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Tuesday, 6 August 2013

THE METABOLISM OF TIME.


One of Einstein’s brilliant contributions to modern physics was his intuition that linear time, along with everything happening in it, is superficial. Time seems to flow and move; clocks tick off their seconds, minutes and hours; aeons of history unfold and disappear. But ultimately, Einstein held, this vast activity is all relative, meaning that it has no absolute value.

Einstein displaced linear time with something much more fluid – time that can contract and expand, slow down or speed up. He often compared this to subjective time, for he noted that spending a minute sitting on a hot stove seems like an hour, while spending an hour with a beautiful girl seems like a minute. What he meant by this is that time depends on the situation of the observer. To borrow from Einstein’s example, if two men are sitting with the same beautiful girl, the time might drag for one, because the girl is his sister, while it flies for the other if he is in love with her. This means that each of us has personal control over sense of time.

Consider all the subjective qualities we attach to time. We say things like:
  v I don’t have time for that.
  v Time’s up.
  v Your time’s running out.
  v How the time flies.
  v Time hangs heavy.
  v I love you so much, time stands still.

These statements do not say anything about time measured by the clock. The clock doesn’t lie about how much linear time has elapsed “out there.” But subjective time, the kind that exists only “in here,” is a different matter. All the above statements reflect a state of self. Whenever you take an attitude toward time, you are really saying something about yourself. Time, in the subjective sense, is a mirror.

Let’s take a simple example, ask someone to make an omelet. A skillful cook can accomplish the task in about two minutes. Now alter the situation slightly by saying, “Make an omelet, but you only have two minutes to do it.” This will often make even the accomplished cook feel tense and harried. Time pressure causes stress hormones to be released into the body, which in turn elevates heartbeat. If the person struggles against this reaction, his situation only gets worse. Now his heart has to put up with time pressure and frustration. When heart patient are given demanding tasks under a deadline, a significant number grow so agitated that their heart muscles actually suffer ischemic or “silent” heart attacks (“silent” in this case means that damage is occurring but without any sensation of pain).

Some people are much more sensitive to time pressure than others. A nervous cook can get so rattled by the two-minute deadline that he drops the egg, burns himself, and can’t accomplish a task at which he excels when time is not a consideration. Another cook will blossom under the challenge and finish the omelet even quicker than before. One feels time pressure as a threat, the other as a challenge. One feels thrown out of control, the other feels impelled to test his sense of the control and improve upon it.

All of us, however, feel the pressure of a serious, threatening deadline over which we have no control—death itself. If you believe that you have been allotted certain span of time for your existence, the deadline of death will exert the same kind of stress as that felt by the nervous cook rushing to finish his omelet and botching the job. How much better not to feel any time pressure, to blossom fully despite the fact that death exists. The attitude that life is a blossoming, not a race, can be achieved. But to do that, you can’t believe that time is running out.

Source: From one of the best-sellers, authored by Dr. Deepak Chopra.