Friday, July 20, 2007

What is Time | Kenza Saadi | guest blogger post

in Inspirations and Creative Thoughts i love to share your thoughts to the readers as well. aligning to that intention sometime back i posted a post welcoming guest blog entry.

What is Time | time is one of the most intriguing mystery of mankind. not only to theoretical physicist of modern time but also to ancient thinkers - the idea of time is something really special. personally i think time holds the key of mystery of many things including that of free will. as of personal interest, i often ask my special friends this question, 'what is time?'. What follows is a beautiful thinking piece shared by Kenza from Mexico.

We can talk and exchange ideas about “time” forever. It may make for an interesting conversation where the objectivity and subjectivity of time are considered; where famous poets or holy books are quoted; and where philosophical dogma and the weight of history are debated. Yes, that would make for an interesting time indeed.

But I will leave that option aside as I sincerely believe that taking the time (literally) to think about time should be purposeful beyond exchanging impressions that make us feel intelligent. The world is a mess. Let’s face it. There is war, there is violence, there is poverty, along with hatred, prejudice, incomprehension, loneliness, and perhaps some sparse instances of contentment. Overall though, no matter how happy we feel we may be in our own little self, the world is not a pretty picture. So any discussion, to be purposeful, should lead us to think further, to think so that we may change the way we are and make a better world.

We live mechanically. From the moment we are born we are trapped in time. Or are we?

Time can, in many ways, be defined as memory.
There is physical / sensory memory.

There is the physical process of time akin to numbers on a counter from 0 to 100 to 1’000, etc. We are born and the clock starts. We are infants, teenagers, young adults, adults, old adults. Our body changes physically. We grow older until death comes to us, then or before that because of an accident, sickness or suicide.

Throughout, we experience different sensations (touch, smell, sight, taste, hearing) and from that we accumulate memory regarding our likes and dislikes (chocolate is good, fire burns). We also accumulate knowledge. Here knowledge helps us communicate, write, drive a car, etc. It henceforth has a functional necessity without which we could not survive physically or in society. In that sense, we are similar to any other living entity whether it be an animal or a tree. Sure, some may have a high memory capacity helping them memorize the number ¼ or retaining historical facts. But at the end, it remains mechanical.

There is psychological memory (for lack of a better adjective).

It is the evolution of our thought process. Through our experiences, we learn to distinguish what we like and dislike. We are taught concepts and dogmas through which we classify people and things around us. Organized religion, political ideologies, economic theories, past inheritances etc. are inculcated into our thought process from the time we are born. Through that, we judge and we have a-priori that we use to relate to others. And from that come division and segregation. “I am this, and I am not that.” It gives us a sense of security because we think we know who we are. It is hence as mechanical, as physical or sensory memory is.

So all memory is in fact mechanical.

If time is like a river (to use a common metaphor), can we get out of it? Should we get out of it? Or is there a completely different way of looking at time? Should we look at it differently, live it differently? Would it lead us to a positive way towards positive change?

First, there is no overall solution. Creating a solution would create opposites (this is good - this is bad) which would sustain the very division and classification that have lead us to our current miserable state of wars, violence and prejudice.

And second, getting out of that “river of time”, letting ourselves go all the way to the ocean or going back to the river’s source, would also create division. There is the river and there is me. There is its end and beginning, and there is me. That is not possible. Time is a fact and we cannot escape it. Many try to teach meditation as a way to get out of the entrapment of time - getting out of the river or following it to its end. Others resort to analysis – going back to the source. In all cases, it is artificial. It is an escape that may create a blank mind or help relive past events. At the end, it often creates more confusion…

We should first and foremost become conscious of the traps of memory, of its mechanized nature. In other words, we should try and realize that we act and feel and think in a mechanical way, and hence without any awareness. We are trapped in the physical, sensorial, emotional, prejudicial and judgmental. We do not know how to thing freely, how to take in without judging, without references to past experiences or knowledge.

When we look at a beautiful sunset or a tree, thought – i.e., memory and hence time- inevitably comes in. We start to make judgments, compare it to previous sunsets, commiserate on our sorrow as we remember someone who passed away and with whom we shared a sunset view, etc.

What we should learn is to look at that sunset or that tree without judging. We have to learn to be present, taking in what we see without falling into the reflex of categorizing. If we are lucky, it happens during that fraction of a second when awe warms our heart, but it soon fades away because we invariably fall into the traps of memory.

It may seem relatively easy to do it when looking at a beautiful sunset. The real challenge is to do it in our everyday life. Meeting people without classifying them, feeling emotions without resentments or hopes, being without mechanical memory. This is a revolution of the thought process.

It can only be achieved through discipline. Not a forced discipline of seating for hours legs crossed meditating, praying, repeating words - that would lead nowhere because it is not participative. Discipline here means being conscious of the movement of the thought process, of being aware of the emotions that come and go, their influence. It is being aware of how divisive our mental process is and how we invariably judge and categorize what we see and feel. It is being conscious of how mechanical, reflexive and hence beyond control, our thought process is. It is hence being aware of time.

Once there is that awareness, there is bound to be change. It is not a change through time, as this would be returning to the mechanical “experience - memory - judgment” paradigm. No. Change here comes at once. It is a deep transformation. Like a cold shower, like a rush to the brain, like an opening into what one really is, uncontrived, free from time, alive. It is silence setting-in, free from the continuous chatter of memories. It is the end of fear and wants. It is feeling life pulse through the body and the mind. It is being one with all. It is the end of divisiveness. It is love in its purest form.

From that only good can come. One stops classifying others, judging, invoking religious or political texts to dictate or explain behavior. Divisiveness comes to an end. There is no more logic for hating, mistrusting. One could say that there is hence no more logic either for friendship or amorous love. That would be falling back into the trap of mechanized memory. Indeed, when you like someone as a friend - see why it is so. Is it pure, untainted friendship; or is it the result of memory - I like him because we are of the same country, because we have the same tastes, because he makes me feel pretty and smart. Think about it. The idea is to get out of the classification - because if he is my friend, than someone else is not.

By getting out of the trap of mechanized memory, and hence of the logic of time - i.e., “experience - memory - judgment”, one thinks anew every instant, one is receptive, one is fully integrated in all that surrounds him. The sunset is seen as it is. The tree is seen as it is. People are seen as they are. Feelings become genuine because unconditioned by old habits or wishful thinking. Striped from prejudice and divisiveness, one is free.

(c) Kenza Saadi | July 2007 Pin It Now!

LinkWithin