"God created time and God created plenty of it," goes an Irish proverb. So why are we so concerned about how much time we have (or don't have), what to do with our time, and how to get more time for what's important to us? Perhaps the first step toward understanding our relationship to time is to reflect upon its many meanings. Here are some quotations to get you started.

  • "Our uneasiness and our frantic scrambling are caused by our distorted sense of time, which seems to be continuously running out. Western culture reinforces this conception of time as a limited commodity. We are always meeting deadlines; we are always short of time, we are always running out of time."
    — Brother David Steindl-Rast in The Music of Silence
  • "The more you think and worry about time, the more you will be controlled by it, and the faster it will appear to pass. The less you concern yourself with time, the freer you become, and there is always plenty of time."
    — Scott Shaw in Zen O'clock: Time to Be
  • "We live in a culture in which the clock has become not only a tool of social coordination, but of domination. It can be seen as the principal religious symbol of the secular age."
    — Jim Forest in Praying With Icons
  • "The Kairos moments are the defining moments in our lives, the moments of new insight, of deeper understanding — moments when everything changes. Kairos times are the times in our lives when we can see the hand of God at work."
    — Bonnie Thurston in To Everything a Season
  • "Time for the Christian is then the sphere of his spontaneity, a sacramental gift in which he can allow his freedom to deploy itself in joy."
    — Thomas Merton in To Everything a Season by Bonnie Thurston
  • "The highest goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments. Spiritual life begins to decay when we fail to sense the grandeur of what is eternal in time."
    — Abraham Heschel in The Sabbath
  • "In our culture, time can be seen as an enemy: it chews us up and spits us out with appalling ease. But the monastic perspective welcomes time as a gift from God, and seeks to put it to good use rather than allowing us to be used up by it."
    — Kathleen Norris in The Cloister Walk
  • "Liturgical time is essentially poetic time, oriented toward process rather than productivity, willing to wait attentively in stillness rather than always pushing to get the job done."
    — Kathleen Norris in The Cloister Walk
  • "The Japanese tradition regards the tea ceremony as an opportunity to turn inward and embark on a path of enlightenment. Western observers see it as a way to sharpen the senses and heighten their perception of time."
    — Stefan Klein in The Secret Pulse of Time
  • "Relax and enter into a timeless zone; nowhere to go, nothing to do, free of scheduling and appointments, free of past and future thoughts and memories and plans. Simply and attentively present, you are cultivating newness-awareness."
    — Lama Surya Das in Buddha Standard Time
  • "My Time Guide is a tango dancer, the epitome of a helpful partner.
    She can't dance without me, and I can't dance without her.
    It takes two to tango; it takes two to design the dance of time."
    — Marney K. Makridakis in Creating Time
  • "Sacred time is devoted to the heart, to the self, to others, to eternity. Sacred time is not measured in minutes, hours or days."
    — Gary Eberle in Sacred Time and The Search for Meaning
  • "Time is deeper and stranger than anything else in our lives, it takes everything with it, nothing is bigger than time, nothing survives its power."
    — Jacob Needleman in Time and Soul
  • "Every tragedy we can imagine comes back to just one: time slipping by."
    — Simone Weil in The Art of Time by Jean-Louis Servan-Schreiber
  • "It is in childhood that we are most profoundly, naturally, and intimately involved with time."
    — Jean-Louis Servan Schreiber in The Art of Time
  • "We cannot summon the future, we cannot remake the past. The present moment is the unfinished house in which we dwell."
    — Philip Simmons in Learning to Fall