Time is the gift you get. From birth until death, you get a stream of events, perceptions and thoughts. That’s the deal.
There are a few truths it’s worth getting used to:
Everyone gets the same amount of time per day.
Everyone uses up that time at the same rate.
However, everyone’s experience of time is subjective.
A person’s experience of time reflects their inner state.
To offer you an instance of what I mean in practice… Imagine two people performing the same task. Ann and John are both driving the same journey, in different cars. They are both stuck in traffic.
Ann is coming home from a festival. She sits in traffic and listens to the music she bought at the festival, remembering the good time she has just had. When she gets home, she will be straight into family stuff, and so she wants to squeeze every moment out of the experience she has now. She welcomes the traffic jam, because it gives her even more time to absorb the music and maximise the experience.
John’s life, as he experiences it, is completely hectic. He rushes from appointment to appointment (he is a salesman). He is very late for his next appointment, and is boiling up with frustration as he waits in the traffic jam. In fact he is behind Ann, and honks his horn at her. But she can’t seem to hear him (she seems to be listening to music), and so he honks even more, shouting and swearing at the same time.
INSIDE OUR BODIES
Ann and John are having a very different bodily experience.
Ann has a combination of hormones coursing through her which regulate her heartbeat, and widen her sensory tolerance. Her mind is exploring memories and enjoying the present. Her arms and legs are moving gently along with the music, resulting in a rest for her internal time management system, which acquiesces in the music.
John has a different cocktail of hormones streaming through his body. They serve to increase his heart rate, and to narrow his focus, meaning that he gets over-involved in minutiae. His mind is hitting his head against the brick wall of a future he cannot reach. His hands are locked to the steering wheel, and most of his functioning muscles are tensed, adding to the likelihood of the stress headache which awaits him towards the end of the week.
WE CONTROL AND INTERPRET OUR EXPERIENCE
The strange thing is, on the face of it Ann and John are in almost exactly the same physical situation. That their experiences are so different, is down to the combination of external events, and internal interpretation. John is going from one sales appointment to another, and interprets that as an urgent thing. His mind is in urgent-land, and experiences all the aspects of that. Ann, however, is enjoying her last free space for a while, and interprets that as a thing to prolong. Her mind is in enjoyment-and, and experiences all the aspects of that.
You may disagree with me, but I suggest to you that both Ann and John are potentially in control of their own experiences. Even though both have patterns of living which encourage stories in their head, the actual stories each ends up with are a matter of persoExperiencenal acceptance and selection.
WE HAVE A CHOICE
All of us have the same choice.
We can live by auto-suggestion, mindlessly following the stories suggested by our circumstances and the culture that surrounds us. If we do this, we are foregoing mastery over ourselves, and will be a victim of whatever stories are suggested to us. When the world says we should be stressed and urgent, that’s what we will be.
We can define our own experience, mindfully creating stories which enhance our own inner peace. If we do this, we can be masters of our own experience, and will be protected from the fake stories life throws at us. Even if the world suggests we should be stressed and urgent, we will remain peaceful, because we have learned an inner state which gives rise to peaceful situations.
How am I experiencing time right now?
Do I feel rushed or stressed?
What story am I accepting from the world? Is it having its effect on my body, increasing my heart rate, my frustration, and my discomfort?
Can I accept that I have a choice?
What new stories can I live out, which give me peace, and allow my mind and body to relax?
I live along the same time-lines as everyone else. Am I willing to find subjective peace in the time I have right now?