Springingtiger's Blog

It’s Funny How The Time Goes.

In NLP there is an hypnotic phenomenon called ‘Time Distortion’. Richard Bandler did a great tape on the subject. Yesterday I had the opportunity to spontaneously experience time distortion.

My patio is about three feet lower than the beds that surround it. I was working on the narrowest of the beds clearing the neighbour’s Clematis from my climbing rose when I stepped back into empty space. I don’t know how long it took me to fall, but it felt like a long time. It was long enough for me to realise that with my right foot still on the wrong side of the patio wall I could not prevent myself from falling. I had time to reflect that I could not roll out of the fall and to focus on breaking my fall so that my head did not hit the concrete slabs of the patio. I moved my left arm to protect my head and moved my right across my body to help absorb the impact. I landed on the side of my left foot, then my knee, but my head remained off the ground until I ceased to fall and lowered it to the ground where I lay for a while unable to move. I am not glad I fell, but the experience of time distortion was interesting. 
Now I am finding that time is moving more quickly than I. Unable to place weight on my left ankle every activity requires planning and movement is agonisingly slow (what an appropriate expression!). Today I am resting with my somewhat swollen ankle raised, doing as little as possible and experiencing a strange sense of timelessness as I observe the world. It is of course another time distortion, the sense that time itself is illusory or perhaps this is reality and time is the illusion.
I have a Werner Erhard tape in which he postulates that there wasn’t time as we know it until religions needed to divide the day so they might pray at regular intervals. For centuries  all time was local, based upon the passage of the seasons and the movement of the sun. Most people had no need to divide time with any accuracy. It was the requirement of ocean navigators for accurate time keeping upon which to make their sextant observations that led to the development of accurate timepieces, chronographs. However for most of us local time, even accurately measured local time, remained local. It was the advent of rail travel that ended local time in Britain. In order to catch scheduled rail services it was necessary for the time in the stations on a route to be coordinated otherwise people in the west of the country would always be late for a train coming from London, whereas those travelling the other way would arrive early at the station and have to wait. More improbably the journey west would appear to be slower on the same route as the journey east.
Everything in creation has its own pace. The planets orbit the stars, chemicals react, materials degrade and rot, seeds germinate and grow, leaves fall, seasons change in sequence, we are born, grow old, and die. All of this is natural. However time with its seconds, minutes, hours, and days; with its weeks, months and years, and the labels we place upon these divisions is made up. Humans created time and then subjugated themselves to its tyranny shackling themselves with clocks, diaries, schedulers, Filofaxes, appointment books, year planners, all made the more tyrannical with the advent of personal computers and smartphones. It is true that we need all this for an ordered society, but sometimes it’s a relief, a necessity to stop time and live the timeless life. The worst time distortion is the distortion we allow time to inflict on our psyche, our values, our peace of mind. Stress is a function of time, deadlines can empower us, but equally destroy us. We complain that we have ‘no time to do anything’ today I have NO TIME and so I can do anything I choose.


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