Even if we try to escape the pressure that we perceive from time-related elements like deadlines by listening to some mellow music, we haven’t escaped the effect of time. It seems like everything we do or know of relates to time. Like music, the interval of silence between notes or time signature.
Time is especially front and center today, New Year’s Eve. It’s about the countdown to midnight and breaking out the new calendars. We go over our accomplishments of the past year and what plans went awry. We think about the people who have been born into the world this year, and those, whose time expired.
If we think about our own relationship to time, we get mixed messages. Children can hardly wait to grow up. Many grownups wish they could be young again. It seems to take forever to arrive at a place or situation we crave, yet things we dread can seem to take either longer or less time than we wish. I’m finding out that as a person ages, the calendars outdate more quickly.
There are those instances at the gym while I’m on the treadmill that time just drags and stretches, yet other days, a treadmill routine goes very quickly during the same amount of elapsed time.
Have you ever had the experience of glancing at an analogue clock or wristwatch and the second hand seems to stop or take longer to advance to the next second? Researchers have discovered that this happens because our time perception actually stretches slightly in reverse. Our brains think we’ve been looking at the timepiece longer than we actually have.
You don’t have to travel in Einstein’s theoretical, faster than light spacecraft to alter time. You can sit in formal meditation. Many meditators report that time seems to stretch out because of the practice of paying attention to the moment. This phenomenon, conversely, makes it easier for our minds to wander into monkey mind states when time just flies by.
When you’re with your lover, time seems to evaporate, but when it’s time for him to leave, it seems like he just arrived. A similar thing happens to people who use psychedelic drugs or otherwise enter altered states of consciousness.
We are bent on achieving, becoming, gaining so we have the fear of losing and dying. We are made aware of a mental gap that feels so spiritual and uplifting. It happens for just a short while. We desire to recapture that feeling. Some people have tried to market the gap through books and seminars. Some have founded cults and religions based on the same motivation.
That gap is the real self. The “Zen” moment that happens when one is fully engaged in an athletic peak event, fully involved in a craft, lovemaking, or living with abandon.
True self-knowledge includes time. This perception of time can be used as a measuring stick to improve or achieve. But it won’t free the mind of the burden of living. The experience is in the present time. This present time gives us the freedom to choose. There is a certain clarity of the nothingness of reality that you can sense when the perception of time vanishes.
Have you felt this?
The Blue Jay of Happiness wishes you many moments of clarity as you engage on your journey in 2014.