Time & Existence: a quick manifesto

What is ‘time?’ Why do we perceive it linearly, when science tells us this is an illusion?

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I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. For a couple of months, actually, it has been consuming my thoughts.

I watched the series ‘The Fabric of the Universe with Brian Greene’ (which is streaming free on Amazon Prime, by the way! Drop what you are doing and watch!). Like the studious nerd that I am, I took notes and paused the episode frequently. I ruminated on it quite a bit.

Then I saw the movie ‘Arrival’ a few weeks ago and the concept of time has been on my mind nearly every day constantly ever since. (HIGHLY recommended)

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So we experience time in a linear fashion, yet science tells us that time in its entirety is actually ALL being experienced in one moment simultaneously. Why don’t we experience time in this all-encompassing way? Why does it need to be linear for us?

This morning I read a theory/belief manifesto posted & written on Twitter (you can pop over to @amie_zor to get a glance) and this moved my theory needle quite a bit. Props to the original poster @PhilosopherK1ng!

This manifesto posited the stance that time as we know it is linear because we are moving more slowly. So slow, in fact, that this in turn allows us to perceive the linear-ness of the moments we are in – which if we were moving faster, or perhaps the better term is if we were existing faster, we would not be able to observe.

In order to perceive this “becoming-ness” and immerse ourselves in this 3D experience on this plane we need to move/exist more slowly in order to perceive the cycles. Better yet – we need to be a visceral part of the cycles. Hence – the human body.

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I was thinking along these same lines a few weeks ago as I was ruminating on the cycles of nature. In the grand scheme of things, time and our reality is really recycled; therefore existing in one long, extended moment. In terms of atoms and molecules, there is no “death” – they just keep recreating themselves within transformation. The particles that make up our bodies do not leave upon the concept of “death.” They just transform themselves again into something new.

I was thinking about time and how trees and plants might perceive it. Trees grow so slowly – their lifespans easily eclipse ours in many cases – and I wondered what it would be like to exist in that state. Humans and animals scurrying about, the seasons cycling through quite fast in comparison to our own human perception.

Then I wondered if there was life out there that was even slower – or even faster. Like the mayfly, for instance: their life span might be just 30 minutes to 2 days. To them, humans must seem like trees or part of the landscape, maybe.

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Then I was pondering the concept of sleep. Why is it that we need it so badly? That we need that recharge every night in order to operate so optimally in this world? It feels to me that we actually cannot sustain ourselves here without it – so it’s almost like the dream world is our real home. Our energy center, so to speak. Without it, we could not exist here. We need dreams and REM sleep in our lives, but we really cannot articulate why.

Perhaps the answer is that we cannot exist here without sleep because we cannot FULLY inhabit this waking plane of existence 24/7 because we are not preternaturally inclined to it? Perhaps we inclined to move/exist faster than is normal here, but we need to be ‘locked’ into our human bodies in order to live and perceive this experience. We need the ‘locking’ mechanism that is the human body and waking consciousness in order to see / hear / be here at all?

Without the human body, maybe we would perceive all of everything and inhabit all worlds and all times simultaneously – like we do when we sleep. Perhaps that is our true existence – but somehow it does not stick in our memory the same way as it does here in our plane of existence because it doesn’t adhere to the memory structure. Dream-time existence doesn’t move as slow as our waking consciousness, so our waking consciousness cannot hold onto these memories as well as it can when things are slower.

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All this considered – this makes me reconsider space travel. I read an article discussing space travel, the ongoing search for exoplanets, and how the nearest one would take us nearly 75,000 years to travel to using our current fastest technology. Needless to say, we move / exist too slowly to conceive of traveling that distance in any perceivable way without artificial intelligence.

But if we could somehow unlock ourselves from our current body-consciousness – this perceived reality that moves slowly enough to appreciate and participate in the unfolding cycles of this world – perhaps we can move faster, and therefore this distance would not be an issue. Maybe we could just manifest ourselves to said exoplanet without issue, since we are perceiving time as one moment?

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All theory, of course, but I love the puzzle pieces when they seem to fit – even if in fantasy. However, in my mind, fantasy is but the beginning of fact. We cannot go where we have not first imagined.

I will be reflecting much more on this subject and look forward to finding some additional reads that might catapult this further. If there are any readers out there with sources / books / podcasts / etc. that might add to this unwieldy thought-train, please share or add in the comments !

Happy Thursday friends ❤

“You Exist Because You are Loved”

“You exist because you are loved.”

These words popped into my head after work one day, out of the blue.

I remember right where it happened: I was starting the first leg of my pedestrian commute, walking block one out of eight. Headphones on, music loudly playing. And right as I was passing a giant, red-neon, laughing Buddha at the Asian fusion restaurant across the street – BAM!

“You exist because you are loved.”

So for me, this phrase of insight that came to me so unannounced and sudden is intricately bound with the image of a red, laughing, neon Buddha.

And now it is for you as well.

The meaning of these words might seem a bit backwards at first take. A little voice in our head reasons with us: “We can be born to a family and not loved,” or, even more sadly, “I’m/she/he/them are not particularly wanted or loved, but I/he/she/they exist!”

If I hold these statements in my heart, though, I don’t think they can be true. My heart offers a different interpretation.

“You exist because you are loved.”

IF you are here or have been here, and you are reading this, or if you are existing elsewhere and not reading this – my heart posits that you were meant to be there in that moment. Therefore, you are loved infinitely more than we can fathom.

This is a world of creation, and what is creation but a form of love?

That voice of reason, the shoulder man, is there again interrupting. Reminding me that we exist because of reproduction – a biological imperative. Nothing more and nothing less.

But I think there’s more to it than that, and the girl on the other shoulder implores me to hesitate in coming to conclusions. She is wary, skeptical – but tells me to listen to my heart.

So I chase the seemingly reasonable, logical, and analytical voice away. This voice of mine is rooted firmly into the realm of what can be seen and concretely measured. Palpably observed. And these words that I am contemplating defy a logic that could ever be measured, graphed, or perhaps even fathomed –  let alone scientifically analyzed and promptly debunked.

“You exist because you are loved.”

There is so much in this world that we don’t know, yet so much here that we DO know, if we would just open up. Recognize it. Imagine the unimaginable. See a world without divisions and separations.

Life – ALL of life – is here because it IS love; therefore, it is loved. It is all connected, and we are an integral part of it.

The shoulder voices ask me many things at once: Will we ever rise up and realize these truths? Will we let our hearts guide us as much as our mind? Can we pause our logic for a moment to imagine the unseen?

I hope these words catch you in your heart as they did mine. A little stumble, a double-take at the laughing Buddha. Opening your eyes a little wider, and an offering of peace of mind – and peace of heart.

May it be a little freer, and more loved, than it was before.

“You exist because you are loved.” And you love because you exist.

In ‘Recognition’ of Happiness

Why do we need to apply conditions to our perceived state of happiness?

Can you be happy always, anytime?

I was confronted with these thoughts recently, and finally saw them for what they were: illusion breakers.

Undoubtedly, the first time I saw a quote or meme that stated something along the lines of “Happiness is Unconditional,” I didn’t get it. A line like this evokes one of those mystic, woo-woo Buddhist concepts, spoken from the master to the pupil. In one ear and out the other. A part of me pipes up: “I’m not a monk, I’m a regular person!”

But more and more these words wormed their way in deep. Wriggled and wrought to my heart. I get them now so much more fully and deeply than I ever expected to. A pleasant surprise.

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A while back, after the birth of my daughter, I was going through a hard time. I wasn’t depressed per se – I was just despairing a little. Feeling unfulfilled at work. Tight on bills and uncertain of financial security. Unwilling to work harder to make said needed money as I now wanted to be home more and not at the office. Plus, I happened to be blessed with a micro-manager who liked to provoke and push – the very opposite of what I wanted and thought I needed. And to top it all off, a lot of my neuroticisms transferred to my husband, who carried the weight of those residual damages.

I didn’t know what to do.

So for whatever reason, I started writing after hearing a speech at work. And about a year ago, for whatever reason, I felt a pull to blogging. The ‘whys’ of such decisions I still cannot fully articulate, but I went for it.

After starting this writing practice on a regular basis, I finally started seeing and thinking and feeling what this misty concept of ‘unconditional’ really means. About what it means to be happy and satisfied unconditionally.

To have no condition or state of being or thing or person or job or money dictate my state of happiness. And to think this could even happen.

Lately, even with long days at the office, shitty traffic, messy houses and emotional toddlers in my life pretty much every day, I am able to see small moments. To slow down. To breathe.

None of these things or situations cause my unhappiness. Their presence or lack thereof does not determine my state of Being.

For if I tied my happiness to any of these conditions, my happiness has the potential of being yanked away at a moment’s notice. My happiness would be tied to this world, and all the ephemeral things that move in and out of it. My happiness would ultimately be elusive.

These things that we typically tie happiness to – people, jobs, money, health, children, cars, time off, social circles, etc – are things that change in life. They change all the time. They are conditions, and our charge is to exist beyond them.

To BE unconditionally.

So back in my tough days (and they are far from over) I had trouble with this line of thinking. It was so clear to me that money and a more satisfying job would solve everything. Right?

Currently I am still at said job, making the same amount of money, and I am happier than I was.

There might be other reasons for this, but a major part is that I’ve now realized that my happiness isn’t tied to those things. If I based my level of satisfaction on earning more dollars, then my happiness would have the potential to never come – and there is nothing further from the truth.

I have power over my happiness.

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Everyday, I sit in amazement and stare at my dog sleeping so soundly on the floor at my feet, ears twitching at small noises.

I kiss my daughter’s head with fervor even if she’s screaming and I’m losing my grip on patience.

I think fondly of my husband and his zest for life that sometimes lies buried underneath self-criticism and doubt.

I recognize my ridiculous wallowing and give myself some space and forgiveness.

I am in awe of this life and all it contains in this perfectly imperfect moment.

And that is my happiness. ❤

Tending to the Gardens of Mind

Do we need an “evil” figure in our lives in order to recognize the good?

Do we need to unite against an “enemy” in order to rally to peace?

I’m feeling these questions acutely right now, especially given current events in the ongoing election. What is happening to us?

Is this some sick social experiment that is testing our collective consciousness? Poking and prodding our conceptual knowledge of what is good, moral, and right while trouncing it with maggot-ridden bait?

((Apologies for the melodramatic statements.))

In time after time, we are taught – and drilled – to know evil exists on the other side of goodness and purity. But to draw lines in the sand is to make them manifest in the first place. To create ‘Us vs. Them’ is to say “Us vs. Them” in the first place. It really takes no other act. Just a simple statement of this duality plants the seed in the minds of those who hear it. But where this seed grows and gains traction is up to the individual.

Are you tending to your thought garden thusly? Maintaining and nurturing and giving it life? Or are you letting it run wild – untamed, overgrown, dying in parts, but robust in others? Flowers choked out by the weeds?

The seed is itself harmless. But what it becomes in us is what really matters, for we are the soil from which the world springs forth.

If you grow and nurture the seeds of division – or ignore them – they will be what you sow in the end. If we need some kind of perceived evil in order to see good – if we need the weeds in order to appreciate the flowers – then perhaps a perspective tilt is in order.

Maybe we need to draw less lines and more circles…

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I pray and wish for a day when we recognize that darkness is but the shadow of the light – nothing more, nothing less. We need to stop giving it the power it does not deserve. In the reality of the heart, it is ephemeral, changing, and it exists where we let it. This “evil” – this “enemy” we are constantly working to identify – exists only as a part of the whole, and does not define us. It is just a mere seed that moves through us and onto the field beyond.

We are the ones who invite these seeds to stay. We are the ones who plant them.

These seeds have always existed, and always will. What will we do with them? Plant them and watch them grow and take root? Or watch them float by, adrift on the wind?

In Search of the Forest and the Trees

My professional background is interior architecture. I’ve worked in the professional design community for almost 10 years now. Surprisingly, part of me loathes it… but an equal portion is enthralled. An oscillating love/hate relationship. But the design instinct is ingrained and natural and I will never get rid of it.

Design and architecture in general is quite fascinating to me, but you will never catch me ever owning an Eames lounge chair or an overpriced Noguchi coffee table – the inherent materialism in the design industry is quite off-putting to me. But this profession pulls me into it given a natural balance of over-arching vision, and the methodology of how to convey such a lofty intent in the physical, built environment.

I have been trained to seek the Why behind the What; To see the ‘Vision’ through the individual pieces of methodology; To see the Forest for the Trees.

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I think a lot of us focus on either the Trees or the Forest, but never both. I like to think I focus on the Forest, but really I am just obsessed with trying to see the trees. ALL of the trees and possibilities of trees that have ever existed.

I think that many of us, when we think of the term ‘Forest’ we are actually conjuring a pre-ordained paradigm that we believe to be the ‘Forest,’ when in reality it is a cultural assumption that we have taken on as our own. We have been told by others that have come before us what the ‘Forest’ really is, and what it consists of, and we take their word for it. We take on these systems of belief as our own.

Therein, I think a lot of us think we are seeing the Forest in its awe-inspiring grandeur, but in actuality we are only seeing a projection of our own Tree.

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But maybe all we can ever hope to see is our own singular Tree? Our own singular observable universe.

Maybe the other trees that exist in this multi-verse of a Forest cannot actually be observed, but only felt? Only theorized?

It is hard to fathom or imagine the breadth and scope of all the other trees out there that might live in this Forest with us. Side by side, interconnected in a symbiotic dance of an un-seeable ecosystem that we can’t really perceive – only postulate.

In my work-life, and in my spiritual-life, I am drawn to the trees – ALL of the trees in their myriad of possibilities. I have a drive and curiosity to know each of them intimately so that I might know more of this Forest beyond. To trace the seeds of all the Trees amongst the many.

And while these other Trees and seeds might exist just out of sight, perhaps they are within reach of the heart.

“Go With the Flow”

Are thought waves or thought ‘states’ like an onion that you peel, one layer after the other?

Do we prefer one kind of thought wave over another?

I find much of my time unwilling or unwanting to “downshift” my conscious thought into the mired details. If a game or a task requires strategy or logistic-style thinking, or mapping out the opponent’s moves to best win the turn, then I am usually not up for it. I put up a fight and procrastinate. It’s like pulling teeth for me and I usually have to force it. Why though?

I have to acknowledge that it is indeed easier to complete a task when you are not wasting brain power on trying to figure it out. It is much easier to get assigned a task that you know how to do or to have a plan or a “workbook” for life laid out before you. This spares you the extra effort of having to consciously figure it out. Using conscious thought requires exerting extra energy, and I believe this is a certain thought pattern – or wave – that we have to inhabit.

For a long time I thought I was just lazy in my brain power, or not as smart as my overly strategic and analytical peers, but maybe that’s not the whole picture.

After recently watching the episode ‘Who’s In Control?’ of The Brain with David Eagleman, where they discuss the unconscious processes of the brain, I think I might possibly be rejecting inhabiting my conscious thoughts in favor of a more unconscious ‘Flow State.’

The ‘Flow State’ that they reference is in regards to a space (or a thought wave) where you are not inhabiting your conscious thoughts, but instead defer to the unconscious. Like when you are driving home from work and suddenly you arrive home and are startled to realize that you don’t remember your entire drive. You lost time because you were doing it automatically – it didn’t require your conscious thoughts.

Is this what I’m experiencing? Perhaps. Part of me says ‘yes’ but a part of me says that’s presumptuous.

When I’m writing, or reading, or having certain conversations that are not bogged down in outrageous details, I effortlessly jump in. I do it with gusto. I do not have to force the thought waves – I just lean back.

When I’m assigned a detailed task to figure out, or to work out my personal budget, or play a game with friends where strategy – more so than chance – is involved, I drag my metaphoric feet and mind through the mud before I finally force myself into it. I have to literally push. It’s exhausting.

Not to say that I don’t enjoy the details and strategy once I’m there. But this leads to an ‘all or nothing’ approach. If I finally get around to organizing my room or a photo collection, or working out my budget or troubleshooting a detailed task, I usually desire to work on nothing else until that task is done. Nothing. No interruptions or I kiss my detailed, conscious thought waves good-bye. Once that happens, then it’s pulling teeth again. The cycle starts over.

Do I really prefer spending a majority of my time in the unconscious thought waves of flow? Is that what makes it so hard for me switch gears to the conscious thought waves? Is this normal for others?

Lately I have been feeling like I have to force my conscious attention to things around me more than usual. To tell myself to focus on the moment – and even to remind my eyes to not glaze over and look at what’s in front of me. Like I’m stuck floating just above the surface. But maybe I was always this way? Maybe my train of thought was always leaving the station behind, and now I’m just more aware of that fact? Certain things suggest to me that this is true. It’s a little disturbing, to be honest.

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I’ve always been a more or less ‘go with the flow’ type of person.

I try not to overthink things and trust my instinct. But perhaps these days I’m going with the flow too much. I’m letting it take me away.

Perhaps I am supposed to help direct the flow, rather than flow with it. Nudge it and imbue it with my intention.

Perhaps I need to recognize that I am not merely separate from the flow, flowing with it.
I AM the flow.

On Duality

As above, so below.

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The other night, I thought of this phrase and imagined a giant inverse pyramid on top of the great pyramid at Giza. Like that of a mirror. An invisible inverse that only the soul may see, as the soul is the same aspect of the physical body, but inverse. The inverse of our Self?

The intangible to the tangible. The sweet to the sour. The light to the dark. Both reflecting reality at the same time in different frequency, only in dual tracks.

But maybe the use of the word ‘dual’ is not appropriate here. It implies separate and opposite entities, separate tracks. I think that is far from it.

The soul and body, the light and dark, are both kinetic potentialities of the same element. They exist out of the same space.

Tracks on top of and encompassing one another.

They both manifest together, simultaneously and integrally. You can’t have one without the other. They are wholly one thing.

Duality as the whole? A fingerprint of the divine, a clue to the manifold potentialities of matter, mind and ultimately… humanity?