OUR BRAIN IS A TIME MACHINE
Does time really exist ?
According to the Natural Time theory, only the Present is the real time. Past and Future times are called ” mental navigation in time” or “psychological time” , as it is created by our own memory and imagination. Our brain is a ” time machine”; memory and imagination help us to travel forth and back in time whenever we want. This mental time travel is a human capacity that puts everyone into a dilemma: how to keep track of this “mental time”, while mind moves back and forth all the time? Science even tried to find pathways inside the cells, neurons, hypothalamus that act as a circadian clock. They even say that there are specific proteins in our body that have the ability to oscillate like a ” pendulum clock”. The neuroscientists are so ambitious to find that “timekeeping clock” in our brain.
Despite all the questions, there exists a real clock that is called “biological clock”. Your leptin (hormone in the body) will let us know when we are hungry, or other hormones will send us to rest or sleep. That is why our health depends so much on our hormone balance. When these hormones are out of balance, they create dysfunctions in our “biological clock”. It is almost like the battery is not charged for the clock to work properly.
The truth is that the most confusing time for us humans is the “psychological time”. This time is different from person to person as it is based on their own perception. We spend all our lives believing that time is an external reality, while it’s really just a creation of our own mind, an abstract source of our consciousness, an inner process that animates our consciousness and experiences. Time is a tool of animal intuition, almost like a software in the brain that shapes sensations into objects. Throughout human evolution, our mind has been organized to think in terms of bundles of experiences, dates, events, years, history, theories or aging. When someone loved dies, the time elapses and we create through our perception the passage and existence of time.
Ancient yogis were the one that closely investigated time and asked: is time linear or cyclical?…real or absolute?… endless or finite? They are the ones that found out what is happening in our mind when we identify with the “time machine in our brain” (memories and all ego experiences). We easily get trapped into a sense of identification and start to believe that we are our memories and past experiences, this way getting stuck into our memories, avoiding what is in the present, and feeling fearful about the future.
They also have found that the biggest mind problem is to face reality, to stay with what is at the moment. It is very easy to lose grip on the present moment as our mind would do anything to avoid the present. Most of mental confusion and fear arises from its ability to “travel in time” as this creates much internal mental movement.
Ancient yogis observed that the only real time is the moment when we become aware of how we move from moment to moment and create a “here and now” state. To open for what is real, and for learning to distinguish between what is real and what is an illusion we need to experience a state of inner presence, which means to stop the “time machine” in the brain at least for a moment. The “here and now” is the only state that grounds the mind and teaches it to accept “What it is”.
Our mind has many layers and only in a state of inner presence, we’ll start to know these layers and their content. Only by allowing ourselves to be present, we start to experience our existence from a “timeless and spaceless” perspective. If we want to know more about ourselves or solve our internal conflicts, all we have to do is to consciously travel into the ocean of our unconscious mind, which is the layer of the mind that stores our experiences, emotions, and the wisdom. It is almost like diving for pearls into the depths of the ocean. Sometimes we find them and other times we don’t, and still, every time we emerge from that hidden depth place we come out renewed. The journey into our unconscious mind helps us to solve our conflicts with our memories and time; we can even retrieve the forgotten Self.
The ability to tap into our unconscious mind is one of the greatest gifts we have, as it gives access to our internal personal power and creates a conscious link with our intuitive mind. There are different techniques to take easily on an inward voyage; guided meditation, repeating a prayer, an affirmation or a meaningful phrase, visualization…The key to tapping into this inner world is to create a routine that acts as a signal to the unconscious. Just as a sleeping routine tells our body that is time to sleep, in exactly the same way, a meditation or prayer routine can signal our conscious mind that it is safe to relax and let the deeper self to emerge.
The big questions remain; is the passage of time an illusion or it is real? Do all moments in time exist for real? Can we control time? The time is seen as a common enemy to everyone, especially to the one that wants to feel young all the time, to the one that wants to have control….. Our subjective sense of time leaves us with a bunch of unanswered questions about consciousness, freewill, relativity, quantum mechanics and the nature of time.
Physicists are very busy studying the Natural Time. Neurologists are busy with the Clock Time and Subjective Time. Only if we could take the time, like ancient yogis, to observe and explore every moment with a sense of deep inner awareness, and notice how the obvious reveals itself. Can we freely see ourselves as the creators of time and not its subject? Are we ready to change the perspective and take this big leap into our consciousness and see that time belongs to us?
HealthYoga Therapist, Teacher and Student,