Thought on Time

All of a sudden it’s July and in a week it will be 5 months since lockdown began.

I’ve often heard that time seems to speed up the older one gets. I don’t think it has anything to do with the vagaries of the space-time continuum, or some sort of mystical notion. Rather, it’s a matter of proportion and experience; the more days we have behind us, the greater and longer our point of reference, which in turn informs us in our experience of the present. A year is an eternity for a child who has only experienced six others; it’s comparatively short for someone who has lived 40.

“How did it get so late so soon?” 

Dr. Seuss

But these Covid times have somehow altered my perception of time, and there’s an unsettling unevenness in the way in which I experience a day, or a week. On one hand, there are many days that feel endless, purposeless, the hours dragging. On the other hand it feels like weeks have slipped by in the blink of an eye. And for many weeks I’ve been wondering if I’m an outlier in my perception of time both expanding and contracting.

Feeling that time is constantly warping around me is disconcerting, to say the least. I find myself having a difficult time remembering if a conversation occurred yesterday, or a few weeks ago – the insistent sameness of my days blurs the boundaries. And I’ve caught myself on many an occasion glancing at my watch and being surprised that so much/so little time has passed, defying my perception of it.

I’ve experienced a fluid awareness of time during meditation, and in my deepest sits I lose the sensation of it entirely, so that the sounding of the bell brings me not only back to my environment but also to the passage of minutes. This kind of fluidity can feel wonderful – as if I’m suspended in stillness and gently dropped back on a calm current of seconds, minutes, hours, as if nothing has been disturbed.

But in these months I’ve also been acutely aware of the sense of losing time, of time being disturbed. I feel the loss of time when I would have been conducting, making music. Time with friends, time with colleagues. Time in the many marvelous cities I frequent. Time when I would have been working, generating income.

And then I have to remind myself of the preciousness of this finite resource. In the aggregate of all the time of the world, our lives don’t even occupy the fraction of a blink of an eye. Time is fleeting. And there isn’t really enough time to be spending time mourning the loss of time.

So I’ve been trying, in my own way, to be more aware of the progression of minutes and seconds and weeks, to be present in them. To not waste my moments now contemplating a moment that didn’t happen. To accept the passage of time, in its ow time.

9 thoughts on “Thought on Time

  1. Hi Maestra.
    Scientists still don’t exactly know what Time is up to this date. Silly as it might sound it is true. Some scientists say time doesn’t exist and is a construction of the mind. On the other hand our science has brought up the seconds, minutes,…and so on.
    There is something that has always fascinated me, though. Albert Einstein couldn’t believe that two particles could transcend the space and time continuum to communicate and share the same info (even at light years away from one each other). He called it “spooky action at a distance”. It was discovered in the 1920’s during the early discoveries in quantum physics. Today physicists call it “the entanglement’s law” and is still proven by science (even if it is still a mystery which has yet to be solved). Time in itself is still a mystery. Some scientists like Michio Kaku (theoretical physicist) and other brilliant minds wonder if it is the real meaning of “les voix de Dieu sont impénétrables -> God’s paths can’t be pierced (I’m not sure if it is exact translation but you’ll probably get the point).
    That being said this topic in itself is ∞.


  2. Wayne Zelenak says:

    Sarah, The study of time is a conundrum and reminds me of the lyrics of “The Windmills of Your Mind” written by Alan and Marylin Bergman in concert with the incomparable and late Michel LeGrand for the score of “The Thomas Crown Affair” The lyrics are fascinating.

    Sylvain points out some interesting points on the study of time in which I share his thoughts, but I find the following quote equally inspiring:

    Laugh, I tell you
    And you will turn back
    The hands of time.

    Smile, I tell you
    And you will reflect
    The face of the divine.

    Sing, I tell you
    And all the angels will sing with you!

    Cry, I tell you
    And the reflections found in your pool of tears –
    Will remind you of the lessons of today and yesterday
    To guide you through the fears of tomorrow.”
    ― Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun:

    I love your profound words in your last paragraph in this blog” “So I’ve been trying, in my own way, to be more aware of the progression of minutes and seconds and weeks, to be present in them. To not waste my moments now contemplating a moment that didn’t happen. To accept the passage of time, in its own time. This tells me you are on the right path of peace and understanding…


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