Elastic Time

Clemency and I got home about 5 yesterday afternoon, and although we had been away for only a little over 24 hours it felt longer. We had left at 5.30 am the previous day, towing the caravan  through thick fog in order to be at a meeting in Wanaka at 10. We had breakfast at the Tin Goose Cafe in Alexandra before I dropped the caravan off  at Clyde and Clemency and her schoolbooks at a lakeside table at Wanaka and headed off to sit round a huge table with a lot of highly motivated people. The morning was intense, but satisfactory, and in the middle of the day it was back to Clyde ready for a Michaelmass service in the little retreat house being developed in St. Michael's Church. There were conversations and negotiations and preparations all accomplished on the sofa of the caravan, which does pretty well as a hospitality space, albeit a small one. I preached and celebrated eucharist and had a few significant conversations and drove home through Lawrence and Milton, having put about 600 km on the car in about 24 hours. Driving home it felt to both of us that we'd been away for a week.
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It was a quieter day today. Tomorrow I am running a training session for new ordinands on marriage, so there was a bit of preparation for that. In the middle of the day I had a very pleasant conversation, laying plans with someone employed by the Presbyterian Church to develop a school curriculum for contemplative prayer. There were a few letters to be written and I needed to catch up with Alec, Ginny and Debbie in our office. The day flew by. 
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It's a wholly unremarkable phenomenon that when a day is filled with a variety of large tasks it seems longer than one filled with fewer, or more mundane ones. This is an illustration of the difference between what the Greeks called Chronos, measured time, and Kairos, experienced time.  Chronos is measured against some regular thing like a clock or pendulum. Kairos is measured against our memory and is greatly influenced by the importance we place on the events in our memories and those happening around us. Kairos speeds up as we get older because we have more memories: a year for me is 1/64 of a lifetime while for Noah it is 1/3 of a lifetime. 
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Since my conversation earlier, I have been wondering how silent prayer can be taught to children. I'm quite used to Teaching it to adults, where it is a case of juggling - in one way or another - the balance of Kairos and Chronos. With children I think something else will be happening, perhaps more of an exercise in relaxing and calming and watching. I think it can be done. But teaching children will be one thing. Teaching the teachers who will be teaching the children... now there's the tricky bit. 

Comments

Noelene said…
From time to time the WCCM shows how meditation is well-received by primary school children in particular. They comment on the calmness, and when you you think about the hectic school day you can see how a quiet time -TOGETHER - is welcome. As for the teachers, I 'd respectfully suggest consulting: http://www.meditatio.co.uk/meditatio-seminar-in-london-on-meditation-in-schools/ Teachers of meditation to children from all over the world (certainly Australia,I noticed)met in July 2016. In NZ, there have been articles in the Dominion Post, Waikato Times and Papakura paper about children meditating in NZ schools regularly - for up to ten years. Some non-Catholic schools, according to the above newspaper articles, have convinced their communities this is a very positive influence on childrens' lives. There's another call on your retirement time, Kelvin ;)
Kelvin Wright said…
Thanks for this, Noelene. The Catholic Diocese of Townsville has an excellent programme running and have produced correspondingly excellent resources. Perhaps on one of our projected many trips to Australia I'll need to go and have a look.