We all have a sense that time expands and contracts, seeming to drag one moment and race the next, but what is our constant, our absolute? I believe it is “me,” our core sense of self.
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 our sense of time.
Consider all the subjective qualities we attach to time. We say things like: “I don’t have time for that.” “Time’s up.” “Your time’s running out.” “How time flies.” “Time hangs heavy.” “I love you so much, time stands still.”
These statements don’t 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. If you’re bored, time hangs heavy; if you’re desperate, time’s running out; if you’re exhilarated, time flies; when you’re in love, time stands still. In other words, whenever you take an attitude toward time, you are really saying something about yourself. Time, in the subjective sense, is a mirror.
Linear time is moving inexorably forward, and to overcome that, we must find a place where a different kind of time, or no time, can be experienced and internalized.
Adapted from Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 1998).