What is time?

Martin, modified 2 Months ago at 2/16/24 11:57 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/16/24 11:57 PM

What is time?

Posts: 796 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
The other day Papa Che asked "what is this sense of stuff going through time and sense of me being in it all?" I would love to know. I'm particularly I'd be interested to hear how Papa and others experience it. 

To me, it seems that time, self, and desire are intertwined. When there is desire, a future is always implied because, without one, there could be no satisfaction of the desire, and a self is implied because, without one, there is no receiver of the satisfaction. I don't notice identification with a past self in that way. It's clear that memories are part of the present, so my personal experience of time is forward-directed. But that wasn't always the case. There was a time when the self of self extended in both directions, as if I were a traveler through time (he says, oblivious to how self-contradictory he's being). Sometimes, mostly only on the cushion, the horizon of forward time comes so close as to disappear, but those are times without desires. 

I am sure that everyone, including Arhats, can still function in conventional time but I wonder if there is a change in perception, perhaps something like there is with space and, if so, what it's good for. What I mean by that is, for example, with the falling away of the sense of distance, there is a sense of intimacy and, with the intimacy, compassion. Does anyone experience benefits from changes in time perception? 
thumbnail
Papa Che Dusko, modified 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 1:00 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 12:58 AM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 2730 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
I dont know if I'm experiencing anything out of the ordinary. 

It's just that through practice and direct observation there is seeing that a "moment" is so "fast" and it already had passed away before noticing it. 
(Re-read this part and let it sink in)


It seems to me that the knowing of anything is always one step behind of what was experienced. Well ... knowing itself is also part of THIS so it's also a gonner ... 

This knowing also has a bit of a "trance" like flavour. As such it gives this sense of time. Sense of time ... this particular way of stitching up already gone experiences into unbroken stream of going through time. Feelings have something to do with the sense of "realness" of this "solid" sense of going through time. 

But if all is already gone, already passed away, then what is really here? What really is THIS? 

Rhetorical questions of course. emoticon 
thumbnail
Papa Che Dusko, modified 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 1:02 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 1:02 AM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 2730 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
"What I mean by that is, for example, with the falling away of the sense of distance, there is a sense of intimacy and, with the intimacy, compassion. "

This is when I schmack you very hard with a Kyosaku! 
thumbnail
Bahiya Baby, modified 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 4:43 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 4:43 AM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 461 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Moments sort of fly past like when someone falls but forgets to hit the ground. All is change. 

​​​​​​​I'm just kind of riffing on what Papa che said but I certainly reckon time and self are thick as thieves. 
shargrol, modified 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 6:33 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 6:32 AM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 2409 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
I remember feeling very oppressed by time pre-meditation practice, alternating between filling time to not be bored and avoiding activity to not be exhausted. I recall being helped by investigating the sensations involved in this dynamic. What does boredom feel like? Can I let it be as it is? What does time's passing feel like? Can I let it be as it is? What does the present moment feel like? Can I let it be as it is? This seemed to clarify that time was, in a sense, personal. Time was more my reaction to time rather than a thing in itself.

I also remember being really helped by the framework of Five Elements, especially the Air element where "groundless anxiety becomes ambition and relentless activity" instead of "confidence and simply doing what needs to be done". This framework also did a good job of helping untangle the five basic reactions to the open space of the present momement, including initial reactions, the intensifying fear/aversions, the overwhelming stage of these reactive patterns, and the completed/awakened experience of these patterns. It becomes clear that these reactions are triggered by incomplete experiences of "open space" but you could also describe it as "timeless time". 

Finally Rob Burbea has some great investigations on time in "Seeing that Frees" towards the back of the book. I remember reading it being truly pivotal for me, especially the part about how the present moment doesn't exist as a moment. I guess I was ready for that and I got it right away. At the time, this really -- well, freed me -- from some very subtle identifications/assumptions about the present being a thing that gets altered in time by "me". 

Hope this helps in some way.
thumbnail
supermonkey :), modified 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 7:13 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 7:09 AM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 142 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
My latest personal experience was this: after waking up one day, I came to reflect on how I feel. Then there was a stepping out movement, away from the content, more towards the occupation itself, towards the mere compassionate act of asking this question, you could say. Then I began to see this personal reflection as a reflection of the reflective nature of mind itself. It made me think of the mirror like nature of awareness. And in fact I could see "my" experience as sort of happening between mirror pairs. It made me think that a self moving through time is an interpretation of this reflective nature or aspect of mind. It's like when you have a mirror in front of and behind you, those infinite reflections can be seen as some sort of change. It could be that this way of interpretation is in fact driven by some desire, probably the desire for stability. 

So, I think my sense of time passing has changed quite a bit, and sometimes I grieve my old interpretations. For the benefits I'm not really sure - in a way it's just different. Definitely more intimate, but also more vulnerable. After all, the interpretation of a person going through time is/was an antidote to the vulnerability, and I guess one has to get used to it. And there is a sense of (a timeless) compassion, that can hold the pain of losing the belief that personal time is the only true time, and the vulnerability that comes with it. 

What this mirror like interpretation of the mind points to is that time and space really aren't separable, as it seems to require some assumption of "locality" to create a sense of time. So personally, I tend to see space as more fundamental than time. 

After all, this time creation is still done, but in a larger container - and seen as created.
And eventually that sense of creation has a sense of creation itself. And that, I think, is where we stop to be able to say anything further. 

I guess an arahant is fluent in both worlds and maybe what remains when operating in conventional reality is a happiness that comes from  knowing that it's all not as serious as it pretends to be emoticon 

So, because we know that it's possible to see it differently, we don't always take personal drama so seriously? And could it be that that's what makes compassion possible after all?

Neither the eternallistic/egocentric view of lasting self nor the nihilistic view of "just empty", nothing matters, seem to have a lot of compassion to them. One is too defensive, the other too open. But when emptiness meets conventional reality middle way though, it's as if that is the nature of compassion. 
​​​
thumbnail
Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 9:03 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 9:00 AM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
There are many types of time. Which one are we talking about here?

1. Time as a property of the universe, i.e.; Einstein's space-time, or time as a 4th dimension
2. Time as a way to measure change (no time = no change)
3. Time as a direction - we seem to live trapped in a one-directional prison, "forward" but never "back"
4. Time as a chimera - it doesn't really even exist, made up by minds to more easily navigate existence
5. Time as a name - it's two o'clock, it's 2024. it's today, that was yesterday, it'll soon be tomorrow
6. I'm sure there are more that I can't think of at this time (pun intended)

Time is slippery, so this could be a fascinating thread.  emoticon
thumbnail
Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 9:42 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 9:15 AM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
On a more practice-oriented note, when I try to observe time, I can't do it. I can't grab a specific moment - things inevitably flow and cannot be stopped or manipulated. Something seems to be "moving" across some dimension and makes things appear to be passing from one time frame to the next, but the images/perceptions themselves aren't moving. They're still. It reminds me of a movie - a series of still images with slight changes from one to the next, forming only the appearance of movement.

Also, my perception of time changes greatly, depending on what I'm focused on, my mood, and how anxiously I want to get from one moment to another. Sometimes, things seem to pass quickly, especially when I'm busy and not paying attention to time's passing. Then again, things seem to move very slowly, especially when I'm anticipating something I need/want/desire/crave.

Also, an issue intrinsically related to time is memory. What the heck is that?

Realization: space and time are constructions. Space allows for a perceived separation of objects - they can seem to exist in a way that appears to be distinct. Time allows for the perception of change - there can't be change without a perceived sense of time.
thumbnail
Dream Walker, modified 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 9:51 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 9:43 AM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 1687 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Martin

  1. I am sure that everyone can still function in conventional time
  2. I wonder if there is a change in perception, perhaps something like there is with space
  3. Does anyone experience benefits from changes in time perception? 

  1. Ya, as measured by outside watches, we all share that empirical measurement
  2. Yes, internal perception of time can and does change, usually by various artificial substances, but also boring vs exciting moments/memories thereof/memories of different ages, the older I get the faster years go by.
  3. Lets call it time pressure, the stress built into that time pressure gets deleted and thus less "dukkha"ish.
Future thoughts happen now, past thoughts happen now too.. as well as current thoughts. The average thought process is 4 a second. If you delete various unneeded selfing process (delusion) built into each moment, you get a boost. Each sense door in the brain works at different speeds, The brain then consolidates these processed sensate information to create the "now". (videos with the dialog mismatched just a little, before or after, is ignored within a threshold.) There doesn't seem to be an area in the brain that governs this time management, it seems to be a distributed function. Lots of fun to play with, is there a gap between one thought and the next? Can you empty out that placeholder that separates them? Can you speed up your sensations? Try it and see whatcha get...
​​​​​​​~D

P.S. Mahamudra kind really starts with emptiness of time exercises then establishing that faster speed, deconstructs the attentional system, Increases speed again to an even faster rate of Awareness and continues to deconstruct everything to systematic "Emptiness"
Martin, modified 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 2:25 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 2:25 PM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 796 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Have you read The Order of Time, by Carlo Rovelli? If you haven't, I imagine you would like it. 
thumbnail
Papa Che Dusko, modified 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 2:44 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 2:44 PM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 2730 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
*Does anyone experience benefits from changes in time perception?*

To me the greatest (so far) change was in realizing that what is gone, is gone, and what is not yet, is not yet. So there is wonder in case of a reactive pattern (realm) unfolding (sense of proliferation) "is this really happening?" and there is just this uncertain wonderous open awareness in this ... then it again gets involved and so on and so forth ... "ok friend" emoticon 

I think Im with Kenneth Folk when it comes to awakening being a momentary thing, also very much not being constant, and is subject to impermanence. Maybe the "length" of a trance state is shorter for the awakened but nonetheless, anicca will still kick your sorry enlightened ars when you least expect it! emoticon emoticon  We are human beings, after all, born into this. However, it might be that Parinibbana is the only constant thing in all this, but how could I possibly know that, or any of us, really? emoticon 

How does "time" feel in a trance state and how in an open uncertain awareness state? 
How does time feel in a stressed state and how during having a fun state?
How does time feel during boredom or during excitement?
How does time feel during an A&P stage and how in a Re-Observation stage?


p.s. blabbing too much over a glass of red
thumbnail
Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 2:50 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/17/24 2:50 PM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Martin, no, I haven't read that. Thanks for the recommendation!
Nervous Bee, modified 2 Months ago at 2/18/24 8:27 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/18/24 8:27 AM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 9 Join Date: 12/31/23 Recent Posts
Hey Shargrol - do you have some good references for the Five Elements and five basic reactions to open space? I would love to learn more about this framework. 
Especially this: 
"...Five Elements, especially the Air element where "groundless anxiety becomes ambition and relentless activity" instead of "confidence and simply doing what needs to be done"" seems intriguing. 
thumbnail
Dream Walker, modified 2 Months ago at 2/18/24 11:05 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/18/24 11:05 AM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 1687 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Martin Have you read The Order of Time, by Carlo Rovelli? If you haven't, I imagine you would like it. 
Check out 'Time, Space and Knowledge' br Tarthang Tulku
It's on my bookshelf but I've not plowed thru it yet. It was highly recommended so I need to do that.

The Ego Tunnel has some fun thoughts - pg. 34-40 (THE NOW PROBLEM: A LIVED MOMENT EMERGES)
https://xenopraxis.net/readings/metzinger_egotunnel.pdf
Good book,
~D
thumbnail
Dream Walker, modified 2 Months ago at 2/18/24 11:16 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/18/24 11:14 AM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 1687 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Chris M
Realization: space and time are constructions. Space allows for a perceived separation of objects - they can seem to exist in a way that appears to be distinct. Time allows for the perception of change - there can't be change without a perceived sense of time.
March 1919 within a story titled “The Girl in the Golden Atom” by Ray Cummings 
“How would you describe time?”
The Big Business Man smiled. “Time,” he said, “is what keeps everything from happening at once.”
“Very clever,” laughed the Chemist.
Everything is everything so time must be the glue that holds the everything together so that it is perceived all at onceness. emoticon emoticon emoticon
Nondual is just one thing done twice (wink)

​​​​​​​~D
thumbnail
Dream Walker, modified 2 Months ago at 2/18/24 11:29 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/18/24 11:29 AM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 1687 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Finally found the link - 
https://www.integrateddaniel.info/my-experiments-in-actualism

Daniel Ingram
It felt like some part of things directly related to time and some perception of time synchronized in some way that I found totally surprising. The analogy that always comes most readily to mind is that of an engine with its timing belt off one notch: it will run, but it will shake just a bit, or perhaps a lot, depending on the engine. Yet, strangely, this was a shaking I never really noticed until suddenly it was as if the timing belt of the mind jumped back into the right alignment and suddenly the subtle shaking stopped. The entrance to this was not during a Fruition, making this the first of two major shifts that would involve some seemingly somewhat permanent (who though who knows, really) transition into an alternate and better way of perceiving reality that didn't involve that entrance into it.

After that, time pressure was suddenly really different and seemed nearly totally eliminated. Further, the perception of time itself was totally different. Whereas before I could clearly see that time was constructed of thoughts of past and future happening now, and that was something that I could notice when attention turned that way it had taken that sort of attention to that specific aspect of things to receive that benefit of seeing through time creation itself. Now it seemed that those benefits were now hard-wired into my baseline way of being, and those benefits were immediately obvious.

I felt better, clearer, more easy. The Dark Night of my Actualism phase seemed to have vanished. Suddenly I felt that I had gotten what I was looking for, that some new window had been opened, that something was now activated and working through old structures again, a feeling I hadn't had since April, 2003. What was interesting is that this was not at all what my friends were talking about, though they had mentioned things about time effects that were similar, and yet it seemed to be where those practices lead for me. I must assume that some aspect of this is idiosyncratic, though I have a few friends who have described the elimination of time pressure also, just at a totally different phase of their practice and by slightly different methods.
~D
Martin, modified 2 Months ago at 2/18/24 11:58 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/18/24 11:58 AM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 796 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
I worked hard at reading and getting something out of 'Time, Space and Knowledge' but I just could not process it. I look back at my copy and see lots of highlights but all I can remember from it is the idea of focal settings. Perhaps I should give it another try. Does anyone know of a Time, Space and Knowledge For Dummies type of thing, like a good introductory talk on the subject for beginners? 
Martin, modified 2 Months ago at 2/18/24 12:03 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/18/24 12:03 PM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 796 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Very interesting. Thanks for the link!
thumbnail
Bahiya Baby, modified 2 Months ago at 2/18/24 7:12 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/18/24 7:12 PM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 461 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
@nervousbee

Ken McLeod - Wake up to your life 
thumbnail
Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 2/19/24 3:12 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/19/24 3:06 PM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Another thought I've had to throw into this milieu: what we as humans beings observe and call "reality" is tied fundamentally to the way we perceive things. So what we perceive can mislead us if the scale at which we can see doesn't account for the underlying nature of phenoena. For example, our physiology can only handle perception at specific speeds, but the phenomena we see happen at speeds that are much faster. If we could perceive at the speed of light, our perception of objects as they change would likely be very different. I suspect that our perception of time works likewise.

Edit:  But guess what can process phenomena at roughly the speed of light? I'm guessing when we do ever manage to create AGI, we may get a huge surprise in this regard.
thumbnail
Papa Che Dusko, modified 2 Months ago at 2/19/24 8:30 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/19/24 8:30 PM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 2730 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Another thought I've had to throw into this milieu; What does time mean for the bombarded children of Gaza? I would not know exactly but I can approximate from my time spent in war and being bombarded but I was 18-20 years of age at that "time" so this is memory for me.

cessation... insights ... jhanas ... realizations ... my awakened ars ... Biden ... USA ... only country voting against the ceasefire ... ehm ... sorry, got sidetracked ... ehm ... time, is like a dream ... bombs, exploding, children with amputated legs and arms ... screams ... fatique ... ehm ... oh yes Noting emoticon yes I am ... itching ... itching ... seeing ... thinking ... hearing ... imagining... none of this is real ... children with amputated legs ... vote for a new president that will make america great again ... ehm ... itching ... itching ... crying ... 
Martin, modified 2 Months ago at 2/22/24 1:18 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 2/22/24 1:18 AM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 796 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Here are some questions I have been playing with when I see that I am thinking about something in the future:

1) when? 
It's surprising how often this does not have an answer. "The future" includes tons of nebulous stuff that is unlikely to ever happen. The when question has a type of focusing function but generally there is nowhere for it to land on. 

2) who?
If the when question can be answered, who is the person who will be there at the time? This is interesting not only because it is technically not going to be the person who is sitting there thinking about the future, but in fact it is difficult to resolve any future person, or have any real investment or ownership in the experiences of the future person. The assumption that I am going to get something or suffer something in the future really breaks apart when I start poking the mechanics of it with a stick. 
thumbnail
Chris M, modified 1 Month ago at 2/22/24 4:14 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 2/22/24 4:12 PM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 5164 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
"Time is the inexorable progress of computation."

​​​​​​​                                      - Stephen Wolfram

(Confession: I've been studying Wolfram's "A New Kind of Science" and watching the videos stemming from the Wolfram Physics Project.)
kettu, modified 1 Month ago at 2/23/24 5:23 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 2/23/24 5:23 AM

RE: What is time?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 10/31/17 Recent Posts
Papa Che Dusko
Another thought I've had to throw into this milieu; What does time mean for the bombarded children of Gaza? I would not know exactly but I can approximate from my time spent in war and being bombarded but I was 18-20 years of age at that "time" so this is memory for me.

cessation... insights ... jhanas ... realizations ... my awakened ars ... Biden ... USA ... only country voting against the ceasefire ... ehm ... sorry, got sidetracked ... ehm ... time, is like a dream ... bombs, exploding, children with amputated legs and arms ... screams ... fatique ... ehm ... oh yes Noting emoticon yes I am ... itching ... itching ... seeing ... thinking ... hearing ... imagining... none of this is real ... children with amputated legs ... vote for a new president that will make america great again ... ehm ... itching ... itching ... crying ... 
Thank you for this.

As time is something that is upon us all collectively right now, the immense suffering of complete unknowns to us far away on this planet is not separate from our being. Remembering that by those of us who have the luxury of pondering on deeper questions than survival is crucial for there to be any wholesome realization. Soaking in the pain of the world may sometimes be unwholesome.  But deconstructing pain of the world as something illusory is utter cynical pathology of another kind.