Pursuing Kairos

The Kairos Moment

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Change, which is the only constant thing in this world, happens in the flash of a moment. People can prepare for a great change and make careful plans; yet in order to make the change, all preparations and expectations must be released in favor of a flash of vision and inspiration. Of course, ancient people had a name for that moment when time stands still, when the usual forces are suspended and almost anything can happen. In Sanskrit, the opportune moment was called ksana, or “the flash in time, the inspired instant.” In Greek the moment that becomes momentous was termed kairos. The kairos moment opens before us and we must be as swift as a bird or else miss out on the opportunity to slip past the guardians and ride through the gates of time. Kairos names the moment of sweeping change that arrives “just in the nick of time” and turns everything around. The opportune moment is a crack in time, a breach in the march of time in which the eternal enters and redeems us from certain doom. 

The ancient Greeks had two primary words for time: kronos and kairos. Kronos referred to sequential time, the “chronological” order of time marching on; the arrow of linear time always moving forward. Thus, time waits for no one. Kronos is quantifiable and measurable time; the hour glass emptying out, the end of time coming ever closer and closer.


“Kairos referred to a different order of time altogether, a timeless stretch that cannot be scheduled ahead of time; an alteration of time in which impossible things become momentarily possible. Whereas kronos stands for quantitative time, kairos time is qualitative in nature.”

Under the unforgiving rule of kronos we have to be on time, do our time and pay our dues. When we are under the influence of kairos, time stops and opens before us. There is a break in time as something timeless and beyond time enters and alters the world around us. The kairos moment arrives when it will, when the time is just right, when things become more possible and life becomes ripe for change. Kairos is the mythic moment that is end and beginning at once, when the hard pulse of time becomes “once upon a time” and past, present, and future secretly converse with each other.

In many ways we have entered a kairos moment, a time beset with both danger and opportunity as the world tries to change amidst the clashing of entrenched ideas and fixed beliefs and the availability of crushing weapons of all kinds.


There is an increasing tendency for issues to polarize and for people to see only one side of each issue. Under the rule of reason and the rise of ideologies of all kinds people simply pick one side and reject the other as being wrong-headed, unreasonable or even insane. As the dependence upon reason has grown, a loss of imagination has developed as well as the deeper understandings traditionally provided by the mythic imagination needed to make sense of a volatile world.  The single eye of reason can become blind to greater visions and deeper insights that might shift pieces in a stalemate or loosen polarized positions and allow an unexpected third way to open.

The old idea of the kairos moment brought more than the power of reason to bear on the issue at hand as the ancient world included more than one way of thinking. The current moment in which oppositions throughout the world intensify and so many elements of culture become paralyzed may be the right moment for people to turn to mythic imagination again. Creative imagination is the only outcome of conflict that can satisfy the soul, and myths can provide universal examples of creative solutions.

– Michael Meade, “The Genius Myth”


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We are pleased to announce the Living Myth Premium Podcast


This new offering from Mosaic gives members access to additional content
beyond the free weekly edition of the podcast.

Become a member today and for $10/month receive:
●  2 bonus episodes each month
●  Regular Q&A episodes with Michael Meade
●  The full podcast archives
●  Exclusive offers on products and events

Since launching the Living Myth podcast last year, we have received consistent appreciation for how this podcast provides insight, orientation and meaning to people at a time when culture and nature are undergoing radical changes.  As we work to bring the healing and restorative power of mythic imagination into the current cultural conversation, please consider becoming a member today.

Your membership helps grow Living Myth and ensures we are able to continue developing and expanding this creative project.

Peace and blessings,

Mosaic Staff

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