Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more. – Mother Teresa
Do you ever feel like time is passing you faster and faster with every day that goes by? When you were a child time passed so slowly, each year was another eternity of waiting. Waiting for the holidays, waiting for your birthday. Now as an adult you’re wondering how you got from twenty-one to here. Weeks turn to months and months turn to years and before you know it, you’ve already celebrated another turn around the sun. My father once told me that as you grow older time speeds up. At a young age, this did not make sense to me and as the years went on I often pondered how this might be possible.
Why does time seem to speed up the older and busier you are? This mainly happens because we do not pay that much attention to it; time does not speed up but our perception of time changes. We journal and categorise our life with distinct moments, new experiences and things we have learnt. Each of these creates a snap-shot that we can look back upon, the more pictures we have the more time seems to slow down. Our brains are naturally lazy, they are built to conserve energy and so prefer to be on autopilot as much as they possibly can. This creates the illusion and experience of time speeding up. The more mentally engaged we are with our experiences the longer these experiences seem to last. If we do not pay attention to the things we are doing we tend to notice less. Trying to avoid an autopilot mode could be the best way to stop time from flying past us.
Slowing Down Time
Science has shown that focusing attention on the here and now can help our brains to store more information thereby altering our perception of how fast time is passing. Being spontaneous as much as you can, meeting new people and going to new places. These all create new snapshots that can be journaled in and recalled. This will slow down your perception of experiences and enrich your life at the same time. To reinforce memories, recall the details of the day, share these details with others, take photographs, or just use a diary to keep track of all you have done. This is especially important as we get older … if we can keep the brains learning muscle active and its plasticity alive we can lessen memory deterioration and even keep Alzheimer’s and dementia symptoms at bay.
As an example, recently I travelled to Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, UK, which is just a bit further down the road from where I live. I had been through the town many times but have never walked the gorge before. This four-hour walk of natural beauty was stunning, taking pictures along the way I made sure to absorb the scenery. This walk has been a continuous topic over the recent weeks, sharing with many others the details of my journey. I have reinforced this memory and it will stand out from the other days.
Another level of mental engagement is what psychologists call, ’emotional arousal’. When our emotions are highly engaged an adrenaline response can start the blood pumping. They say “do one thing every day that scares you” (or at least takes you out of your comfort zone safely but with an edge), this may help us to experience more time. Standing on the cliff edge in Cheddar Gorge I could feel the fear and vertigo. I have never been very fond of heights. Although now I can see that memory as vividly as the day it happened. This moment made me feel alive and was worth every ounce of unease. Imagine a cameraman spooling a reel of your life, each turn of the handle captures moments. When the blood starts pumping and emotional arousal sets in, the reel is spooled faster and faster capturing more moments in less time and better clarity of these memories to look back upon.
Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing Bubble Gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind. The kind that blindsides you at 4 p.m on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing every day that scares you! — Baz Luhrmann
Forget Your Troubles
Living too much in the past or the future can be a gloomy experience. Although we are built upon our past we can bring a lot of negativity through that can weigh us down. Feelings of guilt, resentment, regret, and nostalgia can be daily thoughts for an individual. Whereas worrying about the future can breed, anxiety, impatience, restlessness, and fear. We can constrain ourselves with these negative thought processes, throwing away the freedom of the now.
We cannot change the past and we cannot foresee the future, the only part of time we have control over at any given moment is the present. Being in the now mindfully can help to drop these shackles of time. Practice in cultivating mindfulness has been shown to lower stress levels, boost cognitive function and improve memory and attention. Mindfulness can enrich your life while also slowing down the passage of time bringing an all-round feeling of contentment. It’s not just about an hour meditating on a yoga mat. It’s about the other twenty-three hours also. Bring awareness to your whole time. Living in the moment with mindfulness and slowing down time is good for living a longer, happier life. And remember to have fun. Time does fly when you’re having fun but it’s invigorating, lasting, and helps brain and memory function thrive.
Get In Touch with Your Senses – Take time to feel the textures under your fingertips, enjoy and taste your food without distractions. Look to see the beauty in the world, smell the freshly cut grass, Fully listen to the conversations you are having.
Invest in the Things You Love Wholeheartedly – Singing a song you love. Sing it with joy, passion, and a smile on your face.
Take a Moment at the Beginning of Your Actions – Embrace what you are doing at any given moment. This will help to bring yourself into the present – breath, relax, and cultivate a sense of awe and wonder.
Pay Attention to Your Thoughts – Daydream a little, allow your brain to go through the thought processes that it needs then gently bring it back to the now while reinforcing the positive thoughts and allowing the negative ones to float away.
Practising Mindfulness While Waiting – Take every opportunity to come into your direct experience. It is easy for our minds to ponder over the concerns when they are not active. At the traffic lights, waiting for the bus, boiling the kettle; try to feel into the moment by focusing on your breathing and let this awareness help ground you.
If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. — William Blake
Our Connection to Time and Timelessness
There is an ever-growing concept that time is just an illusion. If slowing down time is changing our perception, then is time real? The short answer is yes. You can slow down time and you can increase the perceived speed of time. So although time can be flexible it is real to us.
This, of course, is based in the physical universe but what about our higher consciousness? Our consciousness is not bound by the rules of physics and therefore not ruled by time. To this consciousness, time is an illusion. This soul or spirit is without time and lives in a state of eternalism. As an analogy imagine a film showing in a theatre, each frame of the film is a moment, all these frames come together to make up the film of our life. Take the reel off and lay all of the frames out on a table now you can see all of the moments at once. This is what our higher consciousness sees there is no beginning middle and end just an endless supply of moments seen within an instant.
Your higher consciousness is here to help, it knows the path you are walking and is willing to help in the journey you have taken. Trust in its eternalism. Your journey is a river steadily flowing through time, if you fight against the current it will create ripples – some welcome and some not. You are on the right path and your higher consciousness will help guide you. Live in the moment, cultivate trust in your unique existence and enjoy the ride.
We’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas and experiences around time. Let us know in the comments below.
We quickly have time to say this slowly … We love and appreciate you just as you are.
Your friends and soul family …
Great article; all true!
Your journey is a river steadily flowing through time, if you fight against the current it will create ripples – some welcome and some not. You are on the right path and your higher consciousness will help guide you. Live in the moment, cultivate trust in your unique existence and enjoy the ride.
I especially liked the part about ‘holding’ space for incidental strangers. Great article; all true!
Really really enjoyed this article. Am lifted up and to face the future
How often have you had a conversation “in passing”? Someone you know or a stranger approaches as you are walking,”How are you?” You both keep walking; your turn your head & respond, “Not bad & you?” The two of you might even keep “talking” to each other, as you keep walking away from each other. You might think to yourself; “Why should I waste my time with you?” or “What do you want from me?” It’s a bad habit & happens with those closest to us, too; as we are passing through the living room. Fear? It’s one thing that we may be afraid of that we can do each day. We all know or have been told about someone who will “talk with anyone”. Stop walking; turn & face your friend, neighbor, stranger, loved one & listen to what they have to say; a real conversation. The possibilities of what we have been missing out on could be exciting; the ordinary & the extra-ordinary. What’s the big hurry?
Gabriel I really enjoyed your article + found it inspiring and reassuring. Well done – you write with a lovely clarity. Funnily enough, when I read it, I had been painting all day and had just experienced the things you were talking about…good timing!