liminal space

Clock time and natural time

I've been thinking further about natural perceptions of time vs clock time. Jean Houston, as far as I can tell, was the first person to overtly note a substantial difference between clock time, and natural or internal time, in her book The Possible Human. However, As I've been musing on this subject, I've also noted that even in everyday consciousness the perception of time can vastly differ depending on how time is measured. Let me give you an example. An acquaintance and I were discussing the formation of modern education in the U.S. the other day. The modern education system was developed during the industrial revolution as a way of moving people out of an agrarian approach to life and more towards an industrial model. In an Agrarian approach time is measured by when the sun rises and sets. It isn't parceled down into hours and minutes, and instead is much more rhythmic, in tune with the day light. Now take people out of that approach to life and put them into a factory, and you end up having an issue, because the way those people approach time affects how they approach work. To get around that you put them in a setting where they are educated about time through the example of having periods of time that are used to measure how long they are in class and how much time they have for a break. And then afterwards they are trained for a very linear approach to work. You have only to look at today's average work day to see this in effect. So many minutes for a break, so may for how long you work, the rest you schedule what else you want to do.

That conversation came up in way that I'd say was odd, if it wasn't for working with the spider goddess of time. Ever since I worked with her, she's been showing up in different ways and while I didn't see her when I was having this conversation, I definitely felt a divine nudge that there was a lesson here, and was reminded of my classes at clarion, where this very subject was discussed at some length as to why classrooms are arranged the way they are's a factory setting. Students lined up in rows, ready to be processed and put on the line.

I've had a few moments of alternity, where time has seemed to stretch out. I get that every so often in general...time expands, my sense of possibilities changes, everything seems elongated, crystalline, fitting together perfectly. I'll see it occasionally as I drive, but sometimes as I walk or doing something else...time stretches out, becomes a parchment of silver webbing, shining strands of possibilities, and the sense of time changes, becomes much less overt. It's only when I look at a clock that I'm really brought to a linear awareness of time. The clock constrains, restrains, and otherwise confines a sense of time to a very immediate moment. I look at the clock and I see a specific time: 9:29:39 and only that moment exists. Everything else, all other possibilities fade in the glowing green digits of time that express exactly this one moment of linear time, which my entirety exists in.

I can see why clock time has become so prevalent, so important to the work world for instance. It is the engine which drives people to perform for whoever they work for, the way of rating the exchange of life for the means to sustain that life.

Yet how much is missed out on in the obsession of clock time, when we lost the natural rhythms of life to the growing gleen digits that mark out how much time is left for a person to work, or for that matter to live? Where is the seamless experience of time as not just one moment, but a sea of infinite possibilities, or the silver paths of the web the spider goddess lives in? We find it when we can let go of clock time, let go of the need to look at the very face of time that binds us...When a day becomes much more than just one hour passing after becomes full of possibilities and adventures and so much else.

Give me natural time any moment of the continuum

Past, present, any of it real?

In a previous post, Xi O'Teaz asked for more details about my perception of time, wherein I stated the present didn't exist. He noted that many would argue that only the present existed, while the past and future were illusions. Intriguingly enough quantum physics seems to support my meditative trance perspective of time, as I'll explain a bit further down in this post. The perspective that only the present exists, while the future and past are illusions is a perspective that is easy to adopt in everyday consciousness, because the experience of time is a very linear, moment to moment experience in that kind of consciousness. You experience it once and then its gone, and was it ever real? It's this kind of awareness of time which leads, I think to a lot of the short term thinking that has continually created problems for the world in general...too much focus on the immediate moment, while ignoring a more long term perspective.

In the meditative trance states I've hit, the sense of linear time fades right out. It's replaced with a feeling of timelessness, or rather a feeling of time being a very fluid gel that contains every possibility you could experience and has all the past moments available as well. The present becomes just one moment among all other moments experienced. It is neither more real or unreal than any other moment.

In The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, he explains that time is a continuum which we experience all at once. A moment that occurred in the "past" is still fact space/time contains and encompasses all the events that occur within it, which means that all of those events are occurring at the same time. Wait a minute, do we have free will, choice, etc., if this is all occurring at the same time? Also how do you explain linear time then?

The answer to the first question is that all events in space/time are really possibilities. They are simultaneously real and not real. They exist and yet they don't exist. So how do we have free will, etc. This is where linear time comes in, because linear time is really about filtering all the extraneous possibilities and focusing on specific realities that are local to the person. Time becomes organized and laid out in a fashion that enables choices to be made, while limiting those choices. Linear time is also a way of keeping us sane, because experiencing all possibilties can make for a very heady experience, but also one where the variety of choices overwhelm the capacity to make a choice, unless you go in with an agenda focused on a specific set of circumstances, at which point it could be argued that you are imposing some linear time limitations on non-linear time in order to effect a choice.

So is the present real or is the past and future real? All are real, and all are possibilities. And we censor it all out to deal with set possibilities, to limit ourselves, and this makes sense on so many levels, and offers so much potential for how to change those limitations as well, provided we're willing to brave the wilds of non-linear time to do so. There are ways to do that...meditation being one, the creative flow another, and of course magic, but a lot of it really comes down to changing the awareness of what is possible vs what can become real.

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I'm reading On Becoming an Alchemist by Catherine MacCoun. A good book, I recommend to any level of magical expertise. She brings up the concept of Between, or liminal reality/space/time, etc and as always I find this concept fascinating because it's one I've worked with a lot. She also discusses Style, which can be interpreted as the essence of a person, or the personal signature. Again, an intriguing concept. I see some intriguing possibilities for relating the two to each other. The style a person exhibits, the identity if you will, creating a between space. Actually the between space is created quite frequently by people. Have a really good conversation with someone and you'll marvel at the time that passed, because you entered into a pocket dimension that just existed between you and that person. Get into a state of do easy or not-doing and you're in a between state. Which then makes me wonder if it's ever possible to NOT be in a between state of one form or another.

Yes I know, I'm being subjective here with that last statement. I could easily say that we're always in between states and then go look for them, proving because I think of them. Still if you look into neuroscience and states of mind this kind of concept gets played with a lot, in terms of the types of consciousness people exhibit everyday. We have our everyday consciousness and perhaps between states are very subtle in that from of consciousness. So we only obviously perceive them when we meditate and we can clearly point to that and say, "Aha! that's a between state."

But right now I'm writing this post, and I'm in a different reality from the people around me. I'm aware of them, I can interact with their styles, their realities, etc, but I'm still in a between state of some sort, just a very subtle between state, as opposed to something more blatant such as meditation or doing a ritual. In fact, I'd say such overt displays as meditation or ritual are necessary for teaching people how to perceive between states, liminal realities, but I'd also point out that sometimes appreciating the subtlety of a different state of consciousness, appreciating the only slightly out of this reality between state is equally important to really being able to do magic on the fly.  I'm writing this post, and even though I'm aware of my environment, aware of people speaking on the phone, or walking by, I'm also aware that I'm in a between state, in a difference place...They are in my physical environment, but are they in my liminal reality? It's a subtle, but important distinction to make. No worries, I'll be exploring this in much more detail.