Being there. No, I don't mean the excellent book by that title from Jerzy Kosinski. What I mean is being "present", at the most important time in anyone's life, which is "now".
source: Wikimedia Commons
The definition of "now" from the dictionary: "at the present time or moment". This is one of those things I realized only rather late in my life, but "now" is is the only time that counts. Not in the sense of living like there's no tomorrow, nothing like that. But in the sense that the present moment is the only existing reality. "Now" is eternal because everything happens right now. It always has and it always will. Max Planck has given us the constants that deal with the tiny, the Planck units, and one of them is Planck time:
In quantum mechanics, the Planck time (tP) is the unit of time in the system of natural units known as Planck units. A Planck unit is the time required for light to travel in a vacuum a distance of 1 Planck length, which is approximately 5.39 x 10-44 s.
Huw Price - Is Time Fundamental?
But however big or small the units we measure time with, "now" is always the same, it's always there and it's always real. One Planck unit ago doesn't exist anymore, and a Planck unit in the future doesn't exist yet. And when it does exist, it's now. And all we seem to do all our lives is escaping that precious time as much as we can. We're almost never really present in the moment. Always remembering the past and imagining the future, skipping the now altogether.
Whenever we're dealing in our minds with past or future, which is, in my experience almost always, we're not dealing with the now, with the present moment. And I think that we do so at a great loss; being conscious of the present time, is being conscious of your present surroundings and the unfolding of events in these surroundings. Maybe there's a case to be made that minding the present is the only way to be fully conscious about yourself and your place in the universe.
Some very smart people believe that time is just an illusion, to help us with sequencing events in our minds, and thinking about my life as a constant unfolding of an eternal "now" makes me wonder if they're right about that. Einstein's model of the universe also makes time something special to imagine; he says there's not space and time, but spacetime, they're not separate. And if you then imagine that spacetime as a 3D model, each moment in existence is a microscopic 2D slice from that model. It would also imply that past, present and future exist simultaneously, and maybe even that the future can influence the past, turning the whole notion of causation on its head... Try wrapping your mind around that...
Max Tegmark - Is Time Fundamental?
We're free to move through the three spacial dimensions, but we're constrained in our path through the fourth one: time flows in only one direction as an eternal sequence of interlinked moments, detectable directly as "now" only. Time has a lot of weird properties that set it apart from the other dimensions we can detect. It's one of those aspects of our wonderful existence we can't quite wrap our heads around. Did time begin at the Big Bang? And if so, is the question "what was there before the Big Bang" even a sensible one? And what if there's no beginning or end to all there is?
I don't have answers, only interesting questions. Well, I think they're interesting anyway :-) One thing seems evident for me though: being aware of the "now", really paying attention to it helps me understand myself better, gives me a better grounding in reality by being aware of everything that unfolds around me at that moment, and everything inside me as well, like random thoughts appearing in my mind, making me wonder if these thoughts come from within or from outside me. Really Being There. It's something I need to do more though; take the time to experience time as it unfolds.
That's what I wanted to share with you all today, just some thing to think about. Also watch the short videos on this subject I've included here; I think they're worth your... time.
Andreas Albrecht - What is Time?
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