Contemplating the Kala Chakra


One of my best friends and her boyfriend recently invited my girlfriend and I to share a holiday season dinner with them. One thing that struck me about her invitation was the very reasonable assumption that we might be too busy to get together with them until after the holidays were over. Like them – and like so many modern people – my girlfriend and I are perpetually busy. And for most of us, the run up to the end of the year is an even busier time than usual, what with shopping, party hopping, and travel plans.

But December is actually a natural time to slow down rather than speed up, a season for rest and reflection, for chilling out as the weather starts to chill down. The holidays themselves are meant to inspire an inward turn, a contemplative pause. December is a time of symbolic death and rebirth, of reconciliation and release, evaluation and renewal. It’s a time to think about what made us happy or unhappy, about the important people in our lives, about what we did and what we could or should have done.  It’s a time when we think about time: how we spent it in the past and how we’ll spend it in the future.

According to the Brahma Samhita, time – kala in Sanskrit – is an eternal energy that has two features: material and spiritual. Material time comes and goes with the material world, manifesting as the cycle of creation, maintenance, and destruction when active and as the potential for past, present, and future when dormant. Spiritual time, on the other hand, is perpetual and has the capacity to support sequential events in an eternal present without the attributes of past, present, or future. Spiritual time is trans-rational,  a paradox that appears to contradict the very idea of time as we know it. But developing the ability to experience time as we can’t currently imagine it is, well… a great way to spend one’s time.

I hope the spirit of the season doesn’t sweep you into such a frenzy of holiday oriented activity that you don’t have time to reflect on how you spent the most valuable possession we all have: our time. For myself, I’m grateful for the time I’ve had, hope I’ve used it wisely, and I’m looking forward to going over to our friend’s home for a holiday dinner before the New Year arrives.

6 Comments

  1. Posted December 12, 2011 at 8:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for speaking so gently about this sometimes crazed season. OM Shanti. h*

  2. Posted December 15, 2011 at 9:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Great post. Sheds light on what a heavy time December always has been for me. Thanks!

  3. Posted December 16, 2011 at 12:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    This year I have been successful in managing my stress, slowing things down and enjoying without overloading. It has been wonderful and I only regret not doing a better job of managing past holidays! I hope the same for you and yours! Thanks for the mindful post!

    • Posted December 16, 2011 at 6:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment and good wishes, Yogatistic. May your holidays be merry and bright.

  4. Posted December 25, 2011 at 2:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for the refreshing insight into the nature of time and the reminder to take it easy. I can always trust you to make mind-boggling concepts simple to understand. I would say, however that it’s not the spirit of the season that sweeps us into a frenzy, but its antithesis, materialism. Spirituality does not go shopping at the mall for its gifts. They come from with in us, and from our relationships.

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