The Effects of Time on the Body.

©  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, but maybe more about getting more comfortable with what is.

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.                                   …………….to be continued