I want to say that the reason why I haven’t posted anything in the six weeks since I landed at San Francisco Zen Center is because I haven’t had time to write, but that would be untrue. The fact is there areÂ 24 hours in every single day, with 60 minutes crammed into each hour and every minute packed full of moments. That’s as much time as there’s ever been and all the time I will ever have. I’ve got all the time in the world, and really, it’s enough.
If there is one overriding lesson to be learned by living in a Zen center it is that time is gold. Every second between every hit of the wooden han as it calls me to zazenâ€”the hits increase in frequency but not in urgency. They all matter equally. From the 5am ringer sprinting through the halls through to the broken tinkle of the lullabye bell inviting us to sleep, every day is stacked with clacks and bells waking us up and reminding us where we are and where we need to go. The bongs and chimes connect space and time.
If I have 45 minutes between lunch and work I need to choose how best to spend them, and I can’t waste precious time in waffling. Quickly I tune in to my body and check out my needs. Nap, walk, stretch, write, read, or lie on a park bench watching the bees? Whatever the living moment calls for, I must respond and make the most of it.
There’s always enough timeâ€”which is only as much time as there is.Â Twenty-four hours in every day. Zen time is precious time. Zen time is gold.