The flow of time is central to human existence. "The past drifts away and the future relentlessly approaches," so says Paul Davies from the World of Science. Einstein suggested that the passage of time, the distinction between past, present, and future, is just an illusion. Countless writers and poets throughout the ages have written about the passage of time. And time does, truly, seem to fly by; and it moves even faster as we get older. A day, a week, or a month, can be an eternity for a child. For adults, with our busy lives and demanding schedules, next month is here in what seems to be an instant. So can time simply be an illusion? It seems real to me! But, perhaps, I'm wrong.
I recently read in the Huffington Post where the passage of time could be psychological. If we think next week is a long way off, it will seem to take forever to get here. Conversely, if we think next week "will be here before we know it" then it will, indeed, come barrelling down on us. Our own senses become the primary measuring tool. But here's the interesting thing about time. It really can be altered.
A study was done whereby two, exact atomic clocks were set perfectly in sync. One was kept on the ground and the other was loaded onto a jet, circling the earth as fast as it could go. When the jet landed, the clocks were checked against each other. The one that had been on the jet was different; it had lost time because it's timeframe had been altered. Nothing else in the world had been affected, only the clock traveling on the jet plane. So we learn that time is not linear, direct and undeviating but is, in fact, subject to change. The closer we get to traveling at the speed of light, the more time slows down. This is pretty cool stuff!
As we age, time does seem to literally "fly by." It oftentimes can seem scary; so much to do...so little time. Kids live pretty much in the here and now. How lucky they are! They have very little concept of time passing. At breakfast, dinner seems like a lifetime away. We might all do well to try living in the present. Like the old adage goes, "the present is a gift." And it really is. Now is all we have, all that we can be certain of. If we remind ourselves to stop worrying about what's already happened, or what might happen in the unknown future, and really lived in present moment awareness we can, indeed, make time stand still. And who among us can't use more time?