Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Generals Don't Play

Lately, I have had the pleasure of flying an important General back and forth to Washington DC. He is a very nice man and always takes the time to chat with us about ourselves. The scenario for the flight always goes the same way. A van or SUV pulls up as close as they can get to our aircraft. The first pilot will be on board running the checklists while the other greets the party and loads their bags. By the time the second pilot gets everyone on board, the first pilot is starting the first engine. The second pilot closes up the door, gives everyone a short brief while the second engine is being started. Finally, the second pilot jumps up front, buckles in and picks of the duty of the radios by calling for taxi clearance. The jet then taxis to runway and and takes off. The entire process takes roughly 15 minutes.
When we arrive at our destination there is usually a small greeting party for our General. One pilot will jump out of the seat while the other shuts down the engines. By the time the last bag is unloaded from the back the General is enjoying the climate controlled environment of his SUV. As soon as the last garment bag is loaded in the vehicle the General is whisked off to whatever important meeting he has to attend. The entire process takes roughly 5 minutes. Although, he always takes the time to stop and say thank you to everyone for flying him.

In general (no pun intended), people try not to waste the time of the General. He must accomplish a lot of very important things and make lots of important decisions. His schedule is chocked full of meetings, events and social functions. Vise versa, the General tries not to waste anyones time. He is always on time to our plane, if not early. I am not so naive to think that he particularly cares about what time the pilots are going to get home that night, I am sure he is thinking about the meeting or event he must attend.  He knows that showing up late would be inconsiderate.

In my opinion, this General, is a great yogi.

What does a busy General have to do with a skinny, bendy-Indian guy? Before you stop reading, due to my apparent inability to make associations, let me explain.

The General's approach to time is very inlign with the 8 limbed path that forms the structural framework of yoga. In order, to follow this path one must practice social observances or Yamas. The General practices the Yama of Asteya or non-stealing.  He makes every effort to be on time thus he avoids stealing the time of others. Despite being rushed he always stops to ask others about themselves as well as say thank you. He gives of his time as though he has plenty even though we know his day is scheduled from wake to sleep.

The priciple of Asteya suggests that a person's need to steal comes from a place of scarcity. Believing that you are deprived will make you want to take it from others or perhaps hoard it when you do receive it. This is true for a lot of us when it comes to time. I know that I tend to overshedule myself then consequently will often find myself running late. There are also many times that I get distracted at home and get a late start. This is probably subconsciously driven from my constant feeling that I do not have enough time.

There are so many reasons not to show up late.

1. If you are meeting someone for the first time they will not remember what you said they will only remember that you were late.
2. People will know they can't can't on you.
3. That person may then turn around and be late to their next event thus stealing time from someone else.
4. If you are early then you avoid the stress of rushing.
5. You will have more time to drive around and find a good parking spot
6. You won't get stared at if you walk into a meeting late
7. You won't have to stumble through the dark in the movie theater looking for a seat
8. You will get the best pick of the party snacks
9. Your boss will consider you a good worker
10. You will be at the front of the line at the verizon store to get the new iphone

the list goes on and on...

There is an old saying in the military "if you aren't 10 minutes early, you are late!" As much as it annoyed me to hear it repeated at every briefing I attended, it is true. Being early is practicing Asteya. It is trusting in the abundance of time that God created. It is trusting in him to provide as much time as you need. There is plenty of time for everyone and everything that you truly need to do, all you have to do is be generous with your own.


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