The Concept of Time Relativity – What is time, really?
Two people who taking the same plane trip can have very different experiences. One might report that time just flew by and the other that it took ages. In the moment of an accident all of a sudden time slows down and seconds seem like minutes for the person to make the right decisions. When we get a tooth pulled we think it takes forever.
Remember when you took an hour to cook a meal. Now you go crazy waiting for a quick microwave dish. For a child a month is a very, very long time and birthdays are very far apart. Now, birthdays come sooner. Waiting in line for the movies may be just a few minutes can seem like forever. Time and speed can be experienced in such astoundingly different ways that the questions remains: What is the reality about the phenomenon of time?
Depending on our perception some experiences take too long and some too short. Some examples: Depressives pull up and prolong the past in a particular way. They usually have a very slow movie running. If the same experience would speed up it would not be depression anymore. In a psychotic fit a person goes through this excruciating state for perhaps half a day – coming out completely exhausted – but thinking it was only an hour. If the experience went slowly it would not be
considered a psychotic fit. Or: Moviegoers having a range of terrible feelings watching a long horror film afterwards think it went by rapidly. Time flies even if it isn’t fun.
The ways we think and speak about time assume that it is something outside of us. We externalize time by the mere fact of verbalization and this suggests that there is something different than the moment. Time becomes something one can organize, manage, control and quantify. Here the resulting language “Where did the time go? I am wasting time. Time disappears. Let me save some time. This is a fast month. What a long day.”
A big portion of being unhappy or not reaching what we want has to do with the ways the brain distorts time. People who experience stress or unhappiness seem to codify time and speed in fixed and limited ways. Time is a hallucination. It is a byproduct of the way we code our thoughts.
How does our brain produce these hallucinations and time codes? How can we use the same process of distortion to prolong what we wish to enjoy more and shorten what we don’t need to dwell on?
Distorting time intentionally
Milton Erickson, the father of hypnosis, successfully applied “The Milton Diet” for weight loss. He brought the client into a trance and instructed to the unconscious mind to use the eating utensils in an extended slow motion fashion. It would take several hours to eat a bowl of soup. Whenever the person touched the spoon or fork the suggested time distortion kicked in. She lost all the weight she wanted.
I had a client who couldn’t get herself motivated to go to work but was determined to do so. She had already used motivation strategies like transforming her procrastination behavior.. She said she would feel motivated but still wasn’t able to act it out at work. When she was at her desk she thought of her kids, looked around and dreamed, then got up to make some coffee.
I asked her: “What happens in terms of time? It seems like you have a lot of time.” She said it wouldn’t take her long to organize the file folders. It would also not take her long to make the required phone calls. She said that even writing the letters is actually a quick thing.
She thought of time in pieces, the time for calling, the time of organizing the desk, etc. Focusing on the time of one task makes work longer. After we had found out exactly how her mind represents time increments I taught her how to think of time in a more workable way.
I had her make one big picture of the whole day as one chunk rather than many small and stacked ones. Then she practiced to see her successful end result and link that back to the present. Going back to her work situation she not only felt happier and more motivated but finally could get her tasks done. In one hour this life issue was transformed.
What happens inside when we procrastinate or experience stress or anxiety?
Our mind usually makes two or more pictures of different time increments in the same space, maybe on top of each other, stacked behind one another or lined up. Sometimes these images collapse or literally merge. The unconscious message to the brain is: All of these past and future events or tasks happen simultaneously. Of course this creates overwhelm and tension. Consciously create resourceful time programs
Practice the Time Matrix.
Think about what is stressing you or what you want. (= x) (x = getting the housework done, completing a degree, overcoming a challenge, finishing a project, etc.). Project vivid pictures, voices and sensations into the future about achieving your outcome (of doing x) successfully.
As you experience this with all of your senses there in the future, connect with your purpose for wanting and doing x.
Then connect with the present moment by filling in the progressions. Realize all the time you do have between now and that future moment. Notice how all the time increments are connected in a continuous and flowing fashion.
From the future holding your purpose, look back to the present moment and ask yourself: “What have I been doing to accomplish x?” When you have answered this question sufficiently bring all of the answers back into the present moment while still holding your purpose.
Ask yourself: “What am I looking forward to doing next?” The purpose of working with the ways your brain codes time is to become more efficient and create time for what you really want. A major focus is to become more flexible and access a variety of programs so you are more free and in control of your experiences and your life. And last but not least, it all prepares and leads back to the ability to be and stay in the moment. Being successful with altering your perception of time is just like working out at the gym. Creating and manifesting new neuro-pathways takes practice, perseverance and dedication.