“The timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness.” —Kahlil Gibran
It’s autumn. You might be asking, Where did the summer go? Did summer fly by or did it seem endless? Lately I’ve been fascinated by our perception of time. Albert Einstein said that time is an illusion. What’s really happening when time seems to be slowing down or speeding up? According to psychologist Steve Taylor, time slows down during times of intensity or discovery, as we take in information through exposure to new environments and experiences. Time seems to speed up as our lives become more routine, as in adulthood, and we experience fewer unfamiliar moments. Could it be that time is not what we think?
Spoiler Alert: In the movie “Arrival,” the perception of time is non-linear to the aliens who hover over the earth. Although this concept boggles the mind, if nothing else we can probably all agree that time is malleable. Here are a few ways the concept of time shifts in my experience and ways that I play with time:
Sitting on the front porch watching the sunrise or clouds over the mountains seems to slow down time on many mornings. I walk outside wondering about the temperature, the wind, the clouds, the animals—all unknowns until the door swings wide open. Looking, listening, smelling, feeling the air and the sun, there is full engagement in the moment through the senses. Each moment feels richer and longer.
Years ago I participated in a meditation to look at a flower and to see it as if for the first time. Ten minutes of simple, curious observation moved me to tears beyond comprehension. I was so absorbed it was like time stood still. During our “deep” meditations, my perception of time often changed and the experiences following had more vividness. It is those experiences where the most of what we would call “ordinary” took on an extraordinary hue. Colors seemed brighter, images and sounds seemed clearer, sometimes objects and people melted into one permeable fabric and everything was absolutely fascinating.
Moving back in time can be healing. According to meditation teacher Sharon Landrith, difficult life experiences and wounding are viewed as “crystallized images held in time and space.” She suggests that when we go back to the crystallized image and envelop our self and the trauma with love from spacious I AM presence, it can loosen or unlock the image. At times when I work with clients, I tenderly take people through a process toward self-forgiveness. A small part of this process includes going back in time and imagining your wise, loving higher self, embracing your younger self with understanding and compassion. Here begins the journey of true healing.
Why not jump into what we perceive as the future? Can you feel a heartfelt desire? Allow the mind to conjure up fantastic images. Let emotions come to the surface. Allow your body to feel the sensation of that desire being manifested. As we use our imagination and bring the full dimension of our humanity into the practice, we embrace the possibility of the experience and activate the gross body through subtle energetic systems. We align these levels into the wholeness of our being. This is powerful practice of the iRest Yoga Nidra meditations I teach.
Focusing on the present moment turns out to be a very stabilizing force. After a traumatic event, coming back to the present moment by touching a body part and naming it out loud is grounding and stabilizing; very quickly bringing one back to the core of what is. Practicing yoga and other body-awareness techniques guides one into Presence.
When I find myself getting anxious about not having enough time I change the language and assert that, I have all the time I need. This little mind-trick can usually calm any fear-based time assertions. What would it be like if you said to yourself, “I have all the time in the world.” What if you lived in a state wonder, innocence, curiousness, playfulness, and exploration each day? We have that capacity. As you explore time, maybe you’ll find that time is on your side.
Please feel free to reach out, I’m available to guide you into experiences of wonder and healing, imagining your future through expansive practices. I look forward to hearing from you!