The Relativity of Time has been pondered over by philosophers, poets, sages, scientists as well as casual thinkers like myself. Observing nature and its patterns set the ground for counting of the passing moments. When I stop to reflect upon the pure bliss I feel in a beautiful place, I often lose track of the past, and future does not bother my always ticking mind. Logically, we think that we got hours, weeks, years, all ages sorted out. Yet, time is the mind’s invention, therefore chronos (time in Greek) is vulnerable to subjective perception and errors.
Our attention plays with time, and so does the mind. My poem that follows, I hope, captures, an experience you may recognise.
The Relativity of Time
In a just world
Only the proof is what counts in your claim
Hope is a wishful assumption, while
doubt can erase even your own breath —
Doesn’t belief render anything into truth?
Building sandcastles from memories
Where lands lost their borders
In tales long blown away by history’s winds
The mind always wanders
Where, tell me, does it haste?
A full awareness of colors, patterns —
The rainbow of presence expands time
So, what for do we measure time
When experience is relative to one’s inner lens?
Joy in randomness is that of letting go
No plans, no judgement, zero expectations — carte blanche!
Free from fear; any outcome is accepted for what it is
As in meditation —
Being here and now eases reality into a smooth loop of presence.
What I want to convey in The Relativity of Time is that beliefs, emotions ( joy, anxiety, anger, … ), the state of mind, memories, prejudice and more can distort our perception of time. By being aware of the faulty possibilities, and journeying into self-discovery, we can forget the passing of time and instead be fulfilled where we are, in the only time that matters, and that is NOW. Goals neglect the present experience, since they are too focused on the outcomes that may or do not happen. Future matters from the survival standpoint. Yet, our instincts battle each other, unless we allow them to relax, to be at peace. Allow more yin into your yang force. What is life for when we live in our past and think about future, instead of fully existing in the present?
Words do not have to kill the presence. Flowing from the no-mind state, these words, untinted by the ego, colorless perception not painted with emotions, connect more purely with reality. Genuine creativity is a clean expression of our unique humanity. From that regard, creativity in fiction can be as meaningful as non-fiction literature, for truth is evasive in either.
The mind and time
Most of our history are just edited memories of those who dedicated their time to writing them down. The fallibility of human memory renders most rumination on long-past events pointless, wrote Oliver Sachs, in his globally appraised book The River of Consciousness. We each knit our reality from the facts available to our mind at each specific, yet passing moment.
The Relativity of Time allows us to understand that truth uniquely exists only in the subjective — your own truth can differ from my truth. Therefore, the only way to discover the ultimate truth is, as Osho said, “a doubt”. You arrive at your authentic truth only through experience. Applying his own technique of not believing, the 20. century maverick challenges the dogma, claiming: “Not time that passes, it is we who come and pass.” Well, one can see it from the other side, that is fair. We age and so do animals, food and wine, perhaps all transform independently of time, but our invention of time made them dependent on it. Does this still make sense?
Cultural perceptions of time
Further, different cultures perceive passing time distinctively. The Japanese view ageing as gracious. So do the indigenous tribes elsewhere, where wisdom acquired only through one’s lifelong experience is respected. The Chinese tend to focus on the future — from horoscopes, lucky charms, traditions, superstition, to ghostly afterlife tales — so working hard towards one’s retirement is the most honorable. The consumer society strives to reverse aging through miraculous detox cures, magic creams, medical treatments and injections of toxins into our bodies − we chase the eternal youth. The Silicon Valley tech-culture is even more obsessed with the prolongation of one’s lifespan. Instead of making the most of now, human ego strives for more, neglecting The Relativity of Time and therefore how pointless such effort is.
Robert Frost, the American Poet laureate got closer to the truth: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” Technology reminds us of passing minutes and days with each glimpse on our mobile devices. Perhaps more frequently we need to dash them down and set free the roaming mind in a timeless joy.