The series on time and its paradox continues. Let’s put the spiritual aspect of time aside for a moment. Even when dealing with common calendars, we see that time isn’t always what it seems. Most of you reading this celebrate New Year’s on December 31st. Yet in India the Vedic New Year is marked when the Sun transitions into Aries, the first sign of the zodiac. In 2010 this happens on April 14th. Aren’t you relieved? Now you can really get to work on your resolutions, you just bought time!

Time seems to be malleable, even when it seems to exist. The ancient Greeks had a special way of looking at this; they had two words for time, kronos and kairos. Kronos or Father Time refers to chronological or sequential time. Kairos signifies a time in between, a moment of undetermined length in which something special happens. Kronos measures, it goes tick tock and is quantitative. Kairos is qualitative in nature, it flows.

Kairos brings meaning because it’s accessed in those moments we transcend the finiteness of time.

When we participate in time and therefore lose our sense of time passing we are in kairos; here we are totally absorbed in the present moment, which may actually stretch out over hours.

 

— Jean Shinoda Bolen

It’s unlikely that Dali was in kronos time when painting his famous canvas.

The ‘now’ moment is creative and fathomless. It’s where we live out our passion and purpose. We get to express our true self and touch a depth that exists perennially. Now is like a great river. It flows with the totality of cosmic and human experience. When it’s tapped, that totality is available to the individual, who brings another stream to it, and so it goes on.

How can you deepen your presence in now? Journal using the following prompts. Remember to let your thoughts, feelings and intuitions surface on the page without being censored.

  • What makes me regularly feel I’ve stepped outside of time?
  • What does it feel like when I’m engaged in this?
  • How do I lose my sense of flow?
  • How can I bring flow even to routine activities?
  • Who’s with me when I step out of time?
  • Who pulls me back into time?
  • How does now enhance my contribution to the world?
  • What would I be living if I didn’t have responsibilities in time?
  • How can I live my essence while in time?

I am letting go of my idea of time. I see that eternal life is not a question of “I will be forever,” but of “Now I am.” Eternity is time dying in me.

 

— Jean Lanier


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Of Clocks and Calendars