Too much to do, not enough time…it’s a mantra that’s been running through my head my whole adult life. When I was working in the corporate world, or later, staying at home with the kids, I was plagued by a constant sense of time deprivation. Now I have a part-time job and run my own business, and the unease continues. TMTD, NET.

The other day read a quote from Zen Master Seung Sahn that really struck me. He was addressing female meditation students who had young children and were frustrated about not having enough time to practice. He said, “Don’t make ‘I need time for myself’ mind! Then whatever you do at that moment will be enough.”

He didn’t say, “try to get up early in the morning to practice,” or “practice when the kids are napping,” or “hire a sitter to practice.” He said (if I may paraphrase), “Don’t make ‘not enough time’ mind.”

I realize that I’ve always approached TMTD, NET as a budgetary problem. My expenses (list of things to do) generally exceeded my resources (24 hours in a day). The solution seemed to be to cut spending (by reducing the list of projects), and to acquire more resources for the things that mattered by not wasting time. So just as I might eliminate a Starbucks habit to save up for a vacation, I could stop watching random things on TV in order to gain more time for exercise.

All well and good. But did this logical analysis make me any less anxious about time? No it did not. As the teacher pointed out, not enough time is a thought created in the mind, and it can only be addressed on the level of mind. It’s a story I tell myself over and over that leaves me feeling stressed and sorry for myself. In short, it’s a bad habit!

It doesn’t even make sense, when you think about it. Not enough time…what does that mean? All any of us ever have is the present moment. Not enough?

I’m trying to be more conscious of the story whenever it comes up. Oh here you are again, TMTD, NET, my old friend. And when I see it, I need to ask myself, what’s the most important thing to be doing at this moment? And then do it. If I do it with full attention, it is enough.