Do we pay enough attention to time as an object?

Alexander Rice, modified 6 Years ago.

Do we pay enough attention to time as an object?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 2/20/15 Recent Posts
I recently completed a new path (third, I believe) and the absolute key to it for me was playing around with my perception of time as if it were just another object of the mind. The classic instructions pay a lot of attention to where objects seem to be located in space, what qualities they have and the fact that they change over time, but I've not seen a lot of emphaisis placed on taking the sense of time passing itself as an object, even though when I'm stressed out it always seems to me that a lot of my discomfort is related to a perception that time is passing too fast or too slowly. 

My attention was drawn to it this time by Rob Burbea's book where he mentioned in a relatively off-hand sort of way that time is an object of the mind just like everything else. It immediately struck a chord with me because I had a strong feeling that I was stuck because I was missing 'something' in my practice. I originally attained stream entry after reading Echart Tolle's "The Power of Now" and spent a couple of weeks putting a lot of effort into staying "in the moment", yet I somehow failed to realise the significance of it or apply the same technique to later paths.

I'd been in equanimity for about a week and really wanted to complete the path because the intense drive to find the 'missing piece of the puzzle' was getting tiring and I have lots of other things to be working on ("Aagh! Not enough time!"). I'd been doing some sits with a candle and was just figuring out how to get into jhana reliably (my practice has mostly been 'dry insight' because I had the wrong idea about how to get into 'concentration') and I'd noticed that rather than wait for jhana factors to arise, I could just create the impression in myself that a lot of time had passed so that I'd already been sitting here 'forever' and therefore it must be in jhana by now.

So last weekend I sat down and resolved to try and finish the cycle. I knew that the experience I was looking for was 'timeless' so I began contemplating that deeply. I started contemplating situation where time has no meaning and that brought up consideration of black holes and other singularities. I had this clear mental image of the black hole from 'Interstellar' with a shining edge and I made some kind of mental link between time as an object and the concept of 'voidness': that time is always flowing past objects of the mind, and that unless you keep dragging them along with you they get sucked up by the void, never to be seen again. At some point I moved to watching the visual field and somewhere out there in the murk resolved this image of a blue sky with a few clouds, I became aware of me being 'over here' and the clouds being 'over there' and realised that I wanted to make the jump so I used the 3Cs to make 'this side' as horrid as possible, compacting all the pain of life and death into a single instant (remove time from the equations) and it worked. I moved over to the other side of the split and then disassembeld all the nasty experiences in my body from my new perspective... and opened my eyes, noted that the frequency of things had changed and that nothing seemed 'solid' anymore and considered it a job well done.

I spent the rest of the day dancing around the house removing all the things around the house that were creating pointless objects in my mind (decluttering) all the while keeping in mind the shining edge of that black hole that the objects would disappear into, muttering to myself "Void". Contemplating the ease with which mind objects could be destroyed if I didn't keep draggin them along with me created a tremendous sense of joy. I could also sense my location as being sometimes closer to the observer and sometimes closer to the object, but it was a continuum, not a split.

So, time and voidness. Really, really important IMHO and doesn't get enough attention in the texts.

I also think this may be how the actualism thing works, I'd not looked into it much but I read Daniel's post about it. this morning and it totally gave me chills. I now notice that there's a slow wave (maybe 1-2hz) that controls the depth of my perception of flickering