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How Experience Shapes Up

 

How does our experience–including stress– arise?  How do the various levels arise in experience?  Is there some natural , hidden dynamic that sets them up?   What shapes their content and generates the ‘realness’ and continuity of entities in our experience?   Does the creative dynamic follow any recognizable pattern or sequence?    Are there ‘points’ where we can feed back into the process and change our experience?   

Summary:

Rather than a ‘faithful’ and direct reflection of what’s happening around us, our experience is normally fabricated unconsciously in a fraction of a second from our sense perceptions, complexes, past habitual tendencies, and complexes; seeing this apperceptive process in action enables us to free ourselves of the stressful effects that it produces.

Example of ‘reality constructing’

Have you ever awakened in the morning to see, first thing, a blank white space?  Lying in bed, gazing into space, and still in “slow motion,” was there no knowledge for a while of anything definite, like the fact that it was a ceiling, or the identification of which room it was, in which direction the body was oriented, what day or time it was?

Did you find that as you very gradually “got up to speed,” ordinary reality started to be pieced together?  Was there a recognition that the body was in a particular room, oriented in a certain direction, but still no knowledge of what day it was? Then a recognition of what day it was, and what time it was? Then against a background of flowing time, was there a familiar sense of being a self at the center of your life? Before long was there thinking about what the self needed to do this day, and a feeling of directedness or movement to get things done?

Years of meditation experience, as well as writings of psychologists and meditation masters, confirm that this process of ‘building up’ ordinary experiential structures doesn’t occur only when we wake up–it seems to occur, largely unknown to us, and much more rapidly, most of the time.  We can refer to this little-known developmental process as apperception*, or the stress development cycle (SDC), or the field communique.**

*footnote:  this is an extension of the common psychological meaning of the word apperception to additional levels of experience.

**footnote:  see, e.g., pp. 17-18, DTS

Psychologist Theodore Jasnos wrote that in our mental lives, “One thought, perception, or image leads to the next. The [nearly instantaneous] process is self-perpetuating and ordinarily goes unexamined.” (Jasnos, 1975, p. 101) . . . “Cognitive awareness normally illuminates . . . [an] object of awareness but not the intrinsic process by which consciousness of the object develops.” (Jasnos, 1975, p. 103)  Furthermore, we’re usually not aware of how the self–considered to be an independent agent ‘having’ perceptions and thoughts–is also a product of the developmental process–“the ‘self’ that we ordinarily try to improve is a generalization of many instantaneous presentings of ‘time’. (Tulku, 1977, p. 178)

We don’t usually see the apperceptive cycle in action

We are usually unaware of this repetitive cycle partly because it’s so quick.  We usually ‘miss’ the early stages of the cycle, only becoming aware of its output ‘product’, our ‘normal’ sense of existing and acting in the world.  Here’s a short description of the almost instantaneous cycle:   “. . . within the fact of uncommittedness there emerge tendencies which develop into feelings and images. These feelings and images introduce the possibility of associations and interpretations. This gives rise to a consolidating thrust that results in the complete pattern of an ‘individual person encountering a world’ or an ’embodied subject knowing physical objects’.” (Tulku, 1977, pp. 32-3)  In just a fraction of a second, subtle habitual tendencies arise and lead to feelings which can be registered as positive or negative , and then ‘owned’ by a sense of self.  Once the self is involved, we may turn further away from the feeling, changing it to what we usually label as stress.

Trungpa describes the cycle this way:  “There seems to be a very rapid buildup and then, poof, the process goes away. And then it starts again. . . . there is a buildup and then this whole building-up process turns to dust. There is a gap, a space. And then either you build up again or you do not. . . . Automatically the process builds up; but before and after that, there is some space.” (Trungpa, 1975, p. 70)

Though it may operate unconsciously for years, if we can learn to see this process in action, its quality gradually changes and the process becomes ‘controllable’.   When awareness, or knowledge, illuminates the  process, it gradually changes.  Depending on the depth of our awareness and the pattern and consistency of how we relate to what has just appeared, we influence what gets projected in later cycles.    “Time’s ‘flow’ is arranged in an orderly way corresponding to what has been experienced or presupposed—and what has been repressed or avoided—regarding the founding dimensions of reality.” (p. 126, TSK)

We can learn to shorten the process and lessen the rigidity of its ‘read-out’–its ‘product’ or ‘output’ experience and world-view.  With continued practice, observing this process in action is probably the most direct and effective way of handling stress, allowing us to transform it earlier and earlier in its originating cycle.   Rather than being an unchangeable or persistent thing that we can only ‘manage’ or adapt to, stress is just a tenuous form of energy that we can learn to change immediately as it arises.

Stages and Sequence of the Stress Development Cycle (SDC)

Jasnos describes the cycle as a creative development of experience:  “[This process can be described by] a developmental model . . . [that shows how] . . . earlier stages in the . . . process are considered to support later stages which occur successively. . . . This sequence is a process of “origination” which escapes recognition by the untrained mind. (Jasnos, 1975, p. 106) . . . Knowledge of the apperceptive process is gained through a very subtle practice . . . .” (Jasnos, 1975, p. 106)

Trungpa summarizes the sequence of stages: [The process] “takes place in a fraction of a second of consciousness . . . .“ “Now the very, very first blank . . . is the . . . experience of the primordial ground. Then the next instant there is a question—you do not know who and what and where you are.” Then “you have an impression of something. It is blank, nothing definite. Then you try to relate to it as something and all the names that you have been taught come back to you and you put a label on that thing. You brand it with that label and then you know your relationship to it. You like it or you dislike it, depending on your association of it with the past. . . . This whole process happens very quickly. It just flashes into place. (Trungpa, 1975, pp. 18-19)

With continued practice [by means of some TSK practices, DTS #4, e.g.], the following levels of the apperceptive process can be distinguished. (Jasnos, 1975, p. 107) These stages or “guideposts” are not intended as an abstract or theoretical system, but as a set of recognizable yet momentary experiential ‘events’ that together constitute the stress development process/cycle. (Jasnos, 1975, p. 107) Note that, in general, the intensity of stress worsens as the cycle progresses from stage 1 to stage 5, with the perception of something as ‘negative’ occurring at stage 4.

  1. “ . . . a precognitive substratum or ground; developmentally the substratum of imagery, dreaming, thought, perception, and feeling . . . out of this substratum emerges differentiation; it is possible to know . . . , but not in the sense that we usually identify an object; by the time the experience evolves into the state where we recognize it as an “experience” it is no longer . . . [level 1].” (Jasnos, 1975, p. 108)
  1. “. . . in this field [stage 1] there is a very fine activity . . . ; the first part . . . before you think; the initial occurrence of activity and movement in the field, . . . the initial activity in a nearly instantaneous process, culminating in grasping, attachment, and abstract thought but is not yet any of these; the basis for a subject-object distinction is only beginning; evasive glimmer of activity; . . . not yet perception, not yet thought. (Jasnos, 1975, p. 110)
  1. “. . . perception, but not yet discrimination and grasping; a totally sharp, located perception; the perception coming into being; the sensing of sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste is made into the perception in an action that arises out of a faint glimmer [stage 2]. (Jasnos, 1975, p. 111)
  1. “. . . just previous to this stage [4], there was perception [stage 3] but no preference; at . . . [this] level the positive or negative bias that infuses the grasping mind is established; movement toward or away from the object of perception is inescapable at this point; we experience a movement toward, away from, or become indifferent to objects in our experience (Jasnos, 1975, p. 117); clear separation and a sense of position; the barest recognition of . . . a center . . . experienced as belonging to me; if . . . [this stage] did not function we would “have no place;” experience of belonging someplace (Jasnos, 1975, p. 112).
  1. [Self-image and ego:] from here on we are in territory more familiar to Western psychology; not only what a person might consciously identify in reference to himself but also unconscious and preconscious processes; beginning with an “I” which experiences; becomes imbued with thoughts such as “I am inadequate . . . lonely . . . or guilty;” when self-image starts, then ego is already there; ego is . . . a more “separate entity like a wall or an object;” ego. . . [implies] an element of proudness (Jasnos, 1975, p. 112-13); the SDC produces “the complete pattern of an ‘individual person encountering a world’ or an ’embodied subject knowing physical objects’.” (Tulku, 1977, p. 34)

Everything that needs to be done is already happening

Sufficient experience exploring the apperceptive process should lead to insight that the self and all of ‘its’ desirable and troublesome conditions  are convincingly real, but momentary and fleeting fabrications that don’t need correcting or changing.  As Trungpa said, “There seems to be a very rapid buildup and then, poof, the process goes away. And then it starts again. . . . there is a buildup and then this whole building-up process turns to dust.” (Trungpa, 1975, p. 70)  Seen in this light, the scenarios clearly have no absolute or fixed, unchangeable nature—unpleasant experiences seem ‘real’ only because of the method of projection, as we discuss in the following section.  We can let the process go, without ‘freezing’ it and then trying to fix what was frozen.

In general, psychological approaches to change start after the apperceptive process has formed a sense of self that ‘has’ a troubling ‘condition’.  The self is seen as independent, stably existent, and rather capable.  “Since we consider ourselves to be separate objects in time, continuous in a changing world, we try to hold the ‘self’ and other familiar objects down, treating them as being relatively stable and fixed.” (p. 23, Interview with Tarthang Tulku)  Then presuming that the self is an effective and stable change agent, we attempt to alter troublesome psychological conditions. But since “the ‘self’ that we ordinarily try to improve is a generalization of many instantaneous presentings of ‘time'” (Tulku, 1977, p. 178), using a psychological approach is very similar to trying to change what happens to a particular character on the screen during a movie, not realizing that the movie itself is a bewildering fabrication.

Fabricating continuity of time and self from discrete momentary experiences

But can a series of discrete mini-events (micro-code) within this apperceptive process generate our apparently authentic  feeling of ordinary existence and reality?

Consider a first-level scenario:  We believe we are the independently capable selves felt at the center of our lives, the selves that apparently are responsible, do the thinking, make the decisions, and sometimes have problematic conditions.  We are identified with the self complex. But just as the convincing reality while watching a movie depends on the speed with which it’s projected, the perceived reality of our selves and all the objects and events within our stories may depend on a rapid sequencing of apperceptive cycles.  Just as a movie is actually a series of still images, “the experience of oneself  relating to other things is actually a momentary discrimination, a fleeting thought.  If we generate these fleeting thoughts fast enough, we can create the illusion of continuity and solidity. It is like watching a movie, the individual film frames are played so quickly that they generate the illusion of continual movement. So we build up an idea, a preconception, that self and other are solid and continuous.” (Trungpa,  The Myth of Freedom, p. 13)

So the apparently continuous movie of life, with the convincingly ‘real’ self at center stage, may be a fabrication of individual mini-events that occur and are ‘assembled’ very rapidly.

Neurologist Oliver Sacks also suggests a cinematographic model to understand the continuity of things and events:  “One level of brain activity*** may be working automatically, while another, the conscious level, is fashioning a perception of time, a perception which is elastic, and can be compressed or expanded. . . . There is much to suggest that conscious perception (at least, visual perception) is not continuous but consists of discrete moments, like the frames of a movie, which are then blended to give an appearance of continuity.” (p. 64)

***footnote:   Trungpa’s ‘fleeting thoughts’?

Similarly, but in a more detailed account of what’s actually happening in our experience, Dr. Charalampos Mainemelis, a professor at the London Business School, suggests that we “draw a distinction between direct–or immediate–and ordinary experience.  Direct  experience  is the  experience  of the immediate  present  moment and consists of fleeting apprehended  instants,  which in and  of themselves  are atemporal:  they are instantaneous  impressions  of an external  reality characterized  by heterogeneity  and nonlinear  patterns  of change. . . . as the instants  of direct experience  are processed . . . they are linked  to one another  and  experienced  as an inner duration . . . as states  . . . lasting  for a moment  and  then  fading  away,  but  which  are also  infinite  because  they permeate  each  other, living and  disappearing   within  each  other  as a continuous  and  holistic  flow of events.  As inner duration  is  generated   by instants  that  contain one another,  the  self  is made  up by states  that generate  each  other . . . .

“[Philosopher Henri] Bergson saw  this process  as  a kind of cinematographic  operation:  consciousness  takes several snapshots  of reality; it keeps a record of them by means  of inner  duration;  it arranges   them  successively   side  by  side  to  form  a  reel;  and  it projects  the reel back  to space  “in high  speed,” creating  the  illusion  of a uniform  linear  movement  that  progresses   through  an  invisible  homogeneous  medium of  “time.” . . .  Time,  however, exists  only in the apparatus.

“Without  inner duration  there  would be no becoming–only  instantaneous  experience.   Without the notion  of time, the self would  be a heterogeneous  multiplicity  of impressions   varying infinitely  across  different  moments  in terms  of qualities,  evolution.  and  acts. By inventing  time,  consciousness   is, in fact, creating an abstract homogeneous  medium,  in which the self can change, age, and  evolve while paradoxically always  enduring.  In other words, by projecting  inner  duration  to the external  world, consciousness temporalizes external change into “before and  after” –into    past,  present, and future states–and ascribes  to the self and other objects  a  lasting   ontological   quality   that  endures  through  change  and  goes beyond  the experiential  moment of recognition.

“Ordinary   experience,   then,  is the  experience of the  present   moment  as  integrated  in  a  sequence  of other moments  and  events–as  a tiny link attached  to an infinite  chain  of experiences and  instants.  Ordinary  experience  presupposes the notion of time, but direct experience is timeless.” (Mainemelis, pp. 549-550)

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(Linear) time is bad for our health and well-being!

Summary

How is the experience of time related to pain, stress, disease, and health?  Are there ways to change the experience of stress and pain by changing our experience of time?

With experience as a physician in both East and West, Dr. Stephan Rechtschaffen sees dire consequences if we don’t change our experience of time: “Until we learn to control time consciously, our lives will continue to speed away from us, and we won’t even notice the beauty or the events around us. We’ll simply be left with the feeling that something’s missing, something’s disappeared.” (p. 14, Time Shifting)  And it’s not a matter of just feeling stressed out:  “By living in mental time–in a speeded-up world–with the resultant repression of emotional issues, we increase the chance of disease.” (p. 171)   However, “If we can think of time in a different way, if we become aware that it contains myriad rhythms and that any individual moment can be expanded or contracted under our control, then I believe we can make time our servant–and in doing so, fill our lives with happiness and health to a degree most of us don’t experience and cannot even imagine.” (p. 3)  “The misuse of time in today’s society should lead to a ‘time movement’.” (p. 226)  Such a movement has been started–see   http://www.tskassociation.org/time-movement.html

(Linear) time is bad for our health!

“Beat the Clock” was the name of a TV show that was popular years ago. To win prizes, contestants had to complete certain tasks within short periods of time. It was fun to watch the people race around, make mistakes, and get frazzled. Unfortunately, for many of us “Beat the Clock” would be a good title for our lives, where we’re the frazzled contestants racing against time. Do you have too much to do, and not enough time? Is the only ‘solution’ to race against time and just put up with the extra stress? Most of us think so. “Our lives have turned into a grueling race toward a finish line we never reach.” (Jay Walljasper, Utne Reader)

“Many people now find that they live in a rush they don’t want and didn’t create, or at least didn’t mean to create. If you feel busier now than you’ve ever been before, and if you wonder if you can keep up this pace much longer, don’t feel alone. Most of us feel slightly bewildered, realizing we have more to do than ever–with less time to do it.”  (p. 4, Crazy Busy)    As mentioned in an ABC news video some years ago, “many of us are now in a hurry most of the time,” and have the strong feeling that we don’t have enough time.   These mental and physiological habits strongly and adversely affect our health and well-being.

Dr. Stephan Rechtschaffen wrote, “I would say that 95 percent of the stress in our lives relates to our feeling of time poverty.” (p. 48, Time Shifting)  “Unless we consciously learn to control time in our lives, the stress we suffer will only get worse. . . . Until we learn to control time consciously, our lives will continue to speed away from us . . . .”  (p. 14)  And it’s not a matter of just feeling stressed out:  “By living in mental time–in a speeded-up world–with the resultant repression of emotional issues, we increase the chance of disease.” (p. 171)

In 1988, when things were probably less hectic than today, French CEO and journalist Servant-Schreiber wrote, “Unfortunately, the poor use of our time does not make us fat, and so its effects are less visible.  That may be why the problem has not yet been given national priority. Nevertheless, it can make us as sick as overeating.  Ulcers, heart attacks, and cancers are created in the furrows of stress . . . . In a sense, this situation is much more serious, because many more people suffer from stress than from obesity.” (p. 31, The Art of Time)

Our modern culture of ADD and turmoil

Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, who specialized in diagnos­ing and treating ADD for twenty-five years, wrote, “I have come to see it as a metaphor for modern life . . . . Once applicable only to a relative few, the symptoms of ADD now seem to describe just about everybody.

“People with untreated ADD rush around a lot, feel impa­tient wherever they are, love speed, get frustrated easily, lose locus in the middle of a task or a conversation because some ether thought catches their attention, bubble with energy but struggle to pay attention to one issue for more than a few sec­onds, talk fast or feel at a loss for words, often forget where they’re going or what they’re going to get, have bright ideas but can’t implement them, fail to complete what they’re doing, have many projects going simultaneously but chronically postpone completing them, make decisions impulsively because their brain’s circuitry is overloaded, feel they could do a lot more if they could just get it together, get angry easily when interrupted, feel powerless over the piles of stuff that surround them, resolve each day to do better tomorrow, and in general feel busy beyond belief but not all that productive.

“Many people who do not have true ADD do have many of those symptoms these days. You might say they suffer from a se­vere case of modern life.” (p. 8, Crazy Busy)

“Most of us do try to do too much in too little time . . . . Owing to the conditioning we’ve received in the past ten years [from 1996-2006], some of us are simply un­able to slow down.

“Others frankly don’t want to. . . . No one needs to read three newspapers every day, check e-mail every ten minutes, make or take scores of phone calls every day, and channel surf during all conversations, tuning out the mo­ment stimulation subsides. These are habits some people de­velop simply because such habits make them feel charged up, as if doing a lot fast puts them on the cutting edge of life.

“In today’s world, free time or down time-time to do noth­ing but just hang out and think or feel or listen and watch-has become as rare as silence. Instead, we hop to. Gotta have action. Keep driving, don’t stop for long, don’t pause to linger, wonder, or think. . . . the modern imperative is to keep moving, eyes roaming, attention on scan, cell phone in hand.  Look at our popular movies. Long on action, special effects, quick cuts, and fast pace. Short on character.” (p. 58)

“What’s our hurry? Why, as the novelist Milan Kundera points out, is speed our new form of ecstasy? In fact, both speed and ecstasy are slang terms for drugs of abuse, drugs that can make you high. But even without taking a drug, mod­ern culture associates going faster with being happier as well as smarter.

“Neither makes sense. There is no correlation between a fast life and a happy life. Indeed, if anything there is a negative cor­relation, as fast lives tend to be stressful.” (p. 121)

Cultural turmoil and violence

“The misuse of time in today’s society should lead to a ‘time movement’.” (p. 226, Time Shifting, 1996)  (Actually, such a movement has been started–see   http://www.tskassociation.org/time-movement.html  )  “If we cannot incorporate the ability to timeshift to a slower beat, . . . then, as Alvin Toffler points out, the shattering stress and disorientation caused by too much change in too short a time will overwhelm us.  Indeed, in many cases, it already has, as evidenced in the cacophony, the shattered relationships, the violence, and the greed that surround us.”  (pp. 229-230, Time Shifting)

How has this ‘time sickness’ and modern turmoil come about?  Here’s an explanation by meditation master Tarthang Tulku:

“We readily take on old patterns collected and transmitted down to us. Our thoughts and sense experience, our emotions and moods combine and edit . . . previous patternings to fit the present situation. . . . As the past accumulates layer by layer, its weight exerts an ever stronger pressure on the present. . . . Much of what amasses, however, has no apparent direction or meaning . . . . There are simply more names, more images, . . . more to cope with and engage, more to direct, more to absorb and deal with. The  experience  of  processing  this  expanding  and proliferating transmission can leave us feeling almost stunned.  We  experience  the  weight  of  time  pressing in on us, active in the obligations of ordinary reality and  the  obscuration  that  clouds  our  comprehension. Time  that  has  been  strongly  dimensioned  exerts  a pressure  that  is  almost  tangible,  pervading  our  lives, our circumstances, and the repetitive patterns of our thoughts.  The  production  of  new  stimuli  far  exceeds our ability to consume them.

“When the past-centered identities of each moment shape our present responses, emotionality builds. . . . Externally there are sudden shifts in the temper of the times and the play of circumstances.

“Today we live in times when such trends have moved into the foreground for everyone to see. Tendencies that have accumulated through history are coming together. Like streams flowing into a river, they feed the force of time’s current until it threatens to rush out of control.”  (pp. 86-8, Dynamics of Time and Space)

The relationship of linear time, stress, pain, and disease

What’s the toll of this turmoil on most individuals?   Dr. Larry Dossey is a physician who thoroughly investigated the question of how the experience of time relates to pain and disease.  Here’s an excerpt from his book titled Space, Time, and Medicine:

“Just as Pavlov’s dogs learned to salivate inappropriately we have learned to hurry inappropriately. Our sense of urgency is set off not by a real need to act quickly, but through learned cues. Our “bells” have become the watch, the alarm clock, the morning coffee, and the hundreds of self-inflicted expectations that we build into our daily routine. . . . Our sense of urgency results in a speeding of some of our body’s rhythmical functions, such as the heart rate and respiratory rate. Exaggerated rises in the blood pressure may follow, along with increases in blood levels of specific hormones that are involved in the body’s response to stress. Thus, our perceptions of speeding clocks and vanishing time cause our own biological clocks to speed. . . . the end result is frequently some form of ‘hurry sickness’–expressed as heart disease, high blood pressure, or depression of our immune function, leading to an increased susceptibility to infection and cancer.” (p. 49)

“We determine our own reality by mirroring our perceptions of a fleeting time in our body’s function. Having convinced ourselves through the aid of clocks, watches, beeps, ticks, and a myriad of other cultural props that linear time is escaping, we generate maladies in our bodies that assure us of the same thing–for the ensuing heart disease, ulcers, and high blood pressure reinforce the message of the clock: we are running down, eventually to be swept away in the linear current of the river of time. For us, our perceptions have become our reality.

CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

“Our sense of time is not only a major determinant in our awareness of pain, it affects our health by influencing the development and course of specific diseases. This is nowhere more obvious that in persons who have been called Type A individuals by Friedman and Rosenman. Type A persons have ‘hurry sickness.’ Their lives are oriented around goals, deadlines, and objectives, which they seem to react to in a driven fashion. They are unable to approach a task in a healthy, balanced way, but in extreme cases seem almost consumed by a need to accomplish and achieve.

“Not only do they have an inward sense of urgency, their outward behavior suggests the same quality. When sitting they may be in constant motion, not only with thoughts, but with body parts–hands, fingers, legs, feet. They are usually vocal, verbally expressing the products of a mind that cannot rest. This behavior frequently generates discomfort and tension in those around them.

“It is as if Type A persons are ‘time sick.’ They resemble patients who are in chronic pain in that they have an acute sense of time. Only in this case, unlike the person experiencing pain, there is never enough of it. . . .  (p. 50)

“Time sickness is not merely a colorful appellation, it is an actual illness possessed by the group as a whole. It is not just that Type A persons may experience excessive anxiety, that they may be more nervous and discomfited than their Type B counterparts, in which case their hurry sickness might be counted only as a nuisance or a bother. The problem is worse than a nuisance: Type A individuals, as a group, die earlier. Their behavior puts them at risk for the most frequent cause of death in our society, coronary artery disease.

“The importance of the exaggerated response to time, the sense of urgency displayed by Type A individuals, is that it is translated into physiologic effects. These effects are pervasive and are seen long before heart disease supervenes. These physiological events are so characteristic of time-sick persons, they could be called the time syndrome. Among them are increased heart rate and blood pressure at rest; elevation of certain blood hormones such as adrenalin, norepinephrine, insulin, growth hormone, and hydrocortisone, all of which are ordinarily secreted in an exaggerated way during times of urgency or stress; increased gastric acid secretion; increased blood cholesterol; an increased respiratory rate; increased secretory activity of sweat glands; and increased muscle tension throughout the body. The time syndrome is a body-mind process with effects on all major systems. It is not simply a conscious experience of unpleasant feelings.” (p. 51)

“Many illnesses–perhaps most–may be caused either wholly or in part by our misperception of time. . . . I am convinced that we can destroy ourselves through the creation of illness by perceiving time in a linear, one-way flow.” (p. 21)

“The chronic misjudgment of the nature of time should be seen for what it really is: chronic disease itself. It is a silent process, but for many of us an inexorable one leading to disease which can be fatal. We do not ordinarily judge it in these terms, of course, and too frequently ascribe our sense of time urgency to ‘nerves.’ Having misjudged the cause of our distress, we misjudge the solutions– tranquilizers and alcohol are too often the most commonly trusted antidotes.” (p. 166)

Learning a new sense of timelessness

“Persons who experience pain ordinarily live in a contracted or constricted time sense. Minutes seem like hours when one is hurting. Because the time sense is constricted, pain is magnified-sometimes far beyond what seems appropriate. Are there ways to intervene in painful situations, ways to manipulate the sense of time by expanding it? Can we lessen pain by “stretching” the time sense?”  (p. 46)

Evidently so.  Here’s a transcript from one of Dr. Dossey’s physician patients who learned biofeedback therapy to deal with headaches: “I watch the River of Time flow gently for a while . . . . The river slowly starts to curve so much that it begins to flow back on itself, gradually forming a complete circle. . . . the circular River of Time . . . starts to flood its banks inwardly . . . . and as it continues a giant lake is formed. . . . The surface becomes calm and still, reflective as a mirror. . . . time itself, has ceased to flow. . . . This timeless Lake of Time is indescribably serene, like a high alpine lake you encounter unexpectedly and never want to leave. It fills me with a sense of peace and I stay there feeling the stillness of the Lake of Time for as long as I wish. . . .

“This patient had himself learned how to manipulate his sense of time to his clinical advantage. He had learned to experientially slow time and to stop it . . . . His headaches continued to diminish. . . . Events did indeed enter his awareness sequentially, yet this process was entirely divorced from any sensation of a linearly flowing time.”  (p. 20)

Besides this imagery of a river flowing, “There are a variety of images that can be used effectively in manipulating the sensation of pain. The technique which [a patient named] Monica used to abort her discomfort was to visualize the location of her pain as a small glowing red ball. She would focus as intensely as possible on this image, and when it was extremely vivid she would cause the ball to begin to move, ever so slowly, outside her body. She would center the ball about six feet in front of her. Then this small red ball of pain, glowing intensely, would begin to grow. It would enlarge to the size of a basketball, hovering in space. Moreover, it was suspended in time. Monica’s description of this state was that time ‘stood still.’ Although events were ‘still going on,’ such as the red ball continuing to shimmer, time had ceased to flow.”  (p. 173)

“I began to realize that I was witnessing patients becoming healthier through acquiring a new experiential meaning of what time was all about.  My patients were learning a strategy that held serious consequences for the improvement of their health.” (p. 21)

“As we learn to meditate, or when we become familiar with the states of consciousness that are peculiar to biofeedback, autogenic therapy, or to other techniques employing deep relaxation, we develop a familiarity with a new sense of time. We begin to experience time in new ways. We begin to feel at home with time as it expands. Phrases such as ‘the ever-present now’ and ‘the eternal moment’ become full with meaning. Above all, we develop a friendliness with time.

“As this new regard for time evolves to deeper levels, new understanding unfolds. It becomes apparent that one of the motivating forces behind our old way of reacting toward the passage of time (p. 52) was fear–an indisputable feeling that took the form of busying ourselves in needless motion. This frenetic behavior begins to appear as a defense against time, a resistance that assumes its final form in our individual, silent protest against death itself.

“All time-driven events such as illness and demise begin to appear less menacing. Events in our daily lives such as tragic happenings, which used to stir us reflexively to remorse, now evoke less painful responses. We see the world differently through a new time. And as we learn to see a friendlier face of time, the mask of death itself becomes transformed–if not into a smile, perhaps at least without a frown.” (pp. 52-3)

“Perhaps it is not surprising that most great religions have always prescribed methods such as prayer and meditation . . . in practicing these disciplines one quickly discovers that the experience of time changes. It ceases to flow; and experientially one feels enveloped by the stillness of which all the great mystics have spoken.” p. 30

Treatments for linear time

“Almost all substances that we [physicians] use to treat severe pain modify the patient’s sense of time. Patients who receive these medications do not say, of course, that their time sense was altered, but they respond with statements such as ‘that medicine made me float!’ or ‘I became really drowsy,’ or ‘I forgot where I was.’

“There simply is no good vocabulary to use in describing these events which occur hourly in every major hospital. What does a patient mean when, after receiving pain medication, he says, ‘I really lost track of things for a while,’ or ‘That medicine really ‘zonked’ me,’ or ‘That stuff ‘bombed’ me out?’ Undoubtedly altered time perception is one of the hidden meanings in such statements.

“Not only drugs but other techniques as well do much to alter the time sense and have become valuable adjuncts to controlling pain. Hypnosis is one such example, and is of incalculable value for some patients in pain control. Biofeedback, which relies heavily on imagery and visualization in achieving physiologic self-control, has a marked effect on modifying time perception. Meditation, autogenic therapy, and progressive relaxation have similar effects. In fact, any device or technique that expands one’s sense of time can be used as an analgesic!

“It is important to realize that when we experience a technique that diminishes pain through expanding our time sense, we are not merely exercising self-deception. We are not fooling ourselves into thinking the pain is not there. Evidence is solid that mental states can evoke actual changes in brain physiology, changes that alter pain perception.” (p. 47)

“Most persons learn these skills easily and they come to enjoy the imagery process. Why? The new mode of time perception feels good. To be forever bogged down in a sense of time urgency is defeating. Stress and anxiety for most of us are unbearable without periodic alleviation. Thus, to involve oneself in a new mode of time perception is to experience good feelings.

“We have seen earlier that participation in the states of consciousness that we typify as being serene, calm, and relaxed generate physiological changes that can be measured. The changes that occur are as real as those produced by any drug. Changes in hormonal levels in the blood, variations in heart rate and blood pressure, and changes in levels of muscle tension and blood flow to certain regions of the body accompany a subject’s imagery efforts. Thus, since the processes of imagery and visualization are [sometimes] involved in these states, we can begin to see these processes as potent therapeutic agents. They are ‘medicine’ in the truest sense, as real as drugs and surgical procedures.” (p. 167)

“The physician, nurse, or therapist who aids the patient in pain is more than a dispenser of analgesics. He can be a guide. He can be one who shows the sufferer the way through the corridors of time to the still point where time ceases to flow, and where pain abates. And the patient, the suffering patient–how can we avoid the conclusion?–becomes a time traveler.” (p. 174)

The construction of time

Following is a transcript of a dialog between Jiddhu Krishnamurti and David Bohm from The Ending of Time.  Although it may require careful reading and consideration, from this transcript you may be able to understand how our sense of time flow is the result of separating ourselves from a painful feeling.

J. Krishnamurti broaches the possibility of ending psychological time:

K: Now how am I . . . to be free of time? . . . Can time as thought come to a stop? The memory of experiences, hurts, attachments . . . can come to an end when the very perception asks, what is it? What is hurt? What is psychological damage? The perception of it is the ending of it. Not carrying it over, which is time. The very ending of it is the ending of time. . . .

Trying to understand Krishnamurti’s proposition, David Bohm focuses the discussion on a specific example of being hurt:

DB: The first thing is that there has been a hurt. That is the image [of ‘me’ being hurt], but at first I don’t separate it. I feel identified with it.

K: I am that.

DB: I am that. But then I draw back, and say that I think there must be a ‘me’ who can do something.

K: Yes, can operate on it.

DB: Now that takes time.

K: That is time. . . . Let’s go slowly into it. I am hurt. That is a fact. Then I separate myself—there is a separation—saying, I will do something about it.

[Note the importance of simply feeling the hurt rather than separating from it, as discussed in Chapter Five.]

DB: The ‘me’ who will do something is different. . . . It projects into the future a different state.

K: Yes. I am hurt. There is a separation, a division. The ‘me’, which is always pursuing the becoming [In this dialog, the word ‘becoming’ refers to the ego trying to become something], says, I must control it. I must wipe it out. I must act upon it . . . . So this movement of separation is time.” (p. 72)

DB: . . . A person is thinking that the hurt exists independently of ‘me’, and I must do something about it. I project into the future the better state and what I will do. . . So I am hurt and I will become non-hurt. Now that very thought maintains the hurt.

K: That’s right. . . .

DB: Now if you don’t maintain it, what happens? Suppose you say, I won’t go on with this becoming?

K: Ah, that is quite a different matter. It means I am no longer thinking, no longer observing, or using time as an observation.

DB: You could say that is not your way of looking. It is not your theory any more.

K: That’s right. . . .

DB: Because you could say time is a theory which everybody adopts for psychological purposes.

K: Yes. That is the common factor; time is the common factor of man. And we are pointing out time is an illusion . . .

DB: Psychological time.

K: Of course, that is understood.

DB: Are you saying that when we no longer approach this through time, then the hurt does not continue?

K: It does not continue, it ends—because you are not becoming anything.

DB: In becoming you are always continuing what you are.

K: That’s right. Continuing what you are, modified . . .

DB: If man feels something is out of order psychologically he then brings in the notion of time, and the thought of becoming, and that creates endless problems. [This last statement is from p. 23.]

Thus Krishnamurti also said, “I want to abolish time, psychologically. . . . If psychological time doesn’t exist, then there is no conflict, there is no ‘me’, no ‘I’, which is the origin of conflict.” (pp. 14-15)

Healing pain

In the following quotes from Dynamics of Time and Space, Tarthang Tulku uses the word time in a broader sense than just psychological or linear time, as the word is used in the above excerpt. With this provision, however, one can see remarkable similarities in content.

When we lose contact with time, we have cut the dynamic central to our lives. . . . Subjectively, there is the sense that time is flickering, like a film not properly adjusted on its reel . . . . There is strain that goes nowhere. . . . These structures are in place before consciousness fully forms. . . . they give rise to nervous agitation or uneasy pain . . . .

If the momentum of time’s forward conducting persists, the agitation and its underlying ‘flickering’ intensify. Suddenly there is an abrupt break, as if the reel of film . . . had snapped. Everything freezes—movement vanishes. . . . Pain has been transformed into the fixed and rigid structures of linear time. Consciousness emerges into a temporal order in which time is a hostile force . . . . Time in its pastness grinds us down . . . feeding us the lifeless recordings of the past and the seductive fascinations of the future.

Caught in this fabricated past and future, we are divided against ourselves. Our knowledge and energy are spread across the linear length of the temporal order. Thus, when we set a goal, we assign a part of our constructed identity to that goal. Now it is as though a part of us was ‘out there’ in the future along with our projection, pinned against the temporal horizon of the present moment.

Increasingly confined, we find it deeply disturbing just to inhabit the successive moments of our lives. . . . The specific ‘point’ of time that we occupy lacks all capacity to hold time’s dynamic. Life goes out of the present, drained away ‘across’ time.

We may respond by withdrawing into a dull numbness that has a quality almost like being shocked or stunned. . . . In our worn-out dullness, we are like a baby that has cried itself into exhausted sleep.

If we could awaken at this point to the feeling of pain, we would actually be close to the original dynamic of the time that we have lost. But this alternative is not available, for we are too closely identified with the pain. As ‘I’ merge with ‘having the pain’, I become the victim of what objectified time has presented. I possess the pain and am possessed by it; in this feedback I repossess it, tightening its hold. Awareness arises only in the wake of recognition, and so can lead only in the direction of further identification.  Accepting the reality of the pain assures its continuation. (pp. 295-7)

Through a direct focus on the painness of pain, this ready interpretation can be recast or re-projected. If there is no ‘I’ as subject—no one making efforts with regard to the pain—there will be no pain to be identified. As pain enters experience and is projected into awareness, it is received without labels and identifications and reactions. There is nothing to be conditioned and no one to be caught. Without the subjective framework, pain is stripped of its solidity.

. . . In this new arriving of what time presents, the logic of temporality defeats itself. The past is gone, the future not yet arrived, the present too short: ‘I’ am nowhere. (p. 305)

————————————-

These excerpts show the importance of the full perception–rather than avoidance–of painful experiences, preventing the rigid construction of linear time.  Understanding how time is fabricated from the self separating from painful experience can be very helpful in relaxing and opening up pain.  The second excerpt gives clear instructions on how to dissolve pain:  Although “accepting the reality of the pain assures its continuation,” “Through a direct focus on the painness of pain, this ready interpretation can be recast or re-projected. If there is no ‘I’ as subject—no one making efforts with regard to the pain—there will be no pain to be identified. As pain enters experience and is projected into awareness, it is received without labels and identifications and reactions. . . . Without the subjective framework, pain is stripped of its solidity.

Healing Time and Pain exercise

The following exercise can be very helpful in relieving pain.  Rather than a visualization of some kind, it directly and openly explores different aspects of experience without any manipulation or effort to change anything. The initial instructions (first three paragraphs) should help relax and loosen up mental and physical tension, while the rest of the instructions address pain from several different perspectives, leading up to a direct shift in the way it’s normally perceived.  Of course you can practice any part of this exercise that seems especially helpful.  A narrated version of this exercise can be found at http://www.tskassociation.org/pain-management.html

[ ” . . . ” signifies a pause.]

You can first explore the physical and emotional tension in your body. Imagine yourself as a tiny point of awareness. As that tiny point of awareness, travel through your body exploring particularly the areas in which there is tension, pain, or a feeling of heaviness. . . . Move through the space of the body, and when you encounter some heaviness, pain, or density, travel through it and allow it to open up. . . . You can also allow the size of the visualized body to change. It might expand and become more spacious, allowing you to more freely travel through the densities and feelings. . . . Continue, and allow the space and awareness to become lighter and more open.

Now you can relax the mind. Observe how thoughts arise and then disappear. In the movement from one thought to another, a kind of force or energy accompanies specific thoughts, creating a momentum that pulls or draws thought forward. . . . Some thoughts seem very large and heavy, while others are smaller and lighter. Each thought may have a different weight or gravitational pull. Observe this gravity of thinking in operation. . . .

Where do the thoughts come from?. . . Where do the thoughts go?. . . What happens in the interval between one thought and the next? . . . Watch very sensitively for the moment when one thought fades and another arises. There may be a space available which you can contact and even expand. . . . In this space does the ordinary flow of time occur? . . .

Notice how the mind, the body, and pain and emotional feeling interact. Notice how they change from moment to moment. . . . You may also notice tendencies for the self to intervene and ignore or push away the intensity of feeling. . . . There may be a tendency for the self to remain outside the feelings and to simply observe what is happening from a distance. . . . a tendency for the self to comment on and think about the situation but not be totally involved in it. . . . Notice the complex interrelating among self, sensations, mind, thoughts, emotions, body, and other, which constitutes this situation. . . . Notice the tendency to control, or own or disown different aspects of the scenario, to draw them towards the self, or to push them away from the self.

When there is pain, we often maintain some kind of position or point of view that is separate from the place where the pain is located. See if you are aware of an observing position, a sense of self, or a sense of identity, that is being maintained apart from the pain. . . . Allow yourself to feel the firmness or rigidity of any such position. This position is usually distant from another place where the pain is located. There may be a tendency to ignore, control, or push away pain by keeping it at a distance. . . . Allow yourself to become aware of any other painful position. . . . Then become aware of the boundary or energy between the two positions. Notice how the two positions divide up the space. . . .

Let the contrasted positions of the observer and observed pain, and their associated thoughts and stories communicate with each other, while you simply listen to the stories and observe what’s happening in a neutral way. . . . At first the thoughts and positions may alternate in prominence or weight as you observe, but as you continue, they might both be present at the same time, carrying equal weight or significance. . . . Watch how the prominence of the positions changes over time.

In the same way that you did with your body, allow a tiny point of awareness to travel through the two spaces of observer and observed sensation, and open up the separation and the boundary between the spaces. . . . See whether the sense of distance between the two positions or points of view diminishes. . . . Notice whether the positions are any less definite from what they were originally. See whether the boundary between the two spaces has changed in any way. Is there any kind of space that includes the two positions now?

Continue the exploration, attending to pain in all its forms. . . . Cultivate the intention of healing the pain. . . . Let pain contact awareness directly, allowing its staccato throbbing to be fully present. . . . Let pain and awareness fully commingle, so that neither is at all apart from, or separate from the other. . . . If the pain is still ‘sharp’, or if time still occupies sharply defined ‘points’ or moments, bring more awareness to the breath, and gradually let the breathing slow down. . . . Eventually there may be no ordinary sense of moments, or time passing. . . . There may be no sense of identity that is distant from, or apart from, the sensation. . . . By relaxing into pain, you may find there is only sensation, without a sense of ‘I’ that is a target for, or victim of, the sensation. . . . Awareness and sensation can be in direct touch without confrontation, effort, or control. . . Without a doer or thinker, and without the labelling and distancing of what’s happening, there is only sensation, not pain. . . . There may be a way of relating directly and immediately to the sensation that is no longer sharply painful, an immediate way of relating that occurs ‘within’ or ‘beneath’ the ordinary flow of time. As long as there is no rejecting and identifying with sensation, there will be no getting stuck in it. Sensation can appear as movement and energy, yet not have the character of pain. . . . Contacting this energy of time directly, ‘beneath’ the ordinary flow of time, the entire situation can be opened up; the energy of pain can be turned toward release. Nothing is established or identified, nothing grasped or rejected or taken hold of in any way.

This exercise is an amalgamation and edit of a number of exercises from two books by Tarthang Tulku, Time, Space, and Knowledge, and Dynamics of Time and Space.

Bibliography

ABC news report on time pressure, 1999.

Dossey, Larry, M.D., (1982). Space, Time and Medicine. Boston & London: Shambhala.

Hallowell, Edward M. (2006). CrazyBusy. New York:  Ballantine Books.

Krishnamurti, Jiddhu, and David Bohm (1985).  The Ending of Time.  San Francisco:  Harper & Row.

Rechtschaffen, S. (1996). Time Shifting. New York: Doubleday.

Servan-Schreiber, Jean-Louis (1988). The Art of Time. Reading, Massachusetts:  Addison-Wesley.

Tulku, Tarthang (1994). Dynamics of Time and Space (DTS). Berkeley, CA: Dharma Publishing.

Tulku, Tarthang (1977). Time,  Space, and Knowledge  (TSK). Berkeley, CA: Dharma Publishing.

Walljasper, Jay.  (1997).   “The Speed Trap,” Utne Reader, Mar-Apr 1997

The biggest misconception in time management

I found this post on a discussion forum on the web:

“The idea of “Time Management” is one of the biggest misconceptions of all.  There are only twenty-four hours in every day and we can’t stretch or shrink time.  Thus we can’t ‘manage’ time, we can only manage ourselves in relation to the time we have.  Time is unique because it is finite.  Time is the only resource that must be spent the instant it is received.  Many people miss the point about effective time management.  Good Time Management techniques will save you at least one hour a day and maybe more, but the real question is; what will you do with the extra time?”

Perhaps the main proposition here is that (1) time management is a misconception because (2) there are only 24 hours in a day and (3) we can’t stretch or shrink time.   But if we all have 24 hours in a day, what do we mean when we say “I don’t have time!”?  Obviously we’re not talking about clock time, but we are expressing something. And if time “must be spent the instant it is received,” what do we mean when we say time management can “save you at least one hour a day”?  So I agree that there is considerable confusion in the way we talk about time and time management.

For sure, our Western cultures teach that when we talk about time, we usually mean physical time or its measurement, clock time.   And perhaps the only way we can change physical, or event time itself is to travel near the speed of light in some kind of rocket.    So, yes, in the sense that we don’t (except during space travel) change physical time itself, we do not ‘manage time’.

But does time management only work with physical time?  Besides clock and physical time, there is also psychological time, inner time, felt time, experiential time, or a number of other terms pointing to another, inner type of time–time as feeling or experience.

This third face of time is probably the most important for our happiness, although it’s also probably the face that is least known, least understood, and most undervalued. Here I will call it felt or experiential time. Felt time includes all the different ways we feel or experience time. We may feel time move quickly when we’re having ‘a great time’. During some of the best moments of our lives, things slow down or even seem timeless, with little or no feeling of time passing. On the other hand, we feel time ‘drag’ or pass slowly when we’re bored, or having ‘a bad time’.  Thus some times seem ‘long’ and others feel very ‘short’.  And we feel anxious about time when it ‘goes too fast’, or it seems we don’t have enough of it–even though we all have the same 24 hours a day.  Thus the sense of time flowing or passing is actually very flexible, not fixed and limited like physical time.   Experiential time is clearly very changeable–it even seems to disappear ‘sometimes’!  So although there are only 24 clock hours in a day, might there be a possibility that we can learn to stretch or shrink felt or experiential time?

But then again, why would we want to?  We Westerners gradually and implicitly teach our children that time is linear, like an invisible conveyor belt that moves horizontally at a constant and unchangeable speed between past, present, future ‘rooms’ in our experience.  (This image is from anthropologist Edward Hall, The Dance of Life, pp. 78-9.) The trouble is that seeing time linearly causes us to struggle and race against time. Our work is effortful and stressful; time has a kind of built in friction.  In modern times “it feels like our lives have turned into a grueling race toward a finish line we never reach.” (Jay Walljasper, former editor of Utne Reader)   Physician Larry Dossey said, “Many illnesses—perhaps most—may be caused either wholly or in part by our misperception of time. . . . I am convinced that we can destroy ourselves through the creation of illness by perceiving time in a linear, one-way flow.”

So the mental and physiological habit of linear time–although ‘normal’ in many cultures–is bad for our productivity, health, and well-being. Yet conventional time management usually sees linear time flow as ‘normal’, presuming  that  the  river  of  time  really  does  flow between past, present, and future, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.  CTM just tries to make the best of things within the limitations of the river of time, offering  us  different  ways  to  swim  as  we’re  swept  downstream  by  the current.

To my mind the biggest misconception in CTM is that time flows linearly, and we need to somehow just adapt to this flow.  Scientists have never found any flow ‘out there’ in reality.  “The flow of time is clearly an inappropriate concept for the description of the physical world that has no past, present and future” (Thomas Gold, “Relativity and Time” in The Encyclopedia of Ignorance, ed. R. Duncan and M. Weston-Smith (New York: Pergamon, 1977), p. 100.) It’s just an unhealthy mental and physiological habit taught as we grow up in different cultures, and we can learn how to gradually break the habit.

This is where the new field of inner time management (ITM) comes in. Rather than the usual CTM focus on what we want to do, ITM provides methods to directly optimize how we do things, especially our moment-by-moment feelings of time passing.  Its ‘goal’, if we can call it that, is to change our ordinary linear way of experiencing time passing, along with related troublesome feelings—including ‘overwhelm’, time pressure, frustration, boredom, time poverty (the feeling that we don’t have ‘enough time’), anxiety about time, and ‘hurry sickness’–to the timeless state of peak performance.

Research on peak experience and peak performance shows that these experiences are timeless, as well as optimally productive and fulfilling.  According to Dr. Larry Dossey, “In total immersion in a task, whether listening to lungs or weeding vegetable gardens, time is abolished. It stands still.”  (Dossey, Space, Time, and Medicine, p. 34)  According to Stanford business professor Michael Ray: “If you pay attention at every moment . . . you become more efficient, productive, and energetic, focusing without distraction directly on the task in front of you. Not only do you become immersed in the moment, you become that moment.”  (Hunt and Hait, The Tao of Time, p. 67)  Time management instructors Hunt and Hait wrote: “When we live in the now and are totally absorbed by the activity at hand, we become our most positive and productive selves. . . . Engrossed in the now, we slip effortlessly into a no-boundary place in time and space, a timeless dimension where energy abounds and time is irrelevant.”  (Hunt and Hait, p. 66)

So there can be tremendous value in the new field of inner time management (ITM) whereby we can learn to stretch or shrink felt or experiential time–a discipline Dr. Stephan Rechtschaffen called Time Shifting (1996, Doubleday).  For more information about ITM, see http://www.tskassociation.org/time-movement.html    So, time management doesn’t change or manage physical time itself, but there is a type of little-known inner time management that focuses on our experience of time, taking as its goal ‘movement’ toward the timeless zone of peak performance.

“Unfortunately, the poor use of our time does not make us fat, and so its effects are less visible.  That may be why the problem has not yet been given national priority. Nevertheless, it can make us as sick as overeating.  Ulcers, heart attacks, and cancers are created in the furrows of stress . . . . In a sense, this situation is much more serious, because many more people suffer from stress than from obesity.” (Servant-Schreiber, The Art of Time, p. 31)   “The misuse of time in today’s society should lead to a ‘time movement’.” (Rechtschaffen, p. 226)  “Unless we consciously learn to control time in our lives, the stress we suffer will only get worse. . . . Until we learn to control time consciously, our lives will continue to speed away from us . . . .”  (Rechtschaffen, p. 14)

Mastering Linear Time workshop, Section 5 Script

Mastering Linear Time

Mastering Linear Time workshop, script for Section 5

Title slide

This is the last of five sections in the workshop on mastering linear time.

A measure of time stress

We can take a simple measure of time stress, so we can compare levels of stress that we experience, and then learn to control the stress.

On a scale from 0-10, where 0 = the least and 10 = the most, how much stress do you feel about time right now?  Make a mental note about what this number is right now.

Giant Body exercise series

Slides

1:

Here’s an adaptation of the Giant Body exercise series from the first TSK book.

Breathing through both mouth and nose, be aware of any sensation, or feeling in or on the body

Let awareness and feeling merge. . . . There’s no need to try to change anything

As things change, awareness can be drawn to other feelings. There’s a natural movement of awareness

Awareness can operate and interact with feeling at different levels of magnification or size

2:

As the interaction of awareness and feeling proceeds, see if there are any persistent feelings or structures

Do these continue to persist, or do they become more open?

Do they have some kind of feeling of reality, existence, or a substantial quality?

Is awareness hindered from interacting or merging with such structures  or surfaces?

3:

Is there any awareness of size or shape related to various structures or regions?

Does the sense of size or shape come and go?

Is there any sense of extension in space, or a feeling of being located in an infinite ‘container’?

4:

Is there any distinction whatsoever between awareness and the structures or surfaces? If so, what makes the difference?

How do the forms or outlines seem to exist, to feel ‘real’?

Do the forms or outlines seem to somehow be imaginary or ‘unreal’?

————–

Notes:

While breathing through both mouth and nose gently, smoothly, and continuously, allow awareness to be drawn to any sensation, density, pain, heaviness, emotion, or other feeling in or on the body. . . . Let awareness and feeling merge , or let awareness arise from any feeling that is not completely open and spacious. . . . Just abide in the interaction. There’s no need to try to change anything–most likely the quality or location of feeling will change on its own, eventually becoming more open and spacious. . . . As things change, awareness can be drawn to other feelings. There’s a natural movement of awareness, possibly taking various positions, locations, points of view, or simultaneous viewpoints, or no apparent viewpoint, location, or direction at all. . . . Awareness can operate and interact with feeling at different levels of magnification or size, possibly at the level of organs, tissues, cells, molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles. . . .

As the interaction of awareness and feeling proceeds, see whether there are any persistent feelings or apparently persistent structures or regions or surfaces or boundaries–such as ‘body’, ‘kidney’, ‘blood cell’, ‘belly’, or ‘skin’. Do these continue to persist, or do they become more open? Do they have some kind of feeling of reality, existence, or a substantial quality? Is awareness hindered or obstructed somehow from interacting or merging with such structures, regions, or surfaces?

Is there any awareness of size or shape related to various structures or regions or surfaces? Does the sense of size or shape come and go, depending on the related viewpoint, or lack of a located viewpoint? Is there any sense of extension of any aspects of ‘the body’ in space, or a subtle feeling of it being located in an infinite, yet empty ‘container’? Let awareness merge with any such feelings.

In the movement and interaction of awareness with forms and surfaces, is it ever limited to subtle positions or perspectives or directions? Is it ever obstructed in any way? Does it focus on distinct regions or fields? Does its breadth, range, or scope vary? Does it ever seem to lose all sense of definite scope and direction?

Is there any distinction whatsoever between awareness and the structures, regions, or surfaces? If so, precisely what makes the difference? How do the forms or outlines seem to exist, to feel ‘real’? Do the forms or outlines seem to somehow be imaginary or ‘unreal’?

Swimming in Space

Slides:

1:   Stand with feet apart, and arms stretched out in front at shoulder height.  Slowly move one arm up a little while moving the other arm down. . . . 10 secs

Gradually extend the movement until finally each arm moves straight up and down. Attend to the sense or feeling of space.  . . . . 50 secs

Continue 3 minutes . . .

—————–

2: Slowly decrease the range of the movement until your arms are still, extended in front at shoulder height. . . . 50 secs

Slowly lower them to your sides, and stand quietly for a few minutes, expanding your sensations and feelings. . . . 2 mins

——————-

3: Slowly lift your straight arms in front of you until they are overhead with the palms facing forward.  Bend down from the waist until your fingers almost touch the floor. . . . 45 secs

Swing up slowly until your back is straight and your arms are outstretched overhead. . . . 45 secs

Continue this slow swinging movement, down and up, three times. . . . 2 mins

————-

4: Lower your arms to your sides, and sit for five minutes, expanding the sensations quickened by this movement. . . . 5 mins

Recording:

1: Now we’ll do a slow movement exercise called “Swimming in Space,” which can help us relax, balance our energies, and relieve time pressure.

Stand with feet apart, and arms stretched out in front at shoulder height, palms down.  Breathing easily through both nose and mouth, simultaneously very slowly move one arm up and the other arm down, keeping arms and hands straight. First don’t move the arms very far. Gradually extend the movement until finally each arm moves straight up and down.. . . . [pause 45 secs]

Continue 3 minutes. Pay attention to the particular sense of space; you may feel a quality like swimming.

—————

2: Slowly decrease the range of the movement until your arms are still, extended in front at shoulder height. . . . 50 secs

Slowly lower them to your sides, and stand quietly for a few minutes, expanding your sensations and feelings. . . . 2 mins

—————-

3: Slowly lift your straight arms in front of you until they are overhead with the palms facing forward.  Moving your arms, head, and torso together, bend down from the waist until your fingers almost touch the floor. . . . 45 secs

Swing up slowly until your back is straight and your arms are outstretched overhead. . . . 45 secs

Continue this slow swinging movement, down and up, three times. . . . 2 mins

——————-

4: Lower your arms to your sides, and sit for five minutes, expanding the sensations quickened by this movement. . . . 5 mins

Notes:

Swimming in Space, pp. 218-19, Kum Nye Relaxation, Part 2

Stand well balanced with your feet a comfortable distance apart, your back straight, and your arms stretched out in front of you at shoulder height, palms down.  Breathing easily through both nose and mouth, with your belly relaxed, simultaneously move one arm up and the other arm down, keeping the arms and hands straight and relaxed.

Move very slowly.  At first do not move the arms very far—then gradually extend the movement until finally each arm moves up and down as far as it can go.  At the furthest points of the movement, relax the back of the neck and head.  Pay attention to the particular sense of space awakened by this exercise; you may feel a quality like swimming.

Continue the full movement of the arms for three to five minutes, then slowly decrease the range of the movement until your arms are still, and extended in front of you at shoulder height.  Slowly lower them to your sides, and stand quietly for a few minutes, expanding your sensations and feelings.

Now slowly lift your arms in front of you until they are overhead with the palms facing forward.  Keep your arms parallel to each other and straight.  Moving your arms, head, and torso together, bend down from the waist until your fingers almost touch the floor; then swing up slowly until your back is straight and your arms are outstretched overhead.

Continue this slow swinging movement, down and up, three or nine times.  Be sure to keep the arms straight throughout the movement.  To complete the exercise, lower your arms to your sides from the overhead position, and sit in the sitting posture for five to ten minutes, expanding the sensations quickened by this movement.

Moments between Moments

Observe the flow of time from one moment to the next. . . .

You may notice that between two initially observed moments A and B lie other, intermediate moments . . .

Practice observing from moment to moment in a way that makes available, on an ever ‘smaller’ scale, moments ‘between’ moments. . . .

———————-

Observe in your own experience the flow of time from one moment to the next. If the mind is calm and alert, you may notice that between two initially observed moments A and B lie other, intermediate moments:

Practice observing from moment to moment in a way that makes available, on an ever ‘smaller’ scale, moments ‘between’ moments.  LOK exercise 14, p. 119

“By learning to be sensitive to the infinity of ‘time’ available within any clock-time period, we can begin to appreciate more fully the value and possibilities life presents. We can begin by noticing more time, more available moments, and then later we can have a more intimate experience with ‘time’.” (Dimensions of Thought, p. 43)

Going without Going

Slide:

Look straight ahead and walk as slowly as you can, lifting each foot about six inches off the ground. . .

Now walk at half that speed. . . . Let the body  be  light  and  pervaded  by  space, breathing very gently through both mouth and nose.  . . .

Slow down even more. Point the toes of the ‘lead foot’ upward before lifting the foot. On the downward motion the toes touch the floor first.  . . .

Let go of the emphasis on your doing it.  You may discover that your body moves gently by itself.

Recording:

Remove your shoes or put on light slippers.  Looking straight ahead, walk slowly by lifting each foot about six inches above the ground. Walk as slowly as you can. . . . [pause 45 secs]

Now walk at half that speed. . . . Let the body  be  light  and  pervaded  by  space, breathing very gently through both mouth and nose.  . . . [pause 45 secs]

Slow down even more. Point the toes of the ‘lead foot’ upward before lifting the foot. On the downward motion the toes touch the floor first.  . . . [pause 45 secs]

Even the  slightest  experience  or  sensation is important . . . infinite, in fact.   Let go of the emphasis on your doing it and let all the experienced movements be seen as given by ‘time’.  You may discover that your body moves gently by itself. . . . [pause 12 mins]

———————

Remove your shoes or put on light, thin-soled slippers.  Stand  erect,  with  your  spine  straight  and  your hands relaxed at your sides. While keeping your upper torso erect and looking straight ahead, practice walking slowly by lifting each foot four to seven inches above the ground and stepping forward gently. Walk as slowly as you can. Now walk at only half that speed (yes, you can do it). Then slow down even more. Modify the walking technique by lifting or pointing the toes of the ‘lead foot’ upward before actually lifting the foot. On the downward motion the toes should touch the floor first.

If  you  are  having  trouble  with  your  balance,  relax your  shoulders,  throat,  and  heart  areas.  Perfect  balance will come as you let go of the emphasis on your doing it and let all the experienced movements be seen as given by ‘time’. [“You may discover that your body moves gently by itself.” Kum Nye Relaxation, Part 2, p. 173] Relax your body’s weightiness—let it  be  light  and  pervaded  by  space.  Finally, leave  your mouth slightly open and your throat unblocked, so that you are breathing very gently through both your mouth and nose.  The ultra slow pace will help put you in touch with every  minute  aspect  of  the  process  of  walking—the pressure of your foot on the floor, the lessening of this pressure, further lessening, rising through an arc, moving  forward,  almost  touching  the  floor  again,  barely touching,  etc.  Even  the  slightest  experience  or  sensation is important . . . infinite, in fact.  TSK, p. 185

Seeing through Negativity

‘Negative’ is often just a label atop neutral energy

Arms straight out to the sides

Breathe easily through nose and mouth, with tip of tongue on upper palate a little behind front teeth

Relax all muscles you don’t need to use

Find center of ‘negative’ feeling, or breathe ‘from it’; merge with it

See if ‘negative’ character changes

‘Negative’ is a way of perceiving from outside

——————-

Recording:

When young, we learn to avoid ‘negative’ sensations and feelings, and  intensify our sense of time passing over many years.

We can do a simple physical exercise that may help us see how the word ‘negative’ is often just a label on top of inherently neutral energy. Stand and put your arms straight out to the sides.  See whether you can keep the arms there for a minute or two, and breathe easily through nose and mouth, with the tip of the tongue on the upper palate a little behind the front teeth.  Relax all the muscles you don’t need to use to hold this position.  . . .

Before long you might feel some tension or pain.  If so, while being aware of the feeling, breathe lightly through your mouth and nose, inhaling and exhaling gently and evenly. . . . A negative feeling tends to fragment one’s awareness and cause a lot of thinking about how to get away from the feeling.  Try to focus lightly on the ‘center of the feeling’.  Be aware of the feeling as if you were a spot of awareness inside the feeling itself. You might also try to breathe ‘from the feeling’; or to merge with it.

When you change your perspective in one of these ways, see if the so-called ‘negative’ character changes. Experiment in this way for a minute or so, if you can. Does the word ‘negative’ describe a way of perceiving a feeling from outside?

——————–

When young, we learn to avoid ‘negative’ sensations and feelings, and  intensify our sense of time passing over many years.

I remember driving home from Yosemite National Park on a very hot day.  My young son Dylan was in the back seat, and he was wiggling around trying to get comfortable in the heat.  But he couldn’t get away from the heat.  Then he said, “I can’t wait till we get home.”  He couldn’t physically escape from the heat, so he distanced himself ‘internally’ from it. Instead of just feeling it and not taking a position on it, he observed and took a point of view apart from the sensations, and then the sense of time passing grew stronger, leading him to say, “I can’t wait till we get home.” He was visualizing a preferable future time that was separate from the present.  Distancing himself from the heat intensified the unpleasant, slow feeling of time passing.  Time was a mirror reflecting his way of looking at the heat.

We can do a simple physical exercise that may help us see how the word ‘negative’ is often just a label on top of inherently neutral energy. Stand and put your arms straight out to the sides.  See whether you can keep the arms there for a minute or two, and breathe easily through nose and mouth, with the tip of the tongue on the upper palate a little behind the front teeth.  Relax all the muscles you don’t need to use to hold this position.

Before long you might feel some tension or pain.  If so, while being aware of the feeling, breathe lightly through your mouth and nose, inhaling and exhaling gently and evenly. . . . A negative feeling tends to fragment one’s awareness and cause a lot of thinking about how to get away from the feeling.  Try to focus lightly on the ‘center of the feeling’, whatever that might mean to you.  Be aware of the feeling as if you were a spot of awareness inside the feeling itself. You might also try to breathe ‘from the feeling’; or to merge with it.

When you change your perspective in one of these ways, see if the so-called ‘negative’ character changes. Experiment in this way for a minute or so, if you can. Does the word ‘negative’ describe a way of perceiving a feeling from outside?

A measure of time stress

We can once again take a simple measure of time stress, so we can compare levels of stress that we experience, and then learn to control the stress.

On a scale from 0-10, where 0 = the least and 10 = the most, how much stress do you feel about time right now?

Make a mental note of this number. How does it compare to the number you estimated earlier in the course?

The End of Section Five

This is the end of the last of five workshop sections.

 

 

 

 

 

Mastering Linear Time workshop, Section 4 Script

Mastering Linear Time

Mastering Linear Time workshop, script for Section 4

Title slide

This is section 4 of five sections in the workshop on mastering linear time.

A measure of time stress

We can take a simple measure of time stress, so we can compare levels of stress that we experience, and then learn to control the stress.

On a scale from 0-10, where 0 = the least and 10 = the most, how much stress do you feel about time right now?  Make a mental note about what this number is right now.

Swimming in Space

Slides:

1:   Stand with feet apart, and arms stretched out in front at shoulder height.  Slowly move one arm up a little while moving the other arm down. . . . 10 secs

Gradually extend the movement until finally each arm moves straight up and down. Attend to the sense or feeling of space.  . . . . 50 secs

Continue 3 minutes . . .

—————–

2: Slowly decrease the range of the movement until your arms are still, extended in front at shoulder height. . . . 50 secs

Slowly lower them to your sides, and stand quietly for a few minutes, expanding your sensations and feelings. . . . 2 mins

——————-

3: Slowly lift your straight arms in front of you until they are overhead with the palms facing forward.  Bend down from the waist until your fingers almost touch the floor. . . . 45 secs

Swing up slowly until your back is straight and your arms are outstretched overhead. . . . 45 secs

Continue this slow swinging movement, down and up, three times. . . . 2 mins

————-

4: Lower your arms to your sides, and sit for five minutes, expanding the sensations quickened by this movement. . . . 5 mins

Recording:

1: Now we’ll do a slow movement exercise called “Swimming in Space,” which can help us relax, balance our energies, and relieve time pressure.

Stand with feet apart, and arms stretched out in front at shoulder height, palms down.  Breathing easily through both nose and mouth, simultaneously very slowly move one arm up and the other arm down, keeping arms and hands straight. First don’t move the arms very far. Gradually extend the movement until finally each arm moves straight up and down.. . . . [pause 45 secs]

Continue 3 minutes. Pay attention to the particular sense of space; you may feel a quality like swimming.

—————

2: Slowly decrease the range of the movement until your arms are still, extended in front at shoulder height. . . . 50 secs

Slowly lower them to your sides, and stand quietly for a few minutes, expanding your sensations and feelings. . . . 2 mins

—————-

3: Slowly lift your straight arms in front of you until they are overhead with the palms facing forward.  Moving your arms, head, and torso together, bend down from the waist until your fingers almost touch the floor. . . . 45 secs

Swing up slowly until your back is straight and your arms are outstretched overhead. . . . 45 secs

Continue this slow swinging movement, down and up, three times. . . . 2 mins

——————-

4: Lower your arms to your sides, and sit for five minutes, expanding the sensations quickened by this movement. . . . 5 mins

Notes:

Swimming in Space, pp. 218-19, Kum Nye Relaxation, Part 2

Stand well balanced with your feet a comfortable distance apart, your back straight, and your arms stretched out in front of you at shoulder height, palms down.  Breathing easily through both nose and mouth, with your belly relaxed, simultaneously move one arm up and the other arm down, keeping the arms and hands straight and relaxed.

Move very slowly.  At first do not move the arms very far—then gradually extend the movement until finally each arm moves up and down as far as it can go.  At the furthest points of the movement, relax the back of the neck and head.  Pay attention to the particular sense of space awakened by this exercise; you may feel a quality like swimming.

Continue the full movement of the arms for three to five minutes, then slowly decrease the range of the movement until your arms are still, and extended in front of you at shoulder height.  Slowly lower them to your sides, and stand quietly for a few minutes, expanding your sensations and feelings.

Now slowly lift your arms in front of you until they are overhead with the palms facing forward.  Keep your arms parallel to each other and straight.  Moving your arms, head, and torso together, bend down from the waist until your fingers almost touch the floor; then swing up slowly until your back is straight and your arms are outstretched overhead.

Continue this slow swinging movement, down and up, three or nine times.  Be sure to keep the arms straight throughout the movement.  To complete the exercise, lower your arms to your sides from the overhead position, and sit in the sitting posture for five to ten minutes, expanding the sensations quickened by this movement.

Moments between Moments

Observe the flow of time from one moment to the next. . . .

You may notice that between two initially observed moments A and B lie other, intermediate moments . . .

Practice observing from moment to moment in a way that makes available, on an ever ‘smaller’ scale, moments ‘between’ moments. . . .

———————-

Observe in your own experience the flow of time from one moment to the next. If the mind is calm and alert, you may notice that between two initially observed moments A and B lie other, intermediate moments:

Practice observing from moment to moment in a way that makes available, on an ever ‘smaller’ scale, moments ‘between’ moments.  LOK exercise 14, p. 119

“By learning to be sensitive to the infinity of ‘time’ available within any clock-time period, we can begin to appreciate more fully the value and possibilities life presents. We can begin by noticing more time, more available moments, and then later we can have a more intimate experience with ‘time’.” (Dimensions of Thought, p. 43)

Going without Going

Slide:

Look straight ahead and walk as slowly as you can, lifting each foot about six inches off the ground. . .

Now walk at half that speed. . . . Let the body  be  light  and  pervaded  by  space, breathing very gently through both mouth and nose.  . . .

Slow down even more. Point the toes of the ‘lead foot’ upward before lifting the foot. On the downward motion the toes touch the floor first.  . . .

Let go of the emphasis on your doing it.  You may discover that your body moves gently by itself.

Recording:

Remove your shoes or put on light slippers.  Looking straight ahead, walk slowly by lifting each foot about six inches above the ground. Walk as slowly as you can. . . . [pause 45 secs]

Now walk at half that speed. . . . Let the body  be  light  and  pervaded  by  space, breathing very gently through both mouth and nose.  . . . [pause 45 secs]

Slow down even more. Point the toes of the ‘lead foot’ upward before lifting the foot. On the downward motion the toes touch the floor first.  . . . [pause 45 secs]

Even the  slightest  experience  or  sensation is important . . . infinite, in fact.   Let go of the emphasis on your doing it and let all the experienced movements be seen as given by ‘time’.  You may discover that your body moves gently by itself. . . . [pause 12 mins]

———————

Remove your shoes or put on light, thin-soled slippers.  Stand  erect,  with  your  spine  straight  and  your hands relaxed at your sides. While keeping your upper torso erect and looking straight ahead, practice walking slowly by lifting each foot four to seven inches above the ground and stepping forward gently. Walk as slowly as you can. Now walk at only half that speed (yes, you can do it). Then slow down even more. Modify the walking technique by lifting or pointing the toes of the ‘lead foot’ upward before actually lifting the foot. On the downward motion the toes should touch the floor first.

If  you  are  having  trouble  with  your  balance,  relax your  shoulders,  throat,  and  heart  areas.  Perfect  balance will come as you let go of the emphasis on your doing it and let all the experienced movements be seen as given by ‘time’. [“You may discover that your body moves gently by itself.” Kum Nye Relaxation, Part 2, p. 173] Relax your body’s weightiness—let it  be  light  and  pervaded  by  space.  Finally, leave  your mouth slightly open and your throat unblocked, so that you are breathing very gently through both your mouth and nose.  The ultra slow pace will help put you in touch with every  minute  aspect  of  the  process  of  walking—the pressure of your foot on the floor, the lessening of this pressure, further lessening, rising through an arc, moving  forward,  almost  touching  the  floor  again,  barely touching,  etc.  Even  the  slightest  experience  or  sensation is important . . . infinite, in fact.  TSK, p. 185

Seeing through Negativity

‘Negative’ is often just a label atop neutral energy

Arms straight out to the sides

Breathe easily through nose and mouth, with tip of tongue on upper palate a little behind front teeth

Relax all muscles you don’t need to use

Find center of ‘negative’ feeling, or breathe ‘from it’; merge with it

See if ‘negative’ character changes

‘Negative’ is a way of perceiving from outside

——————-

Recording:

When young, we learn to avoid ‘negative’ sensations and feelings, and  intensify our sense of time passing over many years.

We can do a simple physical exercise that may help us see how the word ‘negative’ is often just a label on top of inherently neutral energy. Stand and put your arms straight out to the sides.  See whether you can keep the arms there for a minute or two, and breathe easily through nose and mouth, with the tip of the tongue on the upper palate a little behind the front teeth.  Relax all the muscles you don’t need to use to hold this position.  . . .

Before long you might feel some tension or pain.  If so, while being aware of the feeling, breathe lightly through your mouth and nose, inhaling and exhaling gently and evenly. . . . A negative feeling tends to fragment one’s awareness and cause a lot of thinking about how to get away from the feeling.  Try to focus lightly on the ‘center of the feeling’.  Be aware of the feeling as if you were a spot of awareness inside the feeling itself. You might also try to breathe ‘from the feeling’; or to merge with it.

When you change your perspective in one of these ways, see if the so-called ‘negative’ character changes. Experiment in this way for a minute or so, if you can. Does the word ‘negative’ describe a way of perceiving a feeling from outside?

——————–

When young, we learn to avoid ‘negative’ sensations and feelings, and  intensify our sense of time passing over many years.

I remember driving home from Yosemite National Park on a very hot day.  My young son Dylan was in the back seat, and he was wiggling around trying to get comfortable in the heat.  But he couldn’t get away from the heat.  Then he said, “I can’t wait till we get home.”  He couldn’t physically escape from the heat, so he distanced himself ‘internally’ from it. Instead of just feeling it and not taking a position on it, he observed and took a point of view apart from the sensations, and then the sense of time passing grew stronger, leading him to say, “I can’t wait till we get home.” He was visualizing a preferable future time that was separate from the present.  Distancing himself from the heat intensified the unpleasant, slow feeling of time passing.  Time was a mirror reflecting his way of looking at the heat.

We can do a simple physical exercise that may help us see how the word ‘negative’ is often just a label on top of inherently neutral energy. Stand and put your arms straight out to the sides.  See whether you can keep the arms there for a minute or two, and breathe easily through nose and mouth, with the tip of the tongue on the upper palate a little behind the front teeth.  Relax all the muscles you don’t need to use to hold this position.

Before long you might feel some tension or pain.  If so, while being aware of the feeling, breathe lightly through your mouth and nose, inhaling and exhaling gently and evenly. . . . A negative feeling tends to fragment one’s awareness and cause a lot of thinking about how to get away from the feeling.  Try to focus lightly on the ‘center of the feeling’, whatever that might mean to you.  Be aware of the feeling as if you were a spot of awareness inside the feeling itself. You might also try to breathe ‘from the feeling’; or to merge with it.

When you change your perspective in one of these ways, see if the so-called ‘negative’ character changes. Experiment in this way for a minute or so, if you can. Does the word ‘negative’ describe a way of perceiving a feeling from outside?

A measure of time stress

We can once again take a simple measure of time stress, so we can compare levels of stress that we experience, and then learn to control the stress.

On a scale from 0-10, where 0 = the least and 10 = the most, how much stress do you feel about time right now?

Make a mental note of this number. How does it compare to the number you estimated earlier in the course?

The End of Section Four of Five

This is the end of the fourth of five workshop sections.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mastering Linear Time, Section 3 Script

Mastering Linear Time

Mastering Linear Time workshop, script for Section 3

Title slide

This is section 3 of five sections in the workshop on mastering linear time.

A measure of time stress

We can take a simple measure of time stress, so we can compare levels of stress that we experience, and then learn to control the stress.

On a scale from 0-10, where 0 = the least and 10 = the most, how much stress do you feel about time right now?  Make a mental note about what this number is right now.

Clock Watching – A New Way?

We can experiment a bit more with personal time and do an exercise to see how it changes.

This clock watching exercise directly balances the throat energy center, where imbalance seems to produce pressure and anxiety about time.  It also balances left and right brain hemispheres.

Set up your environment so that you have ten minutes when you won’t be interrupted or distracted.  When the timer starts, just relax and watch the timer’s hand move. Breathe easily, gently, and smoothly through both nose and mouth, with the tip of your tongue on the upper palate just in back of your front teeth.  As you continue, see if you can let the breath become more and more even and continuous.   Also, see whether the sense of distance normally felt between yourself and the timer can be minimized.

Timer slide

Clock Watching and Breathing

OK.

During the clock watching exercise,

Did the sense of time pressure and anxiety decrease?

Did the feeling of time change? If so, how?

Did every minute seem equally long?

How were pressure and anxiety related to the flow of time?

You can practice this way of breathing as often as you can remember it. After a month or so, your whole energy level and sense of balance and relaxation will probably change.

 

Going without Going

Slide:

Look straight ahead and walk as slowly as you can, lifting each foot about six inches off the ground. . .

Now walk at half that speed. . . . Let the body  be  light  and  pervaded  by  space, breathing very gently through both mouth and nose.  . . .

Slow down even more. Point the toes of the ‘lead foot’ upward before lifting the foot. On the downward motion the toes touch the floor first.  . . .

Let go of the emphasis on your doing it.  You may discover that your body moves gently by itself.

Recording:

Remove your shoes or put on light slippers.  Looking straight ahead, walk slowly by lifting each foot about six inches above the ground. Walk as slowly as you can. . . . [pause 45 secs]

Now walk at half that speed. . . . Let the body  be  light  and  pervaded  by  space, breathing very gently through both mouth and nose.  . . . [pause 45 secs]

Slow down even more. Point the toes of the ‘lead foot’ upward before lifting the foot. On the downward motion the toes touch the floor first.  . . . [pause 45 secs]

Even the  slightest  experience  or  sensation is important . . . infinite, in fact.   Let go of the emphasis on your doing it and let all the experienced movements be seen as given by ‘time’.  You may discover that your body moves gently by itself. . . . [pause 12 mins]

———————

Remove your shoes or put on light, thin-soled slippers.  Stand  erect,  with  your  spine  straight  and  your hands relaxed at your sides. While keeping your upper torso erect and looking straight ahead, practice walking slowly by lifting each foot four to seven inches above the ground and stepping forward gently. Walk as slowly as you can. Now walk at only half that speed (yes, you can do it). Then slow down even more. Modify the walking technique by lifting or pointing the toes of the ‘lead foot’ upward before actually lifting the foot. On the downward motion the toes should touch the floor first.

If  you  are  having  trouble  with  your  balance,  relax your  shoulders,  throat,  and  heart  areas.  Perfect  balance will come as you let go of the emphasis on your doing it and let all the experienced movements be seen as given by ‘time’. [“You may discover that your body moves gently by itself.” Kum Nye Relaxation, Part 2, p. 173] Relax your body’s weightiness—let it  be  light  and  pervaded  by  space.  Finally, leave  your mouth slightly open and your throat unblocked, so that you are breathing very gently through both your mouth and nose.  The ultra slow pace will help put you in touch with every  minute  aspect  of  the  process  of  walking—the pressure of your foot on the floor, the lessening of this pressure, further lessening, rising through an arc, moving  forward,  almost  touching  the  floor  again,  barely touching,  etc.  Even  the  slightest  experience  or  sensation is important . . . infinite, in fact.  TSK, p. 185

Abiding in Thought

Now we’ll do an exercise from the book Dynamics of Time and Space, an exercise called “Abiding in Thought.”

“On the surface of experience, thoughts come and go quickly, even instantaneously. One event succeeds another, one reaction follows the next in a powerful momentum that structures linear time. Let yourself become aware of this dynamic and the rhythm that supports it. . . . [pause]

Gradually introduce a different rhythm: As a single feeling or emotion or thought arises, enter into it and abide there—as though you would be ready to live your life right within that experience. . . [pause]

This abiding is not static. It invokes the dynamic rhythm of time without insisting on a linear momentum. . . .

As you sink into the experience, time expands. . . .”

[not read:]

“If we know how to look, the  caring  or support immediately available within  each  of  the   moments which  combine   to  constitute    our  lives.  The  humble  moment,  when  seen as time,  space,  and knowledge,  is a target worth  aiming  at. It’s  the  vital  center  of the universe;  if we hit  it,  we  explode   everything    that   prevents    fulfillment,  attaining   everything   that  fulfills.” (Tarthang Tulku, Dimensions of Thought, p. xlvi-xlvii)

“With sufficient appreciation of our actually being ‘time’, we—or ‘knowingness’—can abide forever within the smallest duration of clock-time.” (Dimensions of Thought, p. 43)

Moments between Moments

Observe the flow of time from one moment to the next. . . .

You may notice that between two initially observed moments A and B lie other, intermediate moments . . .

Practice observing from moment to moment in a way that makes available, on an ever ‘smaller’ scale, moments ‘between’ moments. . . .

———————-

The original text:

Observe in your own experience the flow of time from one moment to the next. If the mind is calm and alert, you may notice that between two initially observed moments A and B lie other, intermediate moments:

Practice observing from moment to moment in a way that makes available, on an ever ‘smaller’ scale, moments ‘between’ moments.  LOK exercise 14, p. 119

“By learning to be sensitive to the infinity of ‘time’ available within any clock-time period, we can begin to appreciate more fully the value and possibilities life presents. We can begin by noticing more time, more available moments, and then later we can have a more intimate experience with ‘time’.” (Dimensions of Thought, p. 43)

A measure of time stress

We can once again take a simple measure of time stress, so we can compare levels of stress that we experience, and then learn to control the stress.

On a scale from 0-10, where 0 = the least and 10 = the most, how much stress do you feel about time right now?

Make a mental note of this number. How does it compare to the number you estimated earlier in the course?

The End of Section Three of Five

This is the end of the third of five workshop sections.

Please go for a walk and when you return, make a few notes about your current experience, and especially your experience of time. It seems we often don’t notice changes after this kind of workshop until we leave our typical environment and walk around somewhere else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mastering Linear Time, Section 2 Script

Mastering Linear Time

Mastering Linear Time workshop, script for Section 2

Title slide

This is section 2 of five sections in the workshop on mastering linear time.

A measure of time stress

We can take a simple measure of time stress, so we can compare levels of stress that we experience, and then learn to control the stress.

On a scale from 0-10, where 0 = the least and 10 = the most, how much stress do you feel about time right now?  Make a mental note about what this number is right now.

The main cause of time stress

The gradual process of developing and strengthening the sense of time passing can be expressed in terms of three primary human energy centers:

Some feeling rises to awareness. But rather than feel the feeling, and allow it to dissipate and dissolve, we turn away from it. The feeling is repressed or suppressed and we lose a measure of confidence as well as a bit of the natural fulfillment that accompanies being fully involved in our energies. The energy of the heart is lessened and we feel somewhat pressured.

Excess energy flows to the head and a sense of detached self-consciousness intensifies as our thinking skips about the separate past, present, and future rooms in our experience.

Energy in the area of the throat, which is closely associated with time, becomes agitated as we become anxious and more aware of time passing. We feel a bit more helpless; time becomes more threatening, a greater enemy. Thereafter there’s a more dissatisfied sense of self trying to seek satisfaction through various objects and activities.

Relaxation Exercises (1)

When doing the following exercises, remember that you can pause the YouTube movies whenever you want to.  This might be especially helpful if some interesting feelings arise and you want to get into them more fully.

During these movement exercises let the movements and breathing be very smooth and continuous, without breaks.  This is very important for rapid progress.

Sit or stand comfortably.  Bend your arms at the elbow, lifting your hands until they are in front of your shoulders with the palms facing forward.  Imagine that a great force is pushing against your hands, and slowly push it away.  Let strong tension build in your hands and arms, but relax your belly and lower back, and breathe   easily  and  lightly  through   both  nose  and mouth.  Keep pushing  this force away until your arms are  stretched   out  in  front  of you. Your  hands  and arms may  shake  with  tension.  (Continue on the next slide.)

Relaxation Exercises (2)

. . . Then  without  releasing the tension—as   if the force is more powerful  than you–slowly    move  your  arms  back  in front  of your chest, keeping your belly relaxed.

Very  slowly release  the tension–take    about one  minute  for  this–feeling    the  sensations   in  your arms,  chest,  and  body. Then  slowly  lower your hands and rest briefly, continuing to expand  the feelings  stimulated  by producing  and releasing  tension  in this way.

This exercise is called “Nurturing  Satisfaction,” and it appears on pp. 318-319, Kum Nye Relaxation, Part II

Relaxation Exercises (3)

Stand with your feet a few inches apart,  and  your  arms  at your  sides.  Slowly and smoothly  lift  your  arms  away  from  your sides until they  are directly  overhead  with the backs of the hands close, and the fingers straight. Relax  your  thighs   and  minimize   any backward   arching  in your  spine.  Slowly  let  your arms  descend  to your  sides. Take one full minute  to bring  them  all the  way  down. Pay  attention to the feeling  tone  as you move, as if seeing with the inner eyes of the senses. (Continue on the next slide.)

Relaxation Exercises (4)

. . . take another full minute to move your arms up again. Explore the flow of energy . . . . Use the steady, slow rhythm to increase the energy flow.  When the arms are directly overhead, stretch up very slightly, with your thighs and legs as relaxed as possible.  This stretch clears and settles the mind:  go deeply into your sensations at this point.

Continue  the movement  three times. Try  slowing the movement  down  even more, taking  two minutes in each direction.

This exercise is called “Flying,” and it appears on pp. 168-9, Kum Nye Relaxation, Part I

Relaxation Exercises (5)

Stand with your feet a comfortable  distance  apart, your  back  straight.   Breathing softly  through   both  nose  and  mouth,  slowly  raise your  arms  in  front   of you  until  they  are  overhead,  with  the  palms  forward.   With  your  knees  relaxed   and  straight   but  not  locked,   slowly   bend   forward  from  the  waist  while  reaching   out  slightly  with your   arms.   Bend   forward    and down, very slowly and evenly.

Do not  let  your head dominate the movement;   relax  your  neck  muscles.  When your  fingers  come near  to the floor,   stay   down    briefly.  Be very  still.  Slowly  spread    your  fingers apart more. Exhale fully, releasing tension from your belly.

Relaxation Exercises (6)

Now very slowly, breathing evenly and gently, begin to rise, keeping your head between your arms. When you reach an upright position, continue to bend slightly backward, with your arms quite close to your head.  Move very gently, with your knees straight and your belly and lower organs relaxed.  Bend backward only a little.  In this position, keep your exhalations gentle, and let the front of your body feel open.

Slowly straighten your neck and back, bringing your attention to the base of your skull. Again bend forward  as before, moving as gently as possible,   relaxing   your  belly,  neck,  and  back.

Do  the   exercise    three   times.  When you     locate   a tension, explore it with   your   feelings  as  completely    as  you can.  When you fully experience the     tightness,   you will then  be able  to let it go. As you  move,  become   one  with your feelings; let them  move  you,  spreading   their  energy  to every  molecule  in your body until  finally   ‘you’  no  longer   exist, and  there  is only  feeling.

Clock Watching – A New Way?

We can experiment a bit more with personal time and do an exercise to see how it changes.

Usually looking at a clock causes some anxiety.  Does it have to? If you can relax while watching the clock, you can probably stay relaxed in nearly any situation.

This clock watching exercise directly balances the throat energy center, where imbalance seems to produce pressure and anxiety about time.  It also balances left and right brain hemispheres, as shown by research in applied kinesiology.

Set up your environment so that you have ten  minutes when you won’t be interrupted or distracted.  When the timer on the next slide starts, just relax and watch the timer’s hand move. Breathe easily, gently, and smoothly through both nose and mouth, with the tip of your tongue on the upper palate just in back of your front teeth.  As you continue, see if you can let the breath become more and more even and continuous, without breaks or jerkiness–this is important. Evenness and continuity of the breath is reflected in the clarity and peacefulness of awareness.

Timer Slide

Clock Watching and Breathing

OK.

During the clock watching exercise,

Did the sense of time pressure and anxiety decrease?

Did the feeling of time change? If so, how?

Did every minute seem equally long?

How were pressure and anxiety related to the flow of time?

You can practice this way of breathing as often as you can remember it. After a month or so, your whole energy level and sense of balance and relaxation will probably change.

Time Calling Exercise

Most of us are so used to linear time that it can be difficult to recognize it for what it is. The following short exercise may help you clarify what linear time is, as well as demonstrate how your perspective on time gets set up within a moment.

The next slide will play a recording having some phrases referring to different times.  Just pay attention to your experience of time. Try to see how past, present, and future quickly get set up in your experience when the phrases are heard.

Time Calling Exercise

“Just relax, listen, and pay attention to your experience of time. Try to see how past, present, and future quickly get set up in your experience when the phrases are heard.”

“One hour ago . . .
“One hour from now . . .
“Early this morning . . .
“Later this evening . . .
“Yesterday . . .
“Tomorrow . . .
“Last Monday . . .
“Next Monday . . .
“Two weeks ago . . .
“Two weeks from now . . .
“Last month . . .
“Next month . . .
“Last winter . . .
“Next winter . . .
“Last year . . .
“Next year . . .
“Five years ago . . .
“Five years from now . . .
“Ten years ago . . .
“Ten years from now . . .

Time Calling Exercise

Please think about your experience of the time calling exercise. Your feelings of time are especially noteworthy.

Do you see any reason or basis for the term ‘linear time’?

Did you notice how past, present, and future get set up within a moment? Was there any kind of swinging back and forth as you listened to the phrases?

Moments Between Moments

We can do a little inquiry exercise to explore our personal time.  We talk about moments all the time, but how long is a moment?  How long is your moment?  At any time this could be different for all of us.  Make a kind of mental note about how long this seems.

Now, between any two of such moments, see whether you can perceive additional moments, perhaps by just noticing what’s there, perhaps by relaxing while somehow turning up the speed of your awareness.  Continue this experiment for a minute, seeing whether you can perceive additional, possibly subtle, moments between any two moments.  . . . [pause]

OK.  What happened?  Did you find something you might call “moments between moments?”  Did your experience of time change in the process?

 

Abiding in Thought

Now we’ll do an exercise from the book Dynamics of Time and Space, an exercise called “Abiding in Thought.”

“On the surface of experience, thoughts come and go quickly, even instantaneously. One event succeeds another, one reaction follows the next in a powerful momentum that structures linear time. Let yourself become aware of this dynamic and the rhythm that supports it. . . . [pause]

Gradually introduce a different rhythm: As a single feeling or emotion or thought arises, enter into it and abide there—as though you would be ready to live your life right within that experience. . . [pause]

This abiding is not static. It invokes the dynamic rhythm of time without insisting on a linear momentum. . . .

As you sink into the experience, time expands. . . .”

[not read:]

“At first, you will experience abiding as a special event, something like ‘stopping’ time. As you grow more familiar with it, however, you will realize that you can abide within the flow of linear time. The two temporal dynamics can unfold simultaneously.”   Exercise 5, “Abiding in Thought,” p. 262, Dynamics of Time and Space

A measure of time stress

We can once again take a simple measure of time stress, so we can compare levels of stress that we experience, and then learn to control the stress.

On a scale from 0-10, where 0 = the least and 10 = the most, how much stress do you feel about time right now?

Make a mental note of this number. How does it compare to the number you estimated earlier in the course?

The End of Section Two of Five

This is the end of the second of five workshop sections.

Please go for a walk and when you return, make a few notes about your current experience, and especially your experience of time. It seems we often don’t notice changes after this kind of workshop until we leave our typical environment and walk around somewhere else.