How we perceive the passage of time depends on how we define the word time. Consider this. Scientists define time as something that is mathematical and linear, at least before quantum physics began to shake up that definition. When someone asked A. Einstein what is time, he replied, “what a clock reads.” Philosophers and spiritual seekers believe that time is subjective depending on the nature of our experience. Ram Dass writes, “time is the relationship between moments of consciousness”.
Biologists see time passing as a link between the rhythm of internal processes to the regular rhythms of the outside world such as mating seasons, and the cycle of growth/death of most vegetation. Corporate Executives and politicians see time as something to control as Golda Meir exclaimed, “I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.” Everyone has their own way to relate to time.
Astrology views time as a cyclical experience rather than the linear view most others have.
The effects of time on the body has been well documented. Aging is easy to see. When we look closely, minute daily changes steadily progress to larger, physical changes. Small lines become deep wrinkles. Slight aches become crippling joints. Body postures once limber and upright, become hunched, rounded, and appear to carry tremendous weight on the back. All of this becomes visible over the course of time.
Although things like poor diet, lack of exercise, substance abuse, and ignorance can contribute to this apparent deterioration, time also plays a part. Our awareness of time passing becomes translated into the body. If we believe that we are supposed to age , deteriorate, and get sick as we get older, then that is exactly what will happen. In Japan, many insurance companies are paying out large sums of money to the widows of overworked business men. They call it hurry sickness or kashori and it shows up as sudden death in the workplace. Our perception of not enough time certainly adds to this modern day illness. And that’s exactly the point. It’s our perception of time that holds the key to releasing the stress we feel. Sometimes time goes very slowly, as if one minute or even a few seconds feels like years. Have you ever had a car accident? Perhaps spun out on the road in bad weather? The consciousness slows down and you can sometimes witness the loss of control of the car as if it were happening in slow motion. Other times, time passes very quickly. Vacations, weddings, happy occasions tend to ‘speed’ up time so that 1 week can fly by as if it were one hour.
The key to time management is to learn to recognize cycles, phases, and patterns rather than months, days and hours. To develop the ability to flow with the passing time rather than to fight the clock. There is a certain rhythm in the world that supercedes any manmade time telling device and this rhythm remains constant, stable, and secure and is not subject to the whims of man who we know makes mistakes.
It helps to understand a little history of where all these time telling devices began and why. In Agricultural eras time was measured by a simple stick in the ground telling us how much daylight was left. That was all they really needed to know. However, with the dawn of the Industrial Era and particularly the railroad and the assembly line, a more precise measurement of time was needed. The assembly line couldn’t start until everyone was assembled together. And departure/arrival times for the railroad also became dependent on people coming to the station on time. These ‘technological’ advances encouraged people to ignore what their own bodies, intuition and common sense told them. Mindless obedience replaced common sense and the 24 hour workday was birthed. Productivity, speed, mechanization, were valued above flexability, innovation, and creativity.
Today, many spiritual teachers are encouraging us to become more fully aware of the present moment, the now. Environmentalists are reminding us of the necessity of maintaining mother nature’s ecological balance. But the higher up we live in our high rises, and the more concrete and asphalt we spread over the soil, the more removed we become from the natural world and the inherent rhythms that exist still within our world. These natural rhythms do not go away just because we’ve covered them up with man made forms. They continue to exist just as the sun continues to rise and set and the planets continue to revolve around the sun. This separation between the man-made and the natural world also contributes to our stress and dysfunction.
Dane Rudyhar states that it is the ‘conscious awareness of time which separates man from all other living creatures”. And, astrology, rightly understood, “ can restore man’s sense of meaning through the study of cycles. When looked at this way, time becomes a never ending series of cycles comprised of repeating phases. THe pattern of the unfoldment repeats but the contents and the events are never repeated, thereby allowing for evolution and growth.
When speaking about astrology, author, poet Robert Bly says “astrology shows us how we are fractured and how we are whole.” That being said, how much power do we really have to change things, if the timing on our various life cycles is supposedly set at birth?
Perhaps it’s not so much about changing things. Perhaps as it is to become more
Different people will view time differently depending on their orientation to life. Scientists tell time by microseconds. Artists see the passing of light on a subject. Salespeople are taught to manage their time to make every possible hour productive. This attitude is very common throughout our whole culture. Make every moment productive. Rarely are we encouraged to rest, to reflect, to take time to receive/
Yoga teaches us these things….at least in some of the traditions. After postures we are led into savasana to experience deep relaxation. If you are following one of the more gentler, compassionate yoga traditions you might have the opportunity to rest after each posture to receive the gifts and notice the body’s response to the asana. The guru’s of old understood the need for reflection and passive attention to what we do. This art is also lost in our contemporary culture. Today, we simply keep pushing to do more, and more in less, and less time.
Astrology and the science and psychology of cycles can be a key ingredient here to smoothing out our awareness and experience of time. Let’s reflect a little on the history of astrology to understand this better.
In man’s early history the only clock he had were the sun and the moon. There was day and there was night. Day began with the rising of the sun over the horizon. Man watched the sun rise at a different place each day, climb up into the sky, peak, and then seemingly fall back to the horizon and disappear. The sky then grew increasingly dark until the stars appeared. Man then noticed that some stars stayed fixed in the sky whilst others seemed to move across that wide expanse against that fixed backdrop.
The moons appearance looked quite different. It could appear day or night! And over the course of time *how much exactly(…….it’s shape and form changed….daily. And, sometimes it didn’t appear at all! After centuries of tracking the course of the moon along with the sun man was able to create a calendar of sorts. He found that he could systematically predict with a high degree of certainty, where and when the moon and sun would appear and how long it took for each of them to move through one cycle before they returned to the same place. Witness the birth of a month, moon cycle, and the year, a solar cycle. Thousands of years later these observations became manifested as what we now know as the clock and the calendar. However, some time along the way, man decided that he could improve on this natural rhythm of the cosmos and he began to make his own adjustment to the passing of time. In an attempt to smooth out some apparent incongruities man decided that their should be 12 months to a year…even though there are 13 lunar cylcles that occur. Man also decided that every four years we should adjust the calendar to 364 days instead of +++++ . And most recently man has decided that we should alter the clock by an hour, to take better advantage of daylight hours…..EDT.
So, let’s think about this for a minute. For thousands of years man lived within the framework of natural, divine, cosmic rhythms. His belief system worshipped these moving bodies in the sky and the world was united in this simple way of being. There was always enough time for work, play, rest, and worship. Everything got done. The planting, the harvest, the hunting and plenty of time for relaxation and reflection.
That is certainly not the case today. Qutie the opposite in fact. And, one of the reasons just might be our separation from the natural rhythms of the cosmos, in favor of our attachment and over reliance on the manmade clocks and calendars, which we can now see are not accurate! wrong. We are living today according to an artificial time keeping method. And furthermore our dependence on these man made tools has blurred our thinking, increased the stressors in our lives, created disharmony with nature, and separated us from our deeper selves.
What to do?
Well, for starters it is important to return to some method of time management that can bring us back to alignment with the natural rhythms. After all, we are organic creatures who feel the effects of the environment just like all beings. Animals, minerals, and plants don’t require watches and yet the flowers bloom on time, and the fish spawn on time, and the mountains continue to ignore time. Why can’t we?
Learning to tell time by cycles and phases is the first step and we already know how to do this. It’s in our limbic _ brain.
Let’s begin with the moon. Women understand this cycle on a very intimate level. The menstruation cycle and the lunar cycle are coincidentally the same length. Duh………….
That was until we started messing around with birth control pills and such.
For Yoga Teachers:
Learning to tell time by cycles can help yoga teachers in many different ways.
Create classes which support the current phase bringing more people into alignment with these natural rhythms.
To schedule their work time, personal time, and practice time in alignment with the cosmos.
For anything at all that needs to be scheduled
To reduce the stress of creating a business.
Reduce Stress….slow down the aging process, create balance , be more productive in less time, find the other blurbs for the benefits……
Time has effects on the body and yoga can do a lot to minimize these effects. However, if we are still attached to our watches, clocks, and calendars it’s only a matter of time before we are out of sync again. For more information see Jose Arguelles…….change the calendars. However, until that happens all we can do is to work with the cycles as best we can and to try to align ourselves with nature as best we can.
At any given time there are two cycles going on at the same time. The internal or personal experience of time and the external, or worldly experience of time. Some times these two cycles feel aligned. Othertimes we are again out of sync., and that’s when we feel particularly challenged. The good news is that these times are entirely predictable and remain consistent every year so we can plan ahead to minimize the stress that inevitably occurs when we are out of alingnmetnh.