Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lesson #37: Ever Changing Time

At a party the other night, everyone seemed to be talking about time, and how subjective it can be. We concluded that the quality of time is changing, that it's actually speeding up. I think we'd all agree that time is not what it used to be. We used to get bored, and now there's no time for boredom.

You've probably heard the saying, "There's no time like the present," but the reality is that there's no time but the present. The future has not happened, and the past is just a memory. Memories are subject to intense distortion, and what you believe happened in your childhood, how you perceived a certain situation, is probably different than what objectively occurred. What you remember and what your brother remembers about the Thanksgiving of 1979 may be completely different.

As mind-boggling as it seems, modern science tells us that outside of our space-time continuum (our little 3-D bubble), time does not even exist! What this implies is that if you were outside of our universe, looking in, you would perceive all events throughout time ocurring simultaneously. If space-time is indeed a continuum, then what is happening in this moment affects what is happening forty years ago, as well as forty years in the future.

This means that when you heal an emotional wound in this moment, you are sending healing to yourself in all directions of time. Likewise, when you hurt yourself in this moment, you are sending pain to yourself in all directions of time. Since we're all constantly changing, it could be said that the past and the future are also changing, all the time.

We all know that we should "forgive and forget," but have you ever noticed that when you truly forgive someone, the memory of what they did begins to fade? For instance, I used to blame my parents for certain deficiencies in my childhood, but over time the resentment played itself out, and I realized that not only had they done the best they could, but that they had actually been very decent parents.

After realizing this, something interesting happened. The sad memories faded, to the extent that today I can't even remember what I was so upset about. Even if I try to dredge up memories, it's like grasping to remember a dream that is slipping out of consciousness. It was as if my forgiveness or reframing of the situation actually tweaked "reality," past and present (which automatically changes the future).

As an experiment, try this: recall a time when you didn't get what you needed. For example, maybe as a child you felt abandoned or abused in some way. Don't choose your most loaded memory---pick one that you've played over in your mind, and that you're ready to release.

Take a few minutes to relax, and then briefly replay the scene as you remember it. Next, imagine that the scene changes, and someone steps in to help you, or an older and wiser version of yourself shows up and gives you exactly what you need in that moment. Play this new scene out in your head to its happy conclusion, taking time to enjoy the way this feels to you.

This simple exercise is so powerful that it can actually unravel the old memory, in all directions of time. You just have to be willing to let go of your attachment to the old scene. It turns out that memories, time, and "reality" itself are not as concrete as we once thought they were.