The compulsive need to plan and organize every moment is what stifles love’s time, every time.
Exercise. Walk, run, take a yoga or Pilates class. Breathe.
Plan Spontaneity: if you must plan activities, plan things that force you to get out of your head, connect with your body and be very mindful and aware of yourself and others in the present moment. For example, take an improvisational comedy class. Learn to kayak or sail or dance or sing or play a musical instrument. Participate, don’t spectate. By responsibly choosing to bring more of love’s time into your life and the life of those you love, you will avoid feeling victimized by the digital time conspiracy all around you. You really do have the power to choose the subjective reality of time that you want to live in. Choose wisely.