My Dad sent me “Longing for an Internet Cleanse” by the New York Times columnist David Brooks this evening and my Dad was right, I did like it.
At first glance I thought the ‘longing’ might be for an internet that wasn’t just one big commercial dump of advertising, popups and monetizing. Or as Mr. Brooks puts it, “a rapid, dirty river of information coursing through us all day.” I was wrong and it hit something that has fascinated me more and more as I grow older. It is simply the passage of time to which this very blog is a testament.
Kairos Time as David Brooks simply and easily explains “is not quantitative like our normal conception of time but qualitative – rich or empty, the meaningful hour or the hurried moment. When you’re with beauty, in art or in nature, you tend to move at Kairos time – slowly, serenely but thickly.”
I liked this so much I went to Wikipedia but their description is academic, dry, long and I ended up only reading two paragraphs. My next thought turned to the idea of ‘mindfulness,’ which is to slow down, appreciate your surroundings and just be. I think mindfulness is just a modern way of taking some of the Buddhist teachings on meditation. I’ve found this Kairos time, which can be tapped through meditation or just being mindful to be absolutely essential to my well-being in this age of information overload.
My days are filled with tasks from the moment I wake up until I go to bed. Once I decide to get up the e-mails, texts, notifications, work, chores etc. all begin and before I know it an entire week has passed. This is all work and there is not much room for any type of feeling at all. It is as though I’m on autopilot and if I fail to take a few quiet moments then not only weeks but months as well have passed. Before I know it, I’ve aged two, then four years!
It is when I slow down to appreciate the raindrops, the sunsets, a call to my Mom and to notice how my kids have grown that I feel most at peace. This is Kairos time when the moments are full of emotion, of an appreciation for time, of life and of the entire universe. Life is to be savored: we should appreciate the sunsets, our friendships and the fact that we’ll never have another day just like today. Society pressures us to pick up the pace, “have a sense of urgency,” to gain more money, buy more things and through this is the path to happiness. I’ve found the exact opposite. It is in simplifying, appreciating what we already have and the beautify of life that is the true path to happiness. And for this, we simply need slow down and recognize it.