The Illusion of Time
As I was getting the pool ready for pool season this weekend, I was suddenly struck with the feeling that I had just closed the pool down a few days ago for the winter season and suddenly time just flew by. We have all experienced this phenomenon where time seems so flexible and non-linear. Although it seems on the surface as time should be a constant, it is far from being that. When Albert Einstein discovered that space and time where inextricably linked, he changed the way we must view time. By viewing space-time as one construct, Einstein demonstrated that space affects time and time affects space.
While this may sound like a bunch of boring physics stuff, it has significant effects on your reality. The calculations by Einstein demonstrated that as you increase either space or time, you must decrease the other. Therefore, something traveling through space actually experiences a slowing of time relative to the thing that is not moving. An experiment was done in 1971 where a very accurate clock (atomic clock) was put on a jet and flown around the world. It was then compared to an atomic clock that remained on earth, the amazing result was that the clock on the jet was actually slower than the clock on the earth.
Since science has shown that time is only an illusion based on our point in space, it is therefore factual that all moments in the past and all moments in the future could be experienced at this very moment depending on your velocity through space-time. Again, the important point to try and absorb is that your impression of moments in present, past, and future is your own personal experience and not the same as anyone else in the universe. This means that someone else on another planet in some far corner of the universe is experiencing future events right now or experiencing past events right now. It is conceivable that somebody living on a planet out there in the universe is watching the Berlin wall come down or hearing the Beattles for the first time or watching future events of your life happening right now.
While this might seem mind bending or irrelevant to your life, it should at least make you realize that there is much more to your perception of time than you might have previously thought. It is fascinating to think that your life is already visible to somebody else out there in a different part of space-time. What do you think they will see? This does not mean of course that you cannot affect the future but that you can only affect the future as you will see it. While somebody else out there in the universe maybe smiling or laughing at my future self, I know that the future was still created by actions in the present moment as I experienced it.
Layered into the realities of space-time is our own experience of the illusion of time. How often have you noticed time “getting away on you” or felt time “dragging on”. I remember as a kid, the summers seemed to last forever right up until the weekend we had to head back to school and then it seemed to fly by. As an adult it seems that time moves more and more quickly. It seems the more busy you are and the more you have on your mind, the more quickly time goes by. The beautiful thing about our perception of time is we actually know how to change it. By simply practicing mindfulness, our perception of time changes. When we focus on one thing and clear our minds from the endless chatter and thoughts, we slow our perception of time down. It is like waiting for water to boil, it seems to take an eternity but if you turn your back and start multi-tasking, the water boils immediately.
If we assume for a moment that you accept the finality of your time on this earth and you would like to keep the party going a bit longer then you know what to do. Take some time and be mindful. Stop and smell the gardenias. Slow time down by engaging with the present moment. When your kids or grand kids are playing, really watch them. When your pets are playing, observe their movements. Take time and bend it your way.
You have to do something because physics has shown us that the universe is expanding and therefore time is literally shrinking!
It is time to take back time!