This is another article in a mini-series on how we tend to perceive when we notice our nature. I have written about our perception of distance and movement so far, and here is one on time. (Since I have written about our perception of time in several other articles so I will only touch on it briefly here.)
In one sense, I perceive time as anyone else. I know how to use our ideas of seconds, minutes, hours, days, and so on. And my sense of time stretches and compresses depending on what I am doing and whatever states are moving through me, as it seems to do for most people.
TIME HAPPENS WITHIN ME
At the same time, I am aware that my sense of time happens within and as what I am.
Any ideas of past, future, and present – and what I imagine in each one – happen within my sense fields.
They happen within and as what I am. They happen within and as what a thought may call consciousness.
It’s all happening in the now that’s all I know and have ever known.
I am aware of my mental representations of time – of a timeline with a future, kind-of-present, and past, and that my mental field places certain events on this timeline and in one or more of these three times.
I have examined these through more thorough inquiry several times, which helps me recognize them in daily life. And it helps me recognize them as mental representations happening now.
These mental representations are essential for helping this human self function in the world.
Another aspect of all this is timelessness.
Since time happens within and as what I am, I find my nature is timeless.
My nature is no-time allowing time and different experiences of time, including the three times and the stretchiness of time.
SHIFTS HIGHLIGHTING CERTAIN FEATURES
When we are in a process of exploring our nature, it’s not uncommon to have experiences that highlight certain features of what we are.
One of these for me happened fifteen or more years ago. I was training a more stable attention (focus on sensations of the breath in the nose) while music was playing in the background. Suddenly, there was a shift where any sense of continuity of time fell away. There was no continuity in the music, only the shifting sounds here now.
This helped me see how my mind, and especially the mental field, creates not only a sense of past, future, and present, but also of continuity of time. Without it, there is only an always shifting now with no continuity. Without it, we couldn’t function as human beings in the world.
IN DAILY LIFE
In daily life, all of these are here and attention may highlight some aspects of this more than others.
I operate with time in a conventional sense, and with my cultural influences. (I like to be on time since I am from Norway, and I like to stick to schedules that involve others for the same reason.)
I notice my mental field creating and operating with representations of time – a timeline, three times, events on this timeline and in the three times, and so on.
I notice my timeless nature, either in the background or more intentionally.
And I am aware that without my mental field, there would be no sense of continuity in time.
My nature is no-time allowing time and different experiences of time, including the stretchiness of time.
I operate with time in a conventional sense, and with my cultural influences. (I like to be on time since I am from Norway, and I don’t like to change schedules that involve others unless I feel I have to, for the same reason.)