I’ve just got back from a wonderful 6 week trip during which I got to experience jungles, beaches, the sea, mountains, snow, buses, trains, planes, skis, wide open spaces, forests and cities. During the trip I had a bit of a discussion with a friend about time, and time became a bit of a theme for me during the trip – the perception of time can often get distorted when we travel, and I had plenty of time to consider ‘time’ while away.
Before leaving I had been thinking about how traveling can often help with living more in the present, especially long term travel: transport delays become opportunities rather than hinderances, long journeys are embraced with more ease than a short journey on the Underground. Being sat on a bus for 8 hours certainly does something for your perception and appreciation of time. Especially an old school bus with no air-conditioning and no room for your legs. Doesn’t sound like much fun, but actually by being fully present in the moment, appreciating each passing moment and all that it had to offer, it certainly didn’t feel like 8 hours.
The discussion on time revolved around whether time was ‘fixed’. I claimed that by going to bed, breakfast time would come sooner, which my friend objected to, claiming that breakfast would take the same amount of time to arrive whether I went to bed or not. I told him that regardless of whether the speed of time was actually unchanging or not was largely irrelevent, and the perception of time was what was important.
We then went to try out a floatation tank/isolation chamber – the quickest 90 minutes of our lives! It honestly felt like 30 minutes at most. As well as the sensory deprivation affecting my perception of time, I engaged in a simple mindfulness practice focussing my awareness on my breath, which kept me fully in the present moment. Anyone who has practised any form of mindfulness or meditation practice, or indeed anyone who has done anything that engages their full attention, knows how transient the perception of time can be. But this was another level of distorted time perception.
I then spent 4 days on a train! During which time I read Eckhart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth’, and had plenty of time to practise being present in the moment. The theory and the practice. Both very fulfilling. The present moment is the only time that actually exists – immersing yourself fully within it, whether at home or away, is a very rewarding way of being within the world. Which also profoundly affects your perception and appreciation of time.
Faze leads Gong meditation on a Tuesday evening from 7.15pm and will also be at our special Spring Equinox session this Friday 21st March from 7.00-9.30pm. More info here: www.gracelandsyard.com/blog/2014/02/09/gong-meditation-spring-equinox-friday-21st-march-2014/