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Diane Dreher's Tao of Inner Peace Blog

Making Friends with Time

The Tao Te Ching tells us,


"The Tao person

Lives fully in every moment.


Hold to this timeless pattern

Throughout the time of your life,

Aware of the eternal cycles,

The essence of Tao."

                            (Tao Te Ching, Chapter 14)


Lately, instead of living "fully in every moment," I've been rushing from one thing to the next, feeling an underlying anxiety, a compulsive need to get things done, to clear the incessant chores from my life so I can relax and regain a sense of peace.


Does this sound familiar? Have you been caught up in incessant activity, an endless list of obligations that clutters your days and leaves you feeling exhausted?


This approach doesn't work. It's like a dog chasing its tail. We'll never find peace that way.


Years ago, when he came to America from India, meditation teacher Eknath Easwaran saw people frantically rushing about with what he called "the hurry sickness."[1] And he was right. Hurry puts our bodies in a stress reaction, which shuts down our immune system and our higher brain centers so we make foolish choices and can come down with a vast range of diseases and disorders.[2]


The hurry sickness has become a daily habit in industrialized countries. With the advent of computers, cell phones, and social media, many of us have been treating our bodies like machines.


We can break this destructive habit, regaining our peace of mind by making friends with time. When we find ourselves rushing, we can heal the hurry sickness by taking a slow deep breath and saying a mantram, a spiritual word or phrase that expands our perspective, reminding us that we are more than any current stressful situation.[3] Research at the San Diego, California Veterans' Center has even found mantram repetition significantly reduces painful flashbacks, bringing greater peace of mind to military veterans with PTSD.[4]


Do you have a spiritual word or phrase you can repeat to yourself to restore your peace of mind?

Here's one way to begin.


  • Close your eyes.
  • Take a long deep breath and slowly release it.
  • As you continue to breathe slowly and deeply, think of a comforting word or phrase from your own spiritual tradition.
  • Christians could repeat the name of "Jesus"
  • Catholics could say "Hail Mary" or "Ave Maria"
  • Jews could say "Barukh attah Adonai"
  • Muslims could say "Allah, Allah"
  • Buddhists could say "Om mani padme hum"
  • Many people who can't relate to a specific spiritual tradition have chosen Gandhi's mantram, "Rama," which means joy[5]

Whatever mantram you choose, begin to make it yours by repeating it when you're going about your daily tasks, washing dishes, taking a walk, waiting in line, or driving to work. Then it will be there for you when you need it.


My friend Carolyn used to commute on the busy Nimitz freeway from Oakland to teach at Santa Clara University. Whenever she felt anxious, stuck in traffic, she would tell herself, "I am on God's time."


In a larger sense, we are all on God's time, in this journey of our lives.


I wish you peace on the journey.



[1] Easwaran, E. (2008). Passage Meditation. Tomales, CA: Nilgiri Press.

[2] Sapolsky, R. (2017). Behave. New York, NY: Penguin Press.

[3] Easwaran, E. (2008). Passage Meditation. Tomales, CA: Nilgiri Press.

[4] Bormann, J. E., Hurst, S., & Kelly, A. (2013). Responses to mantram repetition program from veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder: A qualitative analysis. JRRD, 50, 769-784.

[5] Easwaran, E. (2008). Passage Meditation. Tomales, CA: Nilgiri Press

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