Time has been a bugaboo for me for, well, quite some time. I’m one of those who used to say often, “I don’t have enough time.”
I might have said it yesterday too.
Haven’t you been there? When you’re working so hard but despite your best efforts, enough hours in the day to get everything done just don’t seem to be in the cards?
We’ve all been there.
And whenever I get in that chasing-my-tail mode, and especially then get reminded of Einstein’s theory of space-time, well, I don’t know about you but it often just pisses me off.
Because, of course, you know—Einstein’s theory was that time doesn’t actually exist, and one consequence of that is that the past, present, and future are not absolutes.
All of this trouble, Einstein stirred up a century ago. And just this year, physicists say they’ve proved it.
So now what excuse do I have?
Okay, I agree—it’s really tough, even when we think said physicists know what they’re talking about, to believe there is no structural concept called time, when all the while we watch the hours and days and months and years go by. When we see it in our mirrors (horrors! Or not J ).
But sometimes, don’t you just want to stop time?
Well, you can.
And you don’t even have to be a physicist to do it.
Because what I’ve found (I bet you’ve found it too) is when life seems to be just a chaotic roiling mass, and even the concept of time flitters by like fairy dust, there’s an antidote that works.
To stop. Just stop whatever I’m doing, and breathe.
Easier said than done, especially in the midst of insanity central. I know that’s what you’re thinking, right? I’ve thought it too.
But one thing I know for true, having been given the opportunity to learn this in many forms over the decades, is there is only the present moment. There is only the now. No matter how we choose to think of it, the past and future don’t actually exist.
Unless you’re Einstein and they all exist simultaneously.
But isn’t that saying the same thing?
We think in terms of Eternity being some place or space, somewhere “out there.” And if you’re a follower of the major religions, indeed, some specific area exists where God resides. And if you’re “good enough,” “redeemed enough,” “something” enough, you’ll get to go there too.
I’m not wanting to get into some sort of religious debate, and if you believe that, then good for you!
But honestly, it’s just that I don’t believe in those physical streets of gold. Metaphorically? Absolutely! But that’s a different topic.
And I do believe in the divine, but for me it’s about a universe that is right here, right now. As it is in the next moment. And the next.
The only way, for me at least, to understand and live with the concept of time, is to savor it—savor the moment at hand. Because that’s just where I live.
And whenever I’m able to do that (and it is always my choice whether to or not to do something), time seems to simply slow. I then find myself in the zone of whatever it is I’m doing, whether writing or editing or training dogs.
I find myself in the Zen of it. Like baseball players speak of everything slowing to the point that the object coming at them looks like a basketball barely moving.
And then, at the crux of it, time—at least for the moment—actually stops.
This happens mostly for me when writing fiction, and I always come out of those episodes refreshed, feeling as though I gained back a few hours like a leap year of the mind.
It’s not a news flash that I’m a student of Joseph Campbell, and I love his ideas time and eternity and life:
“Eternity isn’t some later time. Eternity isn’t even a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now that all thinking in temporal terms cuts off…. the experience of eternity right here and now, in all things, whether thought of as good or as evil, is the function of life.”
How do you deal with time?