There are moments – here and there, now and then – in which one’s perception of time changes or shifts. Time may seem to slow, or to speed up, or to stop altogether, if even for a moment. This relative quality of time may not be exactly what Einstein spoke of in his Theory of Relativity, but in many ways, it may be more intriguing (particularly from a psychological perspective).
Moments…perhaps lasting only seconds, which provide us with an extraordinary perspective on life that might best be described as magical. But what do we make of them once they pass? How do we hold on to these moments of flow? What do we do with these feelings of NOW?
It seems that some situations or circumstances may more readily produce such time-bending sensations: pain, grief, love, awe, and of course the frequently spoken of but rarely experienced “aha” moment. Perhaps, in all of these moments, we are reminded that time is a mental construction, a human fabrication, a product of conscious perception – relative only to the extent that perception of one’s environment is also relative, shaped by temperament and experience. But perhaps we are also reminded of something far more profound. Perhaps, in all of our squandered and limited perceptions of clockwork, we are shown a glimpse of the universe itself – its beginning, its present, and its future – and are therefore afforded a glimpse of time in its true and original state.
There are no clear answers, of course. But when I experience these moments, however brief, I am certain of only one thing: There is no “then” or “when,” there is no past or future…there is only NOW, this moment, which is the product of every moment before it. In fact, every moment prior to my birth, prior to my conception, and prior to the evolution of our species, has led up to THIS. Such reasoning is without limit, resulting in the perception that every moment since the beginning of time has led up to THIS and NOW. Once digested, a profound shift occurs, for it becomes clear that the conception of the universe itself is occurring now, in this very moment. Everything that ever was and ever will be exists only now, be it the death of a cell or the birth of the cosmos.
It is a beautiful thought – to think that the conception of the universe itself is occurring now because NOW is the product of every moment that has ever come before us. Nevertheless, we seem destined to return to our linear perception of time, no matter the frequency of such moments, and throw to the wayside a view of reality that is simplified in a beautiful but seemingly incomprehensible way. We must hold on to these moments for as long as possible. We must try our damnedest to integrate them into our daily experiences. We must, in all our distractions, remain true to the possibility of time – the notion that life, love, and the stars are all being born in THIS moment.