Time Is As Relevant As You Want It To Be: Your Perception Of Time
Time feels differently to different people; young, old, dying, happy, sad. You’ve heard the expression that time flies when you are having fun. In the case of a man falling out of a window, he might explain that the most peculiar part is when time seemed to slow down to an impossible rate, like a dream, he kept falling and falling. How can time feel so different?
In many cases, there is a scientific explanation. Do you recall time feeling slow when you were young? Grades K-12 did not feel particularly fast. We even act as though we’ll live forever, less afraid of the consequences of our actions because we’ll have time to learn from our mistakes and make up for them. Surprisingly the dying man and the adolescent have the same explanation for their “bent realities”. The cause of the perception of time moving slower is in large part due to the brain taking in a lot of information. Time feels slow for a child learning new things daily and time feels slow for the man who’s brain employs its self-preservation tools, calmly taking inventory of his surroundings and looking for solutions. Time seems to speed up in between youth and old age because we break from learning and exercising our brains, living in a more auto pilot like state. It’s during these times we blink and years have gone by. Unfortunately, you cannot go back in time. Research shows little evidence to support actual time travel, even those who age less in space than on earth only do so by less than 1 second per week!
Learning is not the only brain exercising responsible for this phenomenon. Creativity, expressing that knowledge is just as vital. Creating is a large contributor to human happiness, productivity, and purpose. Children are constantly creating, if not by their own motivation, they are constantly encouraged to do so in school. Creativity, at any age, boosts confidence, dissipates stress and acts as a bridge to other innovations in our lives. As it relates to bending your perception of time, it is not only important how you spend your time, but when you spend it.
The power of now is the concept that being present, in the now is the only place you can create from. If your mind is preoccupied with the past or the future, or anything not in your immediate surroundings at the moment, you are not “at the wheel”. You are on auto-pilot! In the fast paced world we have created, it’s been harder and harder to stay present and feel time as slowly as its meant to be. If now is the only place you can create from, imagine the advantage you could have if most people are asleep at their wheels. If you want the opportunity to slow time down and get the most out of it, you will have to create the opportunity yourself.
Before waking up at my wheel and recognizing that I’ve been on auto-pilot, frantically living my life trying to keep up with everything around me yet succeeding as little as a hamster in a wheel going nowhere fast, I had an overwhelming sense I was running out of time in the background of my twenty-something existence. It wasn’t until I stopped comparing horses and practiced being in the moment through meditation, that I realized my own power to create and perceive my world, spend my time according to my own parameters and feel it as slowly as I possibly can, technically aging slower and accomplishing more with my time than the auto-piloted person.
The opposite can also be true. A person can choose to speed up their perception of time living unconsciously on purpose, but doing so sabotages much more than I can convey in this article. For instance, before waking up at the wheel I had suffered seasonal affective disorder and attempting to speed winter, slept and drank more than any person should. In Minnesota, where winter can last up to 6 months, I missed out on living half my life until I was 22. I woke up at the wheel and drove to Nevada to live the rest of my life in the desert sun!
Practicing meditation gives you the experience necessary to apply the information you are reading and understanding in this article. Meditation is the practice of “being”, being in the moment. By being in the moment, possibly for the first time, you give yourself the reference point needed to compare how you’ve been living and experiencing time to how you could be living and experiencing time. 15 minutes of meditation will feel much different than your usual 15 minutes of doing anything else; one fast, one slow.
I was literally the white rabbit from Alice In Wonderland (for Halloween once) because I felt time was always escaping me. I kept time as closely as I could and made sure I was always on time (often up to a half hour early). As many perceptions there are about money and wealth, there are about time and I had to do equal work for my psyche to disassemble the notions I had programmed. In a world where we’re made to believe time truly equals money, people’s time is assigned worth as little as minimum wage, buying years is possible through healthcare some can’t afford, and you can buy time in as little increments as minutes to communicate with your loved ones on a cell phone. Time used to be very relevant to me and through spend it consciously, I’ve made it matter less and less until it’s become almost completely irrelevant. Time is as relevant as you make it.