Keep the End Out of Sight

Does knowledge of the end make everything easier? Does our understanding and acceptance that we're all going to die some day somehow unconsciously help us get through the toughest times in our lives? Does our subconscious mind tell us that we've got nowhere else to go until the day we die, so why not just push on? This directly relates to what I said in my earlier post, Timeless Living. Maybe the unconscious anticipation of the end makes us grow old quicker.

Have you ever noticed how when you're on a trip somewhere, say vacation for example, the trip there always seems longer than the trip back? I noticed this when I was younger, traveling to different places for business with my family. I came to the conclusion that the time differences are 100% related to our anticipation. We're excited and looking forward to reaching our destination, so we're more aware of the time as it goes by. Each moment we ask ourselves "How much longer?" "What will we do and see when we get there?" "What will it look like?" "I can't wait to get there, it's going to be so much fun!". All these thoughts make us aware of the moment, and being aware of the moment makes the moment last longer.

However, when vacation is over and we're on our way back home, we don't have the same anticipation for our destination. We already know what awaits us when we arrive, and if anything we'd rather delay getting there. So we sit back and relax, and instead of thinking about the moment we think about the past; we think about everything we've done while we were on vacation. So what happens? Time speeds up, and the very thing we wished we could delay arrives sooner.

How can you stay young forever if you can't even remain who you are in the moment? You're life is a rope, strung over the edge of a tall wall. You need to get to the other side and you've already climbed 1/4 the way up, your present. The bottom half of the rope, your past, is on fire and is burning fast. Do you jump for the top of the wall, your future, and risk falling? Climbing back down would be stupid, as the rope is only getting shorter. You stay in the moment, slowly and steadily moving forward until you've reached the end. The only thing you need to know about your past is that it's gotten you to where you are now.

It's amazing how much the concept of time is ingrained into us. Try, for a moment, to imagine that there is no time. No past, no present, no future. It's hard. You have to take everything as a whole, instead of placing things on a time line. The idea of time makes our life easier and more predictable so we readily accept it.

Odd, I think all this pondering about life and time is making my life pass by quicker...

Timeless Living

Does our concept and understanding of time make us old? We already know that strong thoughts are capable of changing physical matter. In certain cases, there have been people who have cured their own fatal diseases by refusing to accept death; by refusing to give up. Some of those who have an extreme faith in God have experienced unexplainable events. Are these events nothing more than an example of mind over matter? Is their own mind unleashing the power to cause events that are unexplainable to current day science?

If the mind is this powerful then why wouldn't our understanding of time also affect the way we age? We have in our heads the concept of years, months, days, hours, minutes, and even seconds. We look at a watch and see the seconds ticking away. We say to ourselves "time is ticking away" or "X amount of seconds has passed since I looked at this watch". Every time we write down the date, on a check, a deposit slip, a letter, we are reminded of today's date. We know Monday through Friday is a work day and Saturday and Sunday are our mini-vacations. Periodically we check how many days or weeks until our next long vacation or holiday. We have a birthday every year to remind us how much time has passed since we were born.

It's as if we have this concept of time so that we know when we should be close to death. Why would anyone want to keep track of such a thing? People have in their mind "I'm 50 years old, so I'm at least half-way through my life". They believe it with such conviction that they probably help make it come true.

Escaping the concept of time is nearly impossible. We live in a world where everything is dependent on the time. We have appointments set by the date, we need to write checks with today's date on them, and arriving at work on time requires our knowledge and understanding of time. From the day we are born, the concept of time is cast upon us. We are put to bed at a certain time, we are allowed to play for a certain amount of time, and each year that passes we have a memorable birthday to celebrate it.

I'm sure everyone can agree that the older we get the faster the years, and time in general, passes us by. Maybe it's because our understanding of time, and our experience with it, has caused our biological clocks to speed up. We know that time is relative to size. Larger objects perceive time different then smaller objects.

Take for example a common house fly. He buzzes around at 7.2 feet per second, pretty fast from our point of view. Now add into the equation his maximum life expectancy of 30 days and assume our maximum life expectancy is 100 years. That means for him there are 69 seconds in a typical day. OK, great, so what does all this mean? Well, let me finish. Let's say the house fly is watching a car moving at 200 MPH (293.2 feet per second). To get his perspective of how fast the car is actually moving, we need to calculate how many times more seconds there are in a typical human day (86400) than in his day (69); about 1250 times more. Now divide the car's speed (293.2 feet per second) by 1250, and we get .23 feet per second. That's how fast the 200 MPH car seems to be moving to the fly: .23 feet per second. Now do you know why you never seem to be able to catch a fly? The holes in fly swatters work by reducing the amount of air flow pushed downwards, which reduces the chances the fly will feel the fly swatter coming.

OK, enough about flies. I used that example to prove that the larger the object, the faster time appears to pass. Does that mean when we're toddlers, time passes much slower because we are physically smaller? It probably does. But think beyond physical size. The older we become, the more "stuff" we accumulate, the more stuff we accumulate the more things become "ours" and the bigger "our" world becomes. Take me for example: I own three investment properties, and hold several different jobs. My world feels much bigger than it did before I owned any properties and when I held only one job. I know more people than I did 5 years ago and my social network has grown. I am larger in life than I was 5 years ago. Why wouldn't that also cause time to pass quicker?

Maybe the secret to a long life isn't as simple as living healthy or taking care of yourself, but rather a combination of positive thinking and uncluttered, simple living. The goal shouldn't be to live as long as you can, but rather to create an environment where normal time has no meaning, and no impact, on your life. We can accept responsibility without creating a physical or mental attachment to things in the world. A cameraman uses a quarter-million dollar camera with care and precision, but he doesn't own the camera, his director does. An actor plays his role with full knowledge that he isn't really the character he's playing, but he fools everyone into believing he is. He feels better and more relaxed when he's off the set and can act like himself again. Don't you feel better when you're on vacation, away from all your "stuff"? Or when you're sitting on the beach listening to the ocean? Why? Why do we feel that way?