Guest Author - Linda Joan Paul
What exactly is time? Does time exist outside of our limited concepts and ideas? What if calendars and clocks didn’t exist? Would we measure the passage of time based upon the rhythms of the sun, moon and seasons? Wouldn’t this be a more natural process that would keep our own bodily rhythms in accord with those of the earth?
The ancient tribes and clans based their concept of time upon the lunar phases which consisted of 28 day cycles between 13 full moons, which added up to 364 days. With the onset of the solar based Julian calendar the cycles changed to 12 months with 28, 29, 30 or 31 days depending on the month. During Roman times, the calendar actually started over and over again, beginning on the date each new emperor took over. Eventually, the current calendar which renews on January 1st came into being.
So, how did the modern world become slaves to time? We base our entire lives upon which day it is, what time it is and what month it is. We are so wrapped up in time most of us don’t stop to just enjoy a day without worrying about what we need to do next. We use clichés like “killing time” or “wasting time” or “not enough time in a day.” The times of the year we set aside as holidays still loosely correspond to the old lunar calendar, including Christmas, which is actually the Winter Solstice and Easter, the date of which revolves around the full moon and the Spring Equinox. So, we haven’t entirely lost our connection to the earth cycles. But, we have definitely lost track of the how and why we celebrate the holidays in the first place.
So, what exactly is time and how is it measured beyond our concepts and ideas? Does the earth has it’s own unique time structure with the changing of the seasons? The animals and plants instinctively know the when, where and how about the right time for mating, eating, sleeping etc. They don’t need calendars and clocks to tell them when to bloom, when to hibernate and when to move to better hunting grounds. What if humans forgot about the clocks and calendars? Would our natural instincts take over? And, if so wouldn’t we be happier and healthier? Perhaps we would even extend our life spans.
“Time is money.” Think about that. Do we base our lives on the value of green paper? Do we ignore the pursuit of true happiness in our quest to see how much of that green paper we can collect? Is the true worth of a person based upon the amount of green paper that he or she has collected? Have we forgotten how to barter for what we want and need? Couldn’t we put our time to a better use than the pursuit of green paper? How do we stop this eternal dependency on time and just live our lives by our own internal rhythms and the rhythms of the natural world around us?
In actuality, isn’t time entirely about the present moment? We can’t relive the past and we can’t know the future, so why not live our lives entirely embracing the present moment. Doesn’t what we do right NOW influence the past and the future? Indigenous people have long understood that they can reach forward from the past and back from the future in order to influence the present moment. This concept is entirely alien to most of the people in our world. Do we own time or does time own us?