They say “a watched pot never boils,” but it begs the question, why do we stare at the pot in the first place?
Similarly, how often have you stood at a bus stop, or waiting for the subway, craning your neck to see what is coming down the pike?
Then today, I had an experience where someone stopped by the office to tell me I had parked in such a way that she couldn’t get out, and she knew I was coming down to move my car. When I got there, she was standing there staring at my car. Did she think that by looking at it, she could now get out?
Thinking about things, I came to the conclusion that these are all just ways by which we are creating constant engagement with our world.
As a human being passing through time, we require constant worldly interaction. Unless we are unconscious, there is no such thing as just passing time, rather we think, or day dream, or see if the train is coming (again). This is because time is our reminder that we are temporal beings, and we want to take advantage of all the time that we have, which means that we refuse to just be,* rather we engage our world.
Even if it means just watching water boil.
* When the Zen masters refer to being, it is really a matter of focusing on the moment, and engaging that moment thoughtfully. But you are certainly engaged in the moment, that is the ultimate goal. Of course, I am not a student of Buddhism, so if I am wrong about that, I hope you will teach me!