It’s interesting and curious that time is such a large part of our lives and yet we know so little about it. How would you describe time? We could say that time is the interval between two events, but that doesn’t really do justice to the question.
Einstein believed that time was relative. He said that a minute sitting on a hot stove feels like an hour, but an hour with a pretty girl seems like a minute. Einstein’s remark implies that one’s perception of time is relative to one’s conditions and one’s state of mind: if you are pleasantly occupied, time passes quickly, whereas if you are in a bad situation, time seems to drag. This seems to be borne out by peoples experience.
There seem to be many different kinds of time. I will discuss a few of them here and then talk a little about time distortions.
Let’s start with time in relation to work. Most people would rather be busy at work because when they are busy, time seems to pass faster. That’s pretty logical. People generally get bored when they have nothing to do.
On the other hand, people on vacation in a remote location generally experience a much slower pace of life. While on vacation, they go back to being temporally regulated by natural phenomena such as the rising and setting of the sun. Since the point of being on vacation is to escape from their ordinary lives, they leave behind most of the things that they had been regulating their internal time clocks to, and adapt to a different kind of schedule.
If their experience is strong enough, they’ll not only remember their vacations but in a strange way revere them. They will become exalted memories, cherished with photos and videos and other memorabilia (like souvenirs). They will talk about them for years to come. In this way, their memories of their vacations will stand “outside of time.”
When their vacation ends, these people are then jolted into a different kind of time, starting with the moment they get to the airport. They go back to “the real world”, “the rat race” and their normal routine, the work commute and so on. When they “get back to reality”, they enter a different world with a different set of temporal rhythms, which they must once again adapt to and embrace in order to compete effectively and survive.
Nowadays, I think most of our lives are governed by more of a “digital tempo”. With our prevalent electronic lifestyles, and having the internet available 24 hours a day, we have become more and more disconnected from the natural sequence of events that played such a large role in our lives prior to the invention of the electric light. I believe this has distorted our sense of time.
I call this “internet time”. Events in the internet time might be the time of a download, or the speed at which a web page loads. When it was first invented, the internet was so new and novel that people were thrilled to see web pages load at all. It was a form of magic. Nobody had ever seen anything like it. Then things like java were invented and web pages became even better. You could listen to music or watch videos on the internet as well. As time went by the best web designers and programmers found new ways to enhance peoples internet experiences.
Then people began to want faster modem speeds and would not tolerate long download times. This became a concern for website owners. If people didn’t want to wait for a web page to load, they would just click somewhere else. This led to significant demand for high speed internet connections. In the last few years the major commercial internet providers (phone companies mainly) have made a real push to get high speed internet access available everywhere.
The other technological development that has altered our use of the internet and increased its reach into our lives is the plethora of portable wireless devices which can stream internet content: phones, laptops, and tablets for the most part.
It’s interesting that relatively recent inventions such as the internet and wireless devices have affected peoples sense of time. So many people have adopted and use the internet that internet time has become a regulating force in many peoples lives. This is actually a very powerful thing to have happen.
I would contrast this with another kind of time that I will call “cosmic time.” This is not anything like “internet time.” On the contrary, cosmic time is on a much, much grander time scale than internet time, which is measured in milliseconds, and is based on things like computer CPU clock speeds, cable modem speeds and network bandwidth.
Cosmic time is what one would experience if they were able to slow down their minds completely and enter a deep state of meditation, which is something that seems hard to do nowadays. I think all great yogis and meditators have been able to access this kind of time. I think that by accessing cosmic time that it changes them somehow and deepens their experience.
I once studied for a year with a group of Buddhist students. At the end of the course, we had a meeting with our instructors. As I looked into my meditation instructors eyes, what I saw was very disconcerting.
When you look into most peoples eyes you know there is a person there. However, with this woman that was not the case. I felt like I was looking into infinity. It completely stunned me. She had the same look in her eyes that you would see in a statue of the Buddha. Cosmic time? Yes, of course.
One of Foretell’s psychics has commented on the distortion of time in her experience. Of course there is “normal time”, but then there are “time warps” (her words) where time is either extremely compressed or expanded. In compressed time, and incredible amount of things can happen, even things that are beyond what you would normally expect. And conversely, when time is expanded, time almost seems to stop. In that state you tend to lose all sense of time. And we have everything in between.
Time can also be distorted locally. I took a trip last year into the mountains to visit a friend in a town that I hadn’t been to in a long time. The time there seemed severely distorted. It was as if the clock had stopped millions of years ago. I did affirmations and prayers for the whole area so that it could be brought back into balance with the rest of the world. While this is highly unusual, it just goes to show that anything can happen.
We have been conditioned by our everyday experiences to experience time in certain limited ways, but I think there is much more to it than that. With all the changes the Earth is going through, it is natural to wonder if time is not changing as well.
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