At what point does today become tomorrow? If we think of a clock, then of course, we need to think of time zones. In fact, taken the time is based upon the rotation of the Earth in relation to the Sun we discover that there is a moment in which part of our body exists in today while the second part is still in yesterday. There’s no digital quantisation which allows us to distinguish between one day and the next.
What is time? What are we measuring? Movement of the Sun and Moon relatively to the horizon. Movements of stars relatively to each other and Earth’s rotation. Oscillations of quartz in electronic and cesium in atomic clocks. We’re not measuring time, but space and events.
In fact, the current official definition of the second says:
The second is the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom.
While this definition can’t be comprehended entirely without some knowledge of physics and chemistry I understand that the duration of the second, as we measure it TODAY, is based on a number of electro-magnetic frequency oscillations of a chemical compound. Time nowhere to be found. This arbitrary choice, based in the age old time-keeping tradition of observing the Earth orbiting the Sun, which seems can’t be trusted anymore, may be again changed in the future.
“Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.”
Why twelve hours in a day then, rather than ten or fifteen? If we search for originators of timekeeping in popular sources we will find Egyptians who liked to count in base 12, rather how we do it now, in base 10. It is understood that the reason for it is that they counted finger joints instead of fingers, as well as that twelve has a larger number of integer factors than ten (12/6 = 2, 12/4 = 3, 12/3 = 4, 12/2 = 6, rather than 10/5 = 2, 10/2 = 5). Egyptians beat us to it setting the current grid of division of what appears to us as a never ending cycle of sunsets and sunrises. They had advantage of living before us. Still no physical substance of time. I like to see people laugh when I tell them that time doesn’t exist. I laugh back for they take it for granted. Past and future are abstractions of non existent in nature. Now is the only existing reality. In reality tomorrow does not exist (yet) and for that reason postponing any decisions until then is as abstract as waiting for a bus in a train station. The past and future are what is not. Tomorrow never dies, because it never comes! The present is what is.
We are either doing something now, or not at all. If I say from tomorrow I’m starting to exercise is like saying I’m gonna wait 397 121 692 464 000 oscillations of the radiation of caesium 133 and do it then.
I don’t have anything against twelve hour day division. In fact, I’m a fan, I was born on a twelfth. I appreciate the need for unified timekeeping as part of communications systems. But the real reason why it’s important to look deeper into time is because we often put too much importance into what does not exist. We occupy our minds with past events or being fearful of the future, when the only control we have is in decisions we are making in the now.
One of my affirmations that helps me to continually bring awareness into the present moment goes:
I, inkReadible Longwave, seek to fulfill maximum potential in each moment without attachment to the result.
Attachment clause is included to prevent myself from not taking action. It teaches compassion and how to laugh at oneself without feeling inferior. We’re all one, with our ups and downs that all come from us acting upon now, or now acting upon us.
The only unit of “measuring” time, as well as the smallest grain of it, I can think of is a moment. If nothing exists beyond this moment then it’s painfully logical that our attention is best spent on the present.
Think, that this day will not dawn again.
Tomorrow dawns every time we open our mind’s eye. There’s a metaphorical significance of the cycle of day and night that speaks to me more than that of a chaotic arbitrary number of periodic vibration of a chemical compound.
A while back, on Craig Weller’s site, I learned a ritual which consists of weekly painting black an empty box representing a week’s worth of life on a grid with several dozen rows of those. The whole grid represents the lifetime. The weekly review process looking at the grid gradually filling up, literally showing how much life I already used up, helps me see whether the life I’m living is the one I would have chosen if I was to run out of empty boxes. I know of no better tool to adjust oneself with his heart than a thought of impending death. Our paradigm shifts and so do our priorities. We become less occupied with ourselves and more with those around us. We make less decisions based in fear and more in love. I use this method frequently when I’m unsure of what choice is best for me.
Fourth Natural Enemy
I am, what I like to see myself as, a late bloomer. It took me a while to realise what my passion is and looking around seeing that most people in the field at my age were already accomplished with great results I felt the pressures of unhealthy (and unfounded) competitiveness. It’s the old age, the fourth enemy of a man of knowledge as described by Don Juan in Castaneda’s “The Teachings Of Don Juan”, that can defeat us if we look to compare ourselves beyond of who we were a moment before the present.
It’s in the doing that is in the present we get engrossed and lose perception of time. Looking towards where we are not is taking us into the non existent, out of the now. I switch off and hide all the clocks when I work to remind myself to completely concentrate in the now, to give it my best without false pressures of lost sleep or tomorrow dawning too soon. We can’t lose time, but we can lose moments by giving up our complete participation in them.