The Enigma of Time

Timely questions

The Enigma of Time

In this busy whirl of life as we know it, have you ever stopped long enough to consider time? Have you taken the time to do it? Or is it a waste of time considering it? What  is time actually? Like the world we live in, time has opposites, dualities. We can have too much time on our hands, or not enough time. We can have a happy time doing enjoyable things, or a sad time if things don’t go as planned. We can use our time constructively or, as stated above, waste time. Times can be good when we are financially secure, or business is going well, or they can be bad when we find ourselves in debt, homeless or starving. There is a time to get up, a time to go to bed – and a time for almost every activity of the day. Time can fly or it can drag. But what is it, this time? And why is it so important? Why are we so caught up in it, so afraid of running out of it? Have you stopped to consider that?

“What’s the time?” we constantly ask, peering at our watches and clocks, our phones and computer screens. Will we have enough time to do what we want to do? Will we run out of time? There is a right time to do those things, when everything goes well, but if mishaps befall us it was obviously the wrong time. It’s there every day, this time, 24/7, from sunrise to sunset and all through the night.

Consider how often we refer to time in everyday language? Why are we so dependent on it? Could we not exist without it? Have you ever wondered what might happen if we did run out of time, or if time didn’t exist? Silly, you might say, we can’t do without time. How would we organise ourselves, how would we stay on time? But what is time? Have you ever seen it? Smelt it, touched it, heard it? We can perceive the passing of time, the progression of time, but time itself is not palpable. Isn’t it rather like the wind? We can’t see the wind either, but we can perceive it’s effects, the movement it brings about. But unlike time, the wind periodically stops, ceases to blow, and then all movement is at rest, at peace.

In another sense, maybe we can liken time to our experience of God. We hear about God, about this divine force. We read about it, listen to people talk about it. But we can’t see it, touch it, smell it. We understand though, at least some people do, that a divine force exists everywhere, is what keeps our planet alive, keeps everything in a cycle of movement, activity. If that movement ceases we stagnate, everything around us stagnates, crystallises, eventually ceases to exist. Or does it? Doesn’t that cessation of movement give another opportunity to perceive what might really be there? Just as peace descends when the wind stops blowing.

When we dare to stop rushing about, keeping up with time, perhaps we can discover something else. Something around us but also within us. When we let go of time we are brought into the present, into the moment. There is no time like the present, we might remember hearing. If we live in the present, in the here and now, there is no time. No future, no past, no random thoughts or worries. Simply put, it’s a timeless experience. Not only is there no time “like” the present, but there is no time IN the present.

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Date: March 4, 2022
Author: Pam Wattie (Australia)
Photo: Marion Pellikaan / Jos Vallen

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