There are those who warn us, “don’t look back” unless you want to become a pillar of salt. Then there are others who see rear-view glances as a waste of time, locking us in an unproductive “shoulda woulda coulda” mode; the cliche, “hindsight is 20/20,” illustrates the futility of over-examining past decisions. Other spiritual perspectives give much attention to our use of time. In leading us toward the elusive state of happiness, the Buddha instructs us to look neither back nor forward and to choose instead living in the moment without regret and expectation. But isn’t a backward look sometimes useful for self growth? And isn’t the end of the year the ideal time to reflect?
I see a difference between living in the past and using the past as a learning tool to become better versions of who we are. Time does serve a purpose in self-assessment. Moving from one challenging phase into stillness where we chart our the next step positions us on either side of significant thresholds where we can ask pointed questions:
Did I make a difference in the lives of others? Did I develop my gifts and use them wisely? Where have I missed opportunities? What would I still like to accomplish in the time I have left? For what am I sorry and how can I compensate?
Such questions mean prioritizing, reshuffling, and discarding. The end of the calendar year is a prime time to recollect changeable attitude and develop fresh approaches.
Early Christianity understood the imperative of time on a physical and spiritual level, distinguishing the duality of the ephemeral and eternal through specific language, in Greek chronos and kairos. Chronos is the linear schedule of time: minutes, days, months, years, measurable in digits, the temporal plane of earthly existence. Kairos is connected to the spiritual plane, the Godly, unrestricted permanent level of existence, eternal life without edges, those rare and delicious moments of grace that merge us with God energy even in the physical world. We conduct our daily activities, sometimes mechanically, in chronos but meditate and stand in holy energy when we operate in kairos..
Strong’s Bible Concordance gives us clear examples of how these intersect in Galatians 6:10. Paul writes, " So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people… “ Having time is chronos, but doing Divine work is kairos. KairosCanada.org elaborates, “Each word of truth, each act of solidarity and each step of justice, reinforces hope and nurtures the movement of people that will make ‘another world possible’. Kairos, the word, is an invitation to action.” When we call for justice, we act in kairos.
It is here where we activate our Christ-consciousness: the compassion, generosity, unconditional love – characteristics we wish to realize here and now. As the chronological year ends and the new year begins, we can elevate our walk by activating the God within. If that means looking backward to see those missed opportunities and re-frame them in kairos perspective as we progress in our journeys, then why not?
Here’s an assessment to help you see where you can nourish particular areas of your life – and subsequently the lives of others -- with more light.
The truth is that in our world we need to live in chronos increments, but we can choose to integrate kairos moments. Here’s a start:
Every small step we take toward bringing that God energy into human interaction moves us closer toward wholeness.
Lisa Shaw is an animal communicator, spiritual counselor, writer, and professor who lives in South Florid with her four animals. Her e-book, Illumination: Life Lessons from our Animal Companions, is available for download on Amazon Kindle. Her website is www.reikidogs.com