Surely you have experienced deep satisfactions in the past, haven’t you?

Author: Pierre Marcotte

And there you are, one moment after the other, going through this precious life. What can be done to achieve a deeply satisfying existence?

Surely you have experienced deep satisfactions in the past. Achieving a project, reaching a personal goal, or just feeling that you accomplished your duty… Or more simply, living a good moment; a delicious ecstasy - such as a love encounter; a breathtaking scenery… or finding back a dear old friend. And, of course, you long for such moments to happen again, don’t you?

What can be done to ensure that successes will ultimately predominate in your life and in that of your loved ones?

Stop and think

The section of our site titled “Fundaments” (at the top of the page) introduces you to the humanist principles at the basis of the MeoTempo life agenda. More philosophic reflections are twinned with very technical and practical aspects of the approach. Learn the how’s and why’s on the way each feature was tailored to help you make the best of your time.

Here time is taken to ponder.

The goal supporting this tool

Regarding success, some people share the perspective of Paul Desmarais:

“succeeding requires confidence, persistence, and most of all, determination to overcome.
The key is probably to be able to undertake something and bring it to a successful issue.” – Paul Desmarais [ref.]

* philanthropist and Canadian financial tycoon

For others, everything resides in the “art of living”, a matter of subtleties and being able to let go.

And how do you see things?

Do you feel this need to improve your capacity to undertake and deliver projects of all sorts? And do you, in any case, question yourself on your choices and quality of life? All in all, this quest for meaning may be universal, however the notion of success remains a matter quite personal to each one of us.

No matter who you are or what your aspirations may be, to bring you to succeed and to live fully is the motivation that led to creating the Aranatha society in 2010. And it is precisely by nurturing your connection with time that Aranatha aims to provide you with humanistic approaches and technologic means to increase your chances of success. Connection with time plus technology equals electronic agenda.

We developed MeoTempo, a life agenda in real time for iPhone and iPad available in the App Store since May 3rd, 2013. The goal supporting this tool is to help you maximize your life by gaining deep mindfulness over your time and resources. We wish to ensure the materialization of this ideal through adoption of healthy lifestyle and use of tools that are efficient and within your reach.

Mindfulness

Eastern continents have a lot to teach us about science of the mind. In the Western continents, the abilities related to performance are those that make us stand out. In my opinion, the former is based on humanistic fundaments and the latter is based on the means. I don’t see the necessity to sacrifice one to the other. Quite the contrary, both these cultures can mutually reap benefits. I am willing to bet that alloying sciences of the mind with technology will result in a happy outcome. This is what I wish to achieve by enclosing these texts in the MeoTempo mindfulness-based time management app. For New Year’s Day, in 2015, Gilles Vigneault, a renowned Quebec poet, publisher, and singer-songwriter, directed the following wishes, to the youth:

“I wish for them consciousness and revolt (not violence).” – Gilles Vigneault

Radio Canada interview, Franco Nuovo, January 1st, 2015. The world we live in is so complex that it can sometimes be disconcerting. But it is also presents us with incredible opportunities. The two go hand in hand. Are you aware of your own real power to make choices that will impact your life? And this is not only true at the start of a career, but also throughout life which, incidentally, gets lengthier and lengthier! This privilege, the one of having so much power to “create one’s future”, is new to humanity. Why not take advantage of it? How do your apprehend your time, that time you have left?

My aim is to show through this text how a certain number of considerations – which I describe as humanistic – relate to MeoTempo functionalities as such. In order to establish these considerations, I first observed the behavior of my own mind when I was thinking about time. I would observe my day-to-day management, of course, but also the moments I spent reflecting on each and every dimension of my life. I will come back on this matter a few paragraphs further, and tell you about how MeoTempo came to be. These precise observations became the considerations that I wished to take into account when creating MeoTempo. At times, I was in the technicalities of informatics, at times I was deep in some Buddhist philosophy, only to finally realize that this all resided in one same spirit and one same mind as a whole that, as it turns out, is quite consistent. And quite frankly, I deeply enjoy decompartmentalization and letting myself wander between the very tangible world of technology and that of humanistic ideas. That is what triggers these texts. Thus, the present work is broken down into various stages. They evolve from a philosophical point of view towards a technological perspective. The introduction states a series of needs that arose in the midst of observations on how to apprehend time. Next follow the concepts and principles at the basis of the approach. And so, following a string of chapters, ideas evolve until the last chapter, where I show how technology tangibly contributes to answering expressed needs. For example, the work explains how the concept of “present moment”, which is referred to from the very beginning, is finally embodied in one of the MeoTempo functionalities through the “Sun” icon. [ref.]

Note : I recommend that the reader take a few minutes to try out MeoTempo and draw some insight on the application. Although not essential, those few minutes will greatly help to understand this text.

As for me, I strongly appraise seeing my desires, dreams and values find an echo in the tangible world. This preoccupation probably has to do with the fact that I worked as an engineer for a number of years. Is it not so that after a human being expressed his desire to travel, someone was there to build him a cart, then an automobile, an airplane, and finally, a space shuttle? Likewise, time as an entity drives us to have multiple objects of desire. Is it not claimed high and low that one must live the present moment, and that time is precious? I am of those who are sensitive to these questions; how about you? These issues, as a matter of fact, have been driving my progression for a lot of years. As a result, today I teach yoga and jointly with a handful of fantastic people, am working towards the creation of MeoTempo. I aim to create a tool enabling the application of humanistic precepts herein identified, which are specific to our collective connection with time. Thus, my approach is not limited to the sole production of a technological object. The MeoTempo application is meant as a tool embodying the overall concept of our relationship with time. Of course, like many other applications, it comes with a user guide to explain its technical functioning. The present texts complete the user guide by providing perspective to this application. And workshops allow for the more daring to explore and develop this approach by establishing a more direct connection with the body and the mind. Thus the work acts as a whole - eclectic, perhaps, but in which there is a concern for coherence.

Out of respect for your time, dear reader, the work is conceived to be read in part or as a whole, and not necessarily in any particular sequence. Therefore you can either read it through from the beginning or only glance at the section concerning the one specific theme that holds your attention, as is done with any user guide. Bearing this in mind, I make abundant use of this marvelous tool called hyperlink throughout. Disseminated here and there, these allow skipping from one section to another in this work, but may lead you to outside components. While some reference to texts on our website, others lead to technical explanations in the user guide, and others yet will take you into the core of MeoTempo. And thus, through a network of links is woven a fabric where we can surf at leisure between either dimensions, from the philosophic fundaments to the more technical details. The whole concept admittedly has the intent to imitate the all-out functioning of our mind. In order to fully understand what this is all about, let me give you a foretaste with an example on how one can surf through the work by themes. Provided you are willing to enter into the spirit of the game, please read on to the following paragraph and see where the hyperlinks take you.

Picture a situation where you are wondering about your availability. More precisely, you want to know approximately how many hours you have available in the next three weeks. This concern is motivated by the necessity to ensure that your objectives are realistic. Of course, the success of your project depends on this. When studying the MeoTempo settings, you find “availabilities” among the options. The term seems to have a link with your need. To learn more about this adjustment, you access the user guide. [ref.] The user guide explains that the number of hours available are calculated from the typical time slots in a week. This adjustment allows viewing the number of hours left in a day, week, month and year in the strips at the bottom of your agenda. As well, it mentions the possibility of filtering information for a selected focus period. Since your concern is for the next three weeks, you use the link at the bottom of the user guide you are reading so as to access the section that deals with filters. [ref.] Having applied the filter, you obtain the answer to your question, i.e. that the available time you have in the next three weeks is around twenty hours. After experimenting with this function for some time, you resume your reading on the topic to nourish your reflection and improve your connection with time.

. . .

I am not the only one to show interest for this subject. Surely time is among the most lacking commodities in our materially rich society. The relationship between man and this so-valued time is an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Please forgive me for not offering any review of existing works on the topic. You might compare me to that artist who has the urge to paint a scene without concern for the fact that so many such paintings already exist. Each point of view is unique. I modestly present mine, just for the simple pleasure of sharing.

Among the many anthropologists, psychologists and all “other-o-logists” who study and publish their findings on the subject, some have no doubt initiated the creation of software applications. However, the present project should rather be seen as an endeavor based in the world of engineering, where people’s job is to solve technical problems. Thus, its starting point is slightly different. All in all, while my approach is a humanistic one, it is rooted in the world of technology.

Our little story

This project really began some twenty years ago, although at the time I was totally unaware that I was about to start such a thing. The then young engineer that I was found it challenging to reconcile all the aspects of his life. Each one of those would individually generate an endless to-do list of pleasant or unpleasant imperatives, which altogether caused me to live tremendous stress and anxiety. I would ask myself: “Jeez! How do others cope? And which solution suits me best?” Like many people around me, I tried to make use of the software programs available, which I always ended up rejecting after wasting too important a portion of time supplying input with the hope of eventually reaping some kind of benefit from them. Moreover, my comfort level at work was in no way improved. The use of time management software only became another item on my long to-do list. Partly out of spite, I turned towards the use of a simple Excel sheet with a few columns to enter dates, tasks and state (to do, in progress, or completed)… And thus the project was launched: I would solve the problem of my relation with time. From then on and as the years passed by, I would sometimes stop and wonder, when faced with an actual difficulty: “How can this headache be resolved?” When the annoyance would reach a critical stage, or the promise of greater happiness at work (or in life) be obvious, I would give up my ongoing activities to improve my humble Excel tool. In an average year, I programmed around a hundred macros* and as a result, after 10 years, my Excel file had become a very sophisticated tool that answered my needs rather well. Looking back, I now realize that the development of this tool, as well as the awareness it generated, had a major positive impact on my life. I should also mention that during this development I began to practice yoga. These two activities, which initially seemed to be completely distinct to me, later strongly converged.

* Macro (or macroinstruction): short user-created software program which typically automates a sequence of repeated operations.

Little by little, my interest for the process surpassed my interest for the object I was creating. In fact, it became a subject to study in itself. I became aware that the processes prevailed over the technological solution. I also became convinced that success intimately depended on a series of mental processes beyond the technological tools, which remained incidental. These processes must direct the creation of tools, which in my actual case means that they must drive the invention of a software application.

The relationship that human beings have with the time available to them makes place for multiple routines, habits, and ways of doing and thinking. The thread of events in our life shapes our own story - this present moment that I am using to write to you, and that you will use to read me - and shapes our future. And beyond all this we uncover the fundamental issues: how to make the most of this rich past experience, how to live the present moment as fully as possible, and how to create a future that is convenient for our loved ones and for ourselves.

. . .
“One must always act so as to produce the greatest aggregate happiness for the greatest number of people.” – John Stuart Mill

These texts are written by an engineer, not by a psychologist. This forcedly has an impact on the outcome. However, they were thought out with a clear intent to near the two trades. I invested a great deal of efforts on them to create something that I trust is useful. I don’t belong to any particular school of thought. My school is my own life, anchored in my era, and in tune with the times. Like everyone else, I am in touch with the trends of this society that has multiple influences on me. Yoga is one of these trends. I sincerely believe in the benefits of a daily yoga practice, but without adhering to any particular dogma. Psychologically speaking, a lot can certainly be said about our relationship with time. My own qualifications here are the ones acquired through years of experience from the very day I was born, back in 1957. The field draws an interest on me, and I call upon those who can educate me and contribute to enrich this creative process. Incidentally, I must say I find a bit unfortunate to see this field so tightly controlled by the orders of psychologists. Please note that the fact that some form of control is legitimate and necessary is not disputed here. However I do regret that this control disappropriates us from the wisdom that naturally comes with age, inasmuch as one has lived a rich humanistic experience – with the consequence that we are deemed unqualified to provide any advice or opinion related to human psychology. I am also very interested in the whole way of thinking in regards to the concept of “mindfulness” *. It reveals a wonderful convergence in western and eastern approaches, both putting forward the same concept of a desire to live a full life. In fact, they represent a rich source of inspiration to nourish my reflections and support my approach.

* “Mindfulness” was initially rendered by a Pali-language scholar, Thomas William Rhys Davids (1843–1922), in translating the term “sati” of “sammā-sati” to “Right Mindfulness; the active, watchful mind”, in 1881. (…) Davids explained: “sati” is literally “memory”, but is used with reference to the constantly repeated phrase “mindful and thoughtful” (“sato sampajâno”), and means activity of mind and constant presence of mind, which is one of the duties most frequently inculcated on the good Buddhist.

Time and… money

I limited myself to developing this project around one concept, mindfulness of time, but whoever wishes to enlarge the vision to other concepts - such as mindfulness of resources or the more prosaic concept of mindfulness of money - should not refrain from doing so. When we look beyond the false modesty that arises in money matters, there is food for thoughts on a “quality” approach in our relationship with it. Being highly aware of one’s financial situation is an indubitable asset, and not reserved for those who are merely mercantile. Here lies another project for the future.

Extensive subject

In the creative abundance of our era, I feel that this work is substantiated by the fact that, as far as I know, no other application merges in one same technological space all the tools needed to understand and improve our relationship with time. The subject is indeed extensive, and other texts will follow; that is both factual and desirable.