Just in case you were not aware of this fact — time is an illusion.
One of the greatest scientific minds ever, Albert Einstein, explained it thus:
“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”
Your perception of time is completely and totally relevant to your personal frame of reference. Sure, you can look at a clock and see the seconds tick by…but how you perceive that and what it feels like to you will be unique to you and only you.
This is why something that brings you joy seems to fly by seemingly all-too-fast, while on the other side of the same coin something that you would rather not be doing crawls by so, so slowly.
How you perceive time can vary pretty wildly. For example, whenever I travel north on the New Jersey Turnpike, the distance from Exit 4 to Exit 5 seems to take a long time to travel. But traveling south on the Turnpike, the distance from Exit 5 to Exit 4 seems to go much faster. Maybe it’s because southbound is equal to heading home?
My wife, however, perceives this the other way — the distance from 4 to 5 is shorter than 5 to 4. I discussed the idea of creating an experiment to see if it was possible to limit the variables to determine if one direction is faster than the other. This, however, is more time and energy than I care to put into this show, so that idea has been tossed out.
Still, time clearly is relative, and individual perception of it will change it. Like reality, time is based entirely on what is inside YOUR head.
Linear time versus cyclical time
Let’s just place another fact here. The human race has created linear time. For real, this whole notion of time moving along a specific line is a human concept.
How can I say that? Because the rest of the animal kingdom generally works on cyclical time.
Time for the rest of the animals on this planet tends to be sunrise to sunset. They cycle from light to dark, and as time cycles it determines when they hunt or forage, mate, sleep, and so on. The cycle of waking and sleeping has few variables to it, compared to humans.
Humans do more than survive and live to find food, shelter, and propagate the species. The human race has the ability for more abstract thinking, and along the way tends to perceive time as linear. This is because we are uniquely capable of remembering the past and considering the future.
Primitive humans also saw time in a more cyclical nature. There is a lot of scientific evidence that their lives were dictated by cycles such as sunrise and sunset, as well as the phases of the moon.
Thus, the human race worked on a more cyclical perception of time before we become as sedentary as we are, overall, today.
Despite our tendency to put matters into linear time, time as humans perceive it still tends to the cyclical. Why? Because every day may be new, but there are elements that will always repeat. The sun rises and sets, the moon goes through its phases, and the seasons change. Even with variables within these, they still happen with certain regularity and some predictability.
You perceive time in your own way
Because perception of time, like perception of reality, is relative to you individually, your understanding will be different from mine.
The philosopher Lao Tzu addressed an aspect of this thusly:
“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.”
Because your perception of time is entirely yours, if you do not feel you have enough, you’re probably right. This is because consciousness creates reality. As such, however much time you feel you have or do not have is how you perceive it. Nobody else besides you is in your head and capable of seeing and recognizing this.
Still, even within the confines of linear time, life tends to work cyclically. Waking and sleeping, for example, automatically puts you into a cycle.
Humans also tend to recycle history. Some people think that if a thing happened once it will never happen again, because of the linear progression of time. Yet I think it’s pretty clear that this is bullshit. Lots of things that have happened before you can see happening again, and there are numerous examples across time of this.
I know I have made a mistake again that I made before, and totally thought, didn’t I learn my lesson from the last time? Less a movement from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’ along a line, more of a circular motion.
I am convinced that life tends to be more cyclical than linear. But however you perceive time, it is unique to you alone. Perhaps being more aware of this can open each of us up to further awareness about how we differ in our perception of reality, and that it’s perfectly ok.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter, and you have as much or as little time as you believe that you do.