“The distinction between the past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” – Albert Einstein
In reality, time is not a fixed experience that follows the ticking of the clock. It is a fluid, changeable experience. Our bodies measure time in multiple ways depending upon the biological function in various cells and according to different biological rhythms. Our chronological age can vary dramatically from our biological or psychological age. We can change our experience of time through our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. In today’s meditation, we learn that the more we abide in present-moment awareness, our minds and bodies, our beliefs and behaviors, become attuned to the cycles of Nature. Life flows with the timeless rhythms of the universe.
Welcome to Day 2 – The Biology of Time. Today our focus is how to gain a better understanding of the biology of time. I’m always fascinated by the inner workings of the body. Each one of us has an internal clock that regulates just about every process within our own bio-system. When I think about my own heart quietly pumping away as it has done for the last 63 years bringing life to all other areas of my body. sometimes I think about that, it just makes me want to weep at the miracle of it.
I’ve come to appreciate that my body operates at its own pace, breathing, blinking, seeing, and listening all through nature’s course. All I have to do is stay attuned to it and will experience that wonderful state of flow where everything within me is aligned. I realize that my body, just like yours, operates with precision. It knows that I function best on at least 5-1/2 hours of sleep. Anything less than that and I notice a lack of focus, listlessness, a waning energy, along with less sharper thinking. I don’t use an alarm clock…yet. In perfect rhythm I wake up naturally in between 7:16 and 7:23 every morning.
Most work days are filled with projects I’ve committed to, replying to emails and travel and attending meetings. The pace can sometimes be hectic but, no matter what, everything for me begins and ends with stillness. I describe it as a conscious awareness of my presence within the greater presence of all…everything there is.
Whether I’m paying attention to the way the sun is rising or how the mist is rolling in over the trees, I pay attention. In that moment there’s no 3 o’clock meeting to think about or 6 P.M. dinner to plan and I don’t think about the inevitable daily challenges that arise. I really have mastered staying in the moment. I simply trust that when the time comes my whole self will be fully connected to the moment and rise to meet each task just as it did when I first opened my eyes.
Now let’s listen to Deepak and then we’ll meditate.
It seems for me as well that just a few moments after opening my eyes in the morning the list of “to do’s” starts to take over my brain. Before the fog lifts and totally fills my head, I stop to enjoy the moment, to be grateful, and to turn my will and life and “to do” list over to the care of God as I Understand Him. In other words, I let my God drive while I enjoy the ride in the passenger seat knowing that all my cares, worries, and “to do’s” will be taken care of just the way they’re supposed to.
If I try to control and perfect my to-do list myself I become pretty overwhelmed pretty quickly. My head takes over; my heart gets turned off. Old behavior comes into play. I forget to stay in conscious contact with my Higher Power. I forget to be humble and grateful. So I turn it all over and everything that needs to get done today gets done, usually in a way more successful way than I could have ever done myself. Pretty sweet!
Looking at carefree children playing we may say wistfully, “They’re having such a good time. I wish it could last forever”. But children lost in play have stepped out of time; their experience has nothing to do with clocks, deadlines, or anything of the sort. This is an important clue about how to approach the reality of time which is a fluid and malleable experience.
We assume time is like an arrow moving in a straight line from past to present to future and measured by a ticking clock. But time is actually measured by your cells. It’s a biological function in the body. The body has dozens of clocks that control long periods of time like when baby teeth appear, or puberty or menopause. There are medium-term clocks for things like sleep and digestion along with short-term clocks like the rhythm of your breathing and heartbeat.
Our biological age is not necessarily tied to our chronological age. The body of a stressed-out, unhappy 30 year-old may function like a 50-year old’s body. How we interpret our experience affects our biology. Chemical changes in the brain determine whether time is racing or slowing down. Moments frozen in time are human perceptions. Even the experience that time vanishes when we go to sleep is an experience based in biology.
So looking at time from the inside isn’t simply psychological. It’s the right perspective for changing anything you want. Einstein had a profound thought about this when he said, “The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.
Go past the illusion and you realize two amazing things. First, you are the master of time because your beliefs, attitudes and lifestyle choices alter all the effects of time. Second, if past, present and future are illusions, you are timeless. This may seem beyond our experience but in our meditation practice we discover that our present awareness is already timeless. Ever-present awareness is who and what we always are. That state of peace and calm allows us to navigate the world of clocks and deadlines without being overwhelmed by it.
Weird to think about when I was active in my alcoholism, the “good” Dee was still in there waiting to come out. Now that I am in recovery I must remember that the “bad (alcoholic) Dee is still in there waiting to come out. Being active in alcoholism and being active in my recovery definitely alters my beliefs, attitudes and lifestyle choices during that time. The “getting out of self and feelings” that occurs while active in my disease might seems comforting for the moment, but the fact that “more, more, more” comes into my brain when the first drink enters my body is so not comforting. It’s slavery. It’s negative. It’s sick!
Staying in the present moment of recovery always gets me back into gratitude and humility. I am so grateful that today I do not HAVE to take a drink. I have a choice today. My choice is to pass for right now so that I can avoid the “more, more, more”. I can experience the state of peace and calm so as not to be overwhelmed by clocks and deadlines. Peace, calm, gratitude, recovery for me all comes with and from a solid relationship with a Power Greater Than Myself.
Mastery of time is a mind-body project because both are involved in how we experience and process time. Pay attention to your natural biorhythms, especially sleep. Sleep resets biorhythms that have become distorted during the day. Time becomes your friend when you attune yourself to the flow of life as your body is meant to experience it.
While actively drinking my mind and body were enslaved to alcohol. Life got in the way of my drinking. I never slept; I just passed out and came to. Good REM? I think not. I am now fortunate to sleep most nights without an alarm clock waking me in the morning. Just my body and mind excitedly saying, “Sweet!!! We’re ready to take on the day!!!” I once again feel friends with not only time, but life itself, and, more importantly, I’m friends with ME!
As we prepare to meditate together let’s take a moment to consider our centering thought, “I attune myself to the flow of life. I attune myself to the flow of life”. Now let’s prepare for our meditation. Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes. Begin to be aware of your breath and just breathe slowly and deeply. With each breath allow yourself to become more deeply relaxed.
Now gently introduce the mantra, “Shara Vana Ya. Shara Vana Ya”. This mantra attunes our mind and body to the cycles of nature. As you repeat the mantra feel your mind and body absorb the beneficial influence of the universe. Repeat it silently to yourself, “Shara Vana Ya. Shara Vana Ya. Shara Vana Ya”.
With each repetition feel your body, mind and spirit open into an expanded state of awareness. Whenever you find yourself distracted by thoughts, noises or physical sensations in the body, bring your attention back to silently repeating the mantra, “Shara Vana Ya. Shara Vana Ya. Shara Vana Ya”.
I attune myself to the flow of life.
Shara Vana Ya
My awareness is aligned with the creative power of the universe.
My awareness is aligned with the creative power of the universe, my Higher Power, my God of My Own Understanding. Life is sweet. I wouldn’t go back one day, one minute, one second. I finally feel a contentment with myself and my life that took 62 years to achieve. Today I have many good years to give back, to live with purpose. When I was 20 I had nothing and felt like a waste of space on the planet. Nope. Wouldn’t go back one second.
Aloha, and have an awesome day loving yourself…Dee
For those interested in Art with a Message of Inspiration, Recovery and Hope, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com. For those interested in signing up for my email updates with new products, the story behind the art and me, the artist, and special deals, please sign up for my email updates at https://mailchi.mp/f96bf32af105/welcome.
From Deepak and Oprah’s 21-Day Meditation Series, “Making Every Moment Matter”, a Chopra Center Meditation.