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Learning to Play The Trickster’s Game: Giving Time, Time

"Circle of Time", by  Michael Cheval

"Circle of Time", by Michael Cheval

Time is a trickster. She is sensual, seductive and ever promising, elegant in her playfulness and welcoming in her dance. If you are not careful, she will woo you into an easy darkness, extending her hand and beckoning you into her arms, her eyes glittering behind the mask she wears, her gaze settling in and softly setting your mind adrift. In the sway of the song, she will lean closer, her perfectly perfumed scent filling your nostrils, her breath warm on your neck, your eyelids slowly beginning their surrender. The sleep, long and deep, may not leave you again until the very end, until you awaken to find the last of your living energy being lulled from your aching body, your consciousness slipping slowly into the final hours of your life. And there she’ll be, leaning over you, her mask now held aside, her curious eyes peering into yours with a tenderness and a beauty finally naked before you, in these last few moments together. 

And you will realize then that nothing was actually withheld from you, apart from that which you withheld from the world. All those things you surrendered to her were given willingly. Time, in her playful dance, was merely fulfilling her role, as she is with everyone, in every moment of their lives. It is a part played perfectly by her without fail. Whether or not her dance partners come to take the lead is another matter entirely. For those who do, however, the experience of this life is undoubtedly one of an exceptionally different caste.

Let me ask you, then, do you know where you stand with the Trickster known as Time? Do you know where you are in the dance as it’s now unfolding? The world is filled with those who’ve been lulled into her perfect sleep, and are moving, however elegantly, through all of their steps unconsciously. If you look closely enough, you will notice that nearly everyone carries the mark of her seduction in their eyes. Yet realizing this is only the beginning of awakening. Not until one can turn that awareness upon themselves can they ever hope to become at least an equal partner in the dance. It is simple enough to notice the unconsciousness of another, but come to realize that the eyes with which you yourself see the world are actually closed, and you have almost assuredly achieved the initial stages of a rise back into consciousness.    

Make no mistake however, the game continues. Thinking you have it figured is the first new seduction the dance will present you with. You don’t. You never will. Knowing this is the only way you can ever come close to achieving it. Remember, time is with you every step of the way, not to be lost as long as you are breathing. She knows every nuance, every thought as it enters your eye, every move before it is made. You cannot fool her, you cannot dance away. All you can do is turn to face her, move with her, and come to learn her strange and curious rhythms as well as possible. Only then can you ever hope to learn what it truly means to dance.

But how is this done? It is fine to speak of it all in poetry and prose, to wax philosophic about the turning of the seasons and the tides of change, but what of the practical application? How does all this esotericism filter down into real-time, onto the plain and over-crowded streets of everyday people, looking earnestly to improve their lives and raise their consciousness?  

As some of you already know, I have been greatly frustrated during genuine periods of seeking in the past. It’s only recently that I’ve come to realize that I have a tendency, like many people I think, to focus on the progress I’m not making, while unconsciously allowing all of the gradual steps I have achieved to slip quietly through the back door, going almost completely unnoticed. 

I recently stumbled across a comment I made in an online forum three or four years ago. I wasn’t searching for it, but all of sudden there it was, staring me in the face and begging my dissection of it. It was only one line, but reading it as who I am now, I was completely struck with how much I’ve changed. Not only was this comment exceptionally negative, it was also totally unnecessary. It was almost troll-like. I would never leave such a comment today — not because I’m specifically avoiding it, but because it wouldn’t even occur to me to do so. Even if I was thinking such a negative thing, I certainly wouldn’t waste my precious time engaging that thought and then going out of my way to post it and put it out into the world. I would instead — depending on how conscious I was at the time —  drop the thought as soon as it occurred, like the fodder it is, and continue forward in a new, chosen, and significantly more positive vein in place of it.

And yet I didn’t even realize what a habit this had become until this relic of a random comment was suddenly, mistakenly exhumed and placed before my eyes. My inherent tendency to focus on all my failings and ignore the slow strengths I’ve built up over the last few years was completely lost to me. This is how good Time is at her game. Inner progress is often so subtle and so incremental, and so drowned out by all of the hypnotic clamour of the external world that it slips by completely unnoticed. We remain so entranced by the culture and all of it’s trappings — celebrity and its deeply embedded message of our own inferiority among them — that we fail to realize where our focus even lies most of the time. Finding this memento was an eye-opening example to me that I’ve actually had some success in achieving the dismantling of my inner cynic through the tools of higher consciousness. It was a massive reminder of how much I’ve actually managed to re-mind myself, regardless of how much cynicism and negativity may still remain with me from time to time. I’ve divested of some of the base level stuff. I’ve made progress. 

The lesson it taught me was this: we need to give time, time. This is how we play the Trickster’s game — by leaning into her a little, by giving a bit of her back to herself. In our ever-accelerating, disposable, instant-gratification culture we all have a tendency to give up far too quickly, or to think that if we haven’t achieved something in what we consider a decent amount of time, we can’t. None of this is true. It is all part of the great, seductive dance Time has us in. If we can weave a few certain things back into the steps therein, not only is progress possible, it is a given. Patience remains the greatest virtue. Persistence the sweetest salve.  If we have the heart, and we learn how to use our minds, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish, if we simply give time… a little time.