The Urban Monk, a New York Times bestseller, reveals the secrets to finding an open heart, sharp mind, and grounded sense of well-being, even in the most demanding circumstances.
The Problem: Time Compression Syndrome
We’re all overcommitted and have too many things to do in too little time. We suffer from Time Compression Syndrome. This is when we’ve committed more things to a given timeline than can reasonably be done.
Time Compression Syndrome leads to stress and a strained consciousness, which bends under the weight of pressured time. It strains our soul. We’ve mastered the art of compressing so many items into our timeline that it now hurts to walk out the door.
Resting and relaxing are not acceptable in our society and are seen as a sign of laziness and weakness. Productivity is everything.
[bluebox]Your ‘later’ will always look the same if your ‘now’ is chaotic.[/bluebox]
Keys to overcoming Time Compression:
- Taking control of how we engage with time
We can slow the quality of time with our breath, with our mind, and by controlling our biorhythms. Taking time for ourselves is the most important thing we could do for our personal development and mental health. Our ability to choose wisely and spend our valuable time on our goals is the real sign of mastery.
- In the modern world, we don’t have a center, so we spin
When we learn to breathe down to our lower abdomen and calm the mind, we start to feel whole again. From this state, we can calmly examine our life and our commitments in time and ascertain where we are leaking too much energy.
- Tapping into the stillness means moving with the Universe
A critical misreading of ancient scriptures has many people trying to stop time and avoid all movement. This cannot be done. The entire Universe has moved on since you read the last sentence. Everything is moving and growing with each passing second.
The Urban Monk understands this and relaxes into a harmonic flow with the Universe.
- Mastery is in the negation
This means learning to say ‘no.’
Stop and think about it. Take a few deep breaths down to your lower abdomen and look across the timeline and see what ripples this would make into your world. Can you afford another plant in your garden, or is this going to pull the water away from things that are more important to you?
- The Urban Monk remains calm and collected
Modern science has now caught up with what the ancient masters have been saying all along. Meditation helps us be less impulsive. Functional MRI studies show increased density of the cortical neurons in the brains of people who meditate.
Who we are in time is important to get. The Universe is moving, and we are moving with it. If we fixated on a particular point in time, the entire Universe has moved on and we’re clinging to something that is no longer in that river of life. All the energy of the Universe moves with it, and that power resides in one particular point, and that is now.
- Change is the only constant in the Universe
The key to overcoming time compression is to live in the now and embrace change. When an Urban Monk notices that things do not feel right, he moves back into the now.
That is where our power lies. That is where we can tap into the vast energy currents that can flow through us, and that is where peace and wisdom reside. In the present moment, we have the clarity and insight to have agency in our lives and make better decisions. We control time and our perception of it. We establish appropriate boundaries in our life and curate the events we elect to keep on our calendars.
- Being rigid makes us fall. Being afraid of change paralyzes us
Thus the great paradox: To remain still means to move with time, to move with the Universe. Stillness is actually the state of moving with the Universe in unison.
Tapping into Universal time can be achieved by first tapping into your breath
- Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight.
- Touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth.
- Gently start breathing in and out through your nose with your mouth closed.
- Breathe to a spot about 3 inches below your navel called the lower dantian.
- Inflate (or inhale) and deflate (or exhale) this area with each passing breath.
- On your next inhale, slowly breathe down to your lower abdomen for a count of 4, counting slowly and evenly.
- Hold your breath when full for a count of two.
- Slowly exhale for a count of 4; be fully empty by the end of it, and time it so you can do so.
- Hold your breath for a count of 2.
- Back to the inhale for 4…
Keep doing this pattern for as long as is comfortable (or desired). I recommend doing this practice for at least 10 minutes a day. Balancing the breath is key, so make sure the inhale and exhale are the same duration.