Time is a Perspective

Time is a Perspective

Photo by ToniVC

I’ve spoken before about how the experience of time is an effect of the process of experience. This is the most abstract part of the dynamics of self-aware consciousness and perhaps the least obvious. In any experience we can see there is a subject and an object and we can recognize sensing the object but the process of experience behind sensing is more subtle.

Yet when we change the experiencer’s relationship with experiencing, our experience of time changes. The most obvious example is how time seems to slow down when we’re bored and have to wait. Or, how time seems to fly when we’re having fun.

This is partly due to our metabolic rate. When it’s revved, passing time seems to slow and we notice more details. When it’s slow, time speeds up. Our metabolism slows as we age, so our perception of passing time speeds up. For a child, a week is eternity. For a senior, the years seem to click on by.

But there are also major shifts that can take place when we shift our relationship with who we are. This naturally also changes our relationship with experiencing and thus time.

Here are some ways I’ve seen this:

1) The Now – with a quiet mind, past memories and future thoughts fall away leaving only the present moment.

2) All Now – here we experience all past and future in the present now. All time collapses to a point. We may even have the experience of all past lives being simultaneous. We might call this the cosmic now.

3,4) Dimension – time is like a spatial dimension where we can move up and down the “line.” This can be a personal time-line or the time of creation overall. In either case, there isn’t really a past and future, just a focus of attention in a progression. All experience is present like a book we can browse.

5,6) Eternity – infinite time. We may experience this in an eternal Now moment or expanded out as infinite time.

7) Timelessness – beyond time, no value of time.

8) Flower – time is like a literal flower, each souls time-line like a vein in a petal. This is a blend of 3&4 with personal and all combined in a lotus flower.

wharf dream
Photo by Zerone Eric Ouano

I’m sure there are other ways of knowing time. I came to understand it much more clearly in another simple creation where time was dominant. Life there is an experience of blissful dissolution.

On a cosmic level, the entirety of our creation, including many universes, is just a brief thought in Divine mind. It happens in an instant and yet never happened in the first place. It was just a brief Divine musing that consciousness experienced as “happening.”

But there isn’t a lot you can draw out of a moment. By zooming in to the moment, it can flower out into a flow*. Buckminster Fuller coined the term “special case” to describe how we’re designed to experience one thing at a time. Thus we experience the flow as an incremental series of experiences.

Contrast this with some beings who are omnipresent and built to experience many points simultaneously. Humans can have global experiences inclusive of many points at once, even a cognition, but these are still one at a time. Thus we have a series of moments of experience. We recognize this as a progression which leads to a sense of unfolding and time, much as a movie projector displays a sequence of images we see as a movie.

Because the space of creation is nested, the experience of time is also nested. This way, time can vary from person to person, being to being. We may experience time as an illusion but it’s better to understand it as a perspective of unfolding experience.

*In the Indian philosophy of Vaisheshika (qualities), time arises after direction.

Last Updated on December 4, 2019 by Davidya

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  1. Useful, thanks:) Here the dominant perspective keeps shifting between several of those in accordance with stages of cycles of repeating experiences in my environment. This seems to be related to a broader disentangling of several point perspectives which are evolving together with mine. The no time perspective comes online when attention is relaxed from experience. Often though, the physiology is engaged in much healing in the environment, wchich almost covers this up, when the leftover ego begins to vibrate with its own version of whatever is being processed:)

    1. Hi Tomek
      Right. I’ve not associated the different perspectives with different stages as it’s not that cut and dried. We shift through them as we shift perspective. And that can happen as we go from buying groceries, to a spiritual practice, to an insight, etc.

      But yes, as we disentangle constraints, we can then have experiences of different perspectives. And those will continue to shift.

      We can also have multiple perspectives in awareness, like acting in the world while having a sense of eternity while also noticing how time is unfolding, for example. The attention can move from one to another while all are present.

      This isn’t something we need to culture. It will simply arise as the constrains fall away and our perspective shifts.

  2. Jim

    What a fascinating subject! Thank You. Yes, time and space and light are the vanguards of experience, desire, memory, and dreams.

    Time dwells in a continuum, from infinite silence to the meticulous measurements of science. Time, even in its infinite sense, is a reminder of our current incarnation, the tasks at hand, and our long term goals for this life and this precious world.

    Without time, there is no ability to have memory, and without memory we are quite lost. Even the awareness of Infinity is gifted to us through the Grace of Mother Divine, and we remain Her servants.

    As awareness expands and deepens, time and space both shrink. This is not simply subjective experience, it is also in terms of practical activity. By shrinking, I mean their manifestation does not impede the fulfillment of desires, only assists them. The waiting for time, and the distance of space are minimized, and no longer remain obstacles.

    I experience time as a wonderful convenience, giving me the ability, the time, to deepen my relationship with Mother, and also measure the relative progress of life. Great for knowing when to remove the hotdogs from the microwave, and also gauge longer term goals, more abstract measures like growing happiness, social integration, and peace and success for the world. 🙂

    1. Hi Jim
      Yes, I realized I’d mentioned the variations but not listed them.

      “Vanguards of experience” – nice wording.

      In some ways experience is memory, Self remembering itself.

      Agreed – as we become the container, time and space shrink and become sub-sets. They cease being boundaries.

      Thanks for sharing.

  3. Jim

    Thanks David –

    “In some ways experience is memory, Self remembering itself.”

    Yep, one of those, “Is it a comma, or semicolon, after ‘experience’, followed by, ‘desire, memory, and dreams’?” 🙂

    If we decide semicolon, then we are into subsets, inviting deeper scrutiny…I ultimately decided the context spoke for the nested nature of my variants on experience, so I left it a comma. 🙂

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