Feeling like you need more time to get things done?
What about those amazing stories of how a person seems to have split-second responses in times of crisis?
What these two things share is our experience or perception of time.
I think there are ways to shift our experience of time. One way is to see in 3 dimensions, 3-d, through different levels at once. Another is a concept of bending time. It’s like experiencing time moving in slow motion when you need more time to respond to a crisis.
Mindfulness can affect the perception of time.
When we are doing a task mindfully the experience of time is stretched, like there is just enough time to finish the task. This also increases ones sense of pleasantness to the task.
Think of a time when you felt that time went by faster or slower. The most common experience of this is when we are doing a task that we do not want to do, or is boring, it feels at these times as if time passes drags by or when we are doing something we love, the opposite is experienced, it goes by fast.
Have you ever experienced an event in slow motion?
It’s a bit surreal, your inner perception, thoughts and awareness of events seems to be heightened and happening rapidly while events you are observing are slowed down in comparison, appearing to unfold in slow motion. I have had this experience a number of times.
When I was in college I fell 15 feet through a hole in a roof. It seemed to take forever for me to hit the ground. I was intensely aware of time passing very slowly. The event took less than a minute, but felt like minutes in slow motion for me.
In my work on a crisis response team, as the team captain, I experienced a number of events where the crisis event unfolded in slow motion as my internal sensory awareness of the possible actions available to resolve the crisis sped by in my mind, until I decided upon and took the best action. What felt like plenty of time to resolve the situation internally was observed to those around me as happening in seconds. That is a type of seeing in 3-d and bending time, and it is a function of utilizing mindfulness.
This experience of events happening in slow motion, happens infrequently and has something to do with a heightened level of attention/awareness in concert with some degree of risk or need for heightened awareness. In example, when you see someone about to enter an intersection where they will be confronted by an oncoming vehicle. The event slows externally in your perception as you internally increase or speed up your awareness of everything around you to see if you can act quickly to save the person or avert the accident.
This experience in real life is similar to what the cameras depict in movies where the action is slowing down and the awareness is overly heightened allowing for a protagonist to do exactly what is needed to resolve a dangerous or risky situation. There is in general a heightened risk that requires split second response.
Having a capacity to change your perception of time, or bend time, allows for what appears to be super human skills when responding to emergency situations. Having spent many years in a role of responding to emergency situations, I think it is a gift that also requires development.
The key is mindfulness and a long history in meditation and paradigm assessment and shifting. These activities develop the skill at bending or perceiving time at different speeds or maybe it’s perceiving events at different time speeds.
Practicing meditation and Mindfulness are the best ways to develop your super human skills in response time and time perception. These activities also increase you experience of tasks and events as pleasant and worthwhile.
One interesting fact about time is that from a mathematical perspective, time feels faster and slower in different times of the calendar year. This has to do with the movement of planets and the sun and earth. The equation of time varies over the course of a year, in a way that is almost exactly reproduced from one year to the next. Apparent time, and the sundial, can be ahead (fast) by as much as 16 min 33 s (around 3 November), or behind (slow) by as much as 14 min 6 s (around 12 February).Wikipedia, equation of time.
This is a very comforting piece of information for me since I find that the concept that time is a linear and an exact thing does not fit into my experience of time at all.
Meditation and Mindfulness increase your capacity to see in 3 dimensions and enhance your internal sensory awareness perceptions. It also increases your capacity to assess your environment and shifting paradigm perceptions.
See you tomorrow, which you may perceive as happening slower or faster …..
January 24, 2011 at 10:37 pm
Beth, what kind of work were you doing on the crisis response team? Interesting.
I have had that sort of dramatic time-stretching experience during a car accident. I’ve also had it done to me on purpose, though, so to speak. In my first session of BEST (Bioenergetic Synchronization Technique), done by a chiropractor friend, my main complaint was feeling rushed and like I could never get everything done that I needed to. After the session, for a day or two, there was more time in every minute somehow and everything got done just fine. I have not been able to achieve this on my own, but I notice that some days time goes faster and some days it goes slower.
Really there is no such thing as time– it is ALL a matter of our perceptions. At least, as far as I know!
May 5, 2011 at 11:07 pm
Beth, I was poking around on the internet, and found your article, and it describes several events in my life exactly. One time, I was driving and a bus cut in front of me, and I reacted in “slow motion” (to my perception) by downshifting the transmission (engine-braking), and applying the brakes in a pumping action (later the automotive industry invents anti-lock braking mechanisms for quick braking).
Another time, I was driving on a mountain road which curved to the left (double yellow line), and a voice told me to move to the right of the road and stay there (my guardian angel, I’m sure). I knew I had to keep my two left wheels on the road as I swerved to the right and put my right two wheels on the shoulder of the road (while driving at highway speeds). As soon as I got over to the right, two vehicles appeared to my left – a truck in the far left lane and a jaguar attempting to pass him in my lane (we would have hit head-on if I would have been there). The weird thing was time slowed down as I was looking at the driver of the jaguar and I could experience first his shocked feeling “I’m going to die!”, and then surprise at why my truck was way over to his left, and then an expression of “How could you have known?” flashed across his face, and then an expression of “Thanks!”. All of this happened in a few seconds real time.