Living in the contemporary world means to exist at the forefront of time, although this is evident, it’s genuinely difficult to fathom how long the sequence of events has been from the universe’s ignition to this particular instant. As soon as a moment is acknowledged it ceases and those following occupy the present, an uninterrupted chain of events attaching novelty to history. Preceding events cannot be influenced but can be recollected as memories, the mental chest of the past becoming our gauge of time. Time is interpreted as it affects individuals, while our chest collets more material we come to see how time doesn’t always provide an equivalent feeling.
Instead of consistently observing life under the aspect of personal experience, we should follow Spinoza’s notion of Sub Specie Aeternitatis (under the aspect of eternity) and develop awareness of the perennial elements of the universe, and how our transient existence can flow with them.
Just because humans have been able to quantify time doesn’t mean it’s perceived analogously or even that we explicitly know what it is, rather than being fixed it appears it alters according to mental stimulation.
Time is measured at the baseline reality where 60 seconds equal a minute and 60 minutes an hour, however, has there not been occasions where it seems like this prescribed frame has elongated or exhilarated? When your bladder’s about to burst and you’re still 5 minutes from home do those 5 minutes seem to linger? Does the age old aphorism “Time flies when you’re having fun” actually hold legitimacy?
The fixed variables for measuring time have been created by humans, yet, they don’t take into consideration the mind’s mechanism for experiencing moments. As conscious beings we are able to intellectually interact with our surroundings, therefore individual appreciation of events will vary according to how engaged one is with their environment.
An element adding complexity to our appreciation is memory, an amalgam of hazy images relaying portions of what’s been formerly witnessed. Peering into the chest of previous moments people often forget the mirage of memory, the past not seen as it occurred but as the consciousness has reconstructed it. We use the present moment to recollect the past, projected sequences making it even more difficult to consider the length of time between the past and present.
Time may operate on it’s own spectrum and facilitate life’s continuation, albeit, it’s the mind’s interpretation of time which provides us with anecdotal experience.
Absorbed In Experience
Throughout life we are continuously provided novel opportunities to engage with and develop a larger database of relative circumstances, but when people are deeply imbedded in routine new encounters are rare stretching the immediate experience of time. Without a regular dose of displacement individuals fall prey to rigidity, days lagging on whilst the years waste away. This progressive degeneration of spirit occurs not because time is deceitful, rather due to inadequate awareness of occurring life.
In contemporary society there’s an abundance of technology aimed to steal attention, as a result one’s consideration to the elements facilitating life has decreased in favour of instantaneous stimuli.
When an intention is set to acquire something out of a situation the ability to fully enjoy it is inhibited; when part of the mind is focused on personal desires you are unable to be completely present in the moment. By being absorbed into an experience people can create cognizance of time’s malleable sensation, in particularly when one is in the state of flow.
Flow state is conceptual equilibrium where an individual is wholly immersed in a collection of actions, concentration honing in on an activity and blocking out the external world. During these periods the conscious mind is clear, with impulse and intuition guiding the body we are provided the optimal psychological state for creation.
Meditation also helps increase the awareness of time, familiarization through training improving our relationship with it. Commencing the path of practice, people consistently misinterpret time and feel like they have been sitting for half an hour when really it’s only been 10 minutes; conversely, once one has refined their methods of practice a half an hour sitting can feel like 5 minutes.
The most lucid example highlighting the plastic nature of time is psychedelics; whilst the world pulsates with animation, time is an inscrutable element and doesn’t conform to its prescription at baseline reality. The world of psychedelics offers a peephole into the complex nature of reality, and how the components within are not as fixed but in constant flux.
Existing in this world means to know the basic concept of time and to be at the whims of its perpetuation. Although many think they understand time, it’s hard to be comprehensive when its perception is altered according to the interaction it has with consciousness. To properly conceptualize the dimension there needs to be increased awareness of its flexibility, finding ourselves in states questioning the baseline view of time (flow, meditation, psychedelics) allows subjective observation of it’s shifting status.
As one develops a grasp on time there’s an extra incentive to not waste it; the aspect may provide a platform for life to exist, but there is a major difference between merely existing and engrossing oneself in the art of living.
Image Source: The Persistence of Memory, Salvador Dali.