Here’s the 25th hour of your day

September 19th, 2007

Not one thought deserves a second thought. – Dogen Zenji

What if you had one extra hour in the day to use to your heart’s content? To have fun, relax, exercise. To write, run or sleep. To start a book; to finish a book. To plant a garden; to cook. To play with the kids. To do something big. To do nothing at all.

These are the things we think we would do with extra time. But in truth, this is how we’d probably use it, because this is how we use most of our time:

It’ll never work. I’m not good enough. I can’t do it. I don’t know how. I don’t have what it takes. I’ll never finish. It’s a big mistake.

And the classic:

I don’t have time.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not suggesting that you replace these self-critical thoughts with something else. I don’t peddle positive thinking. I peddle positive non-thinking. Not all thinking is a waste of time, just the non-stop negative self-judgments that occupy nearly every waking hour. Cutting back on that will open vast new frontiers of (get this) empty space and time.

Of course, learning to disengage from habitual, self-limiting thoughts takes practice. And who has time for that?!

This concludes my three-day treatise. About time.

I’m teaching a one-day Beginner’s Mind Retreat at the Hazy Moon Zen Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 4. Is it time? Find out more.


  1. Thank you, Maezen.

    Comment by Wendy — September 19, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

  2. Can I just say, this is true. There is much more time then we think. Tons, oodles. I’m starting to forget how I used to be, all bogged down, incapacitated by the combination of too much thought and too much TV (to avoid the thoughts). Be. Be now. Great words are usually simple.

    Comment by Mrs. B. Roth — September 19, 2007 @ 7:18 pm

  3. Your post today led me back in time and I find myself here. I love that you’re a peddler of non-thinking. I’ll take two.

    And almost chose this very picture for my poem yesterday. Luckily I began believing in magic at 11:11, the moment I was born.

    Wish I could come to your March 16 retreat.

    xo Jena

    Comment by Jena Strong — February 24, 2008 @ 4:33 pm

  4. I have been asked to participate in a book and my first draft is due 2/20, next month and those very thoughts have been drumming in my head, even while i know on the surface that I can…I am stalled by my own self sabatoge.

    Comment by Cat — January 26, 2009 @ 5:15 pm

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