Why It Is Important To Feel Everything At Our Own Time

Why It Is Important To Feel Everything At Our Own Time

I wish I had the luxury to draw a time-table that wasn’t bound by work and material concerns. I wish I could allocate specific time for mourning, dancing, communing, reflecting, and gratitude in my daily life

Somi DasUpdated: Sunday, November 19, 2023, 11:45 AM IST
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Susan Sontag, the American writer, succinctly reflects on the essence of time and space, distilling these profound concepts to their barest purpose in a manner accessible to literary laymen. In her words, "Time exists so that everything doesn’t happen all at once … and space exists so that it doesn’t all happen to you." Ironically, in the digital era, mankind's major affliction is the voluntary relinquishment of agency over timelines, leading to the overwhelming experience of feeling everything all at the same time.

Unrestrained, we permit external visuals on social media to steer us through a relentless emotional roller coaster. In mere seconds, we transition from motivational speeches to heart-wrenching images of children in Gaza. One moment, we are amused by a clever meme, and the next, we dip a toe into the profound sermons of a Zen Buddhist Monk. It remains a perplexing mystery why we subject ourselves to such tumultuous exposure to emotional, visual, and intellectual fluctuations, aware that it neither fosters our well-being nor serves a practical purpose.

Whether it's the relentless act of doom scrolling or the mind's unbridled leap from one disassociated thought to another, it becomes evident that the devil lies not in the device but in our susceptibility of our own mind.

Recently, I came face to face with some epiphanies during a mountain trip with a contemplative friend, someone who seldom engages in conversation. As we navigated through unpaved paths, a few kilometres beyond where the pucca roads ceased, I found myself contemplating time and space. Despite my taciturn friend’s efforts to ensure my comfort in this new environment, he couldn't escape his inherent nature. I was seeking a supportive presence to lean on and find solace.

The second challenge arose when we opted for a homestay, a necessity given the absence of hotels or lodges at such altitudes. A couple from the city, who had made their home in the Parvati Valley, graciously opened their doors to us. I opted for the best room up for grab but soon realised that despite the warm welcome and breathtaking views, something essential was lacking.

I faced the reality of no attached bath, no readily available hot running water, limited dining choices, and a travel companion absorbed in the sheer magnificence of the surroundings. While he revelled in the majestic view, I longed to experience what he felt, yet found myself disconnected and more discomforted than ever before.

The open-house atmosphere, where strangers freely mingled on the sunlit porch, engaging in conversations, playing guitar, or painting, created a pressure to socialise that I found intimidating.
However, as I guided myself to let go of my reservations and allowed time to unfold, the cool mountain breeze worked its magic. The realisation that I didn't need to be at the centre of attention, and that it was okay to be a supporting character in the story of the lead characters, brought a sense of lightness. It challenged my notion that spending money on an experience automatically entitles one to feel like the centre of the universe with exclusive privileges.

I wish I had the luxury to draw a time-table that wasn’t bound by work and material concerns. I wish I could allocate specific time for mourning, dancing, communing, reflecting, and gratitude in my daily life. To truly feel everything, intentionally, not via doom scrolling.

Without deliberate efforts, we risk wandering directionless on this planet, experiencing discontent, a sense of purposelessness, and a feeling of not belonging. In this state, we may unwittingly locate adversaries and hostilities in places that in fact provide you a level playing ground to offer love and presence and a safe haven to truly belong.

(The writer is a mental health and behavioural sciences columnist, conducts art therapy workshops and provides personality development sessions for young adults. She can be found @the_millennial_pilgrim on Instagram and Twitter)

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