Monday, March 17, 2008

Recognize Time

We are not one. As much as we may have swallowed the linguistic illusion of singularity, we are not a unified being or anything remotely close to it. We are a plurality of impulses and impressions, connected through vague habitual associations and imposed dogmatic beliefs. We may fear the breaking of a rule… we long for the breaking of the same rule. We don’t want to eat a piece of cake… we long to eat that piece of cake. We want to keep ourselves pure and chaste… we long for anonymous sex with strangers. We want to be peaceful and loving… we long for the ecstatic release of uncontrolled violence. We don’t want to get distracted… hmmm what was I thinking about?
We swim in a turbulent ocean of constantly shifting egos, forces, desires, fears and impulses. In the midst of all this we may say "I am…" but it means nothing. Which "I"? What is it… now? This moment you may in fact be clear on your purpose… but what about a day from now, an hour from now, a minute from now… a second from now? We are a shapeless dispersal of accidents, a kingdom with no king.
It is far from enough to understand this intellectually. You may read this and say "Yes, that seems right…" but that is just the very beginning of true realization. It will take a long time of constant observation to fully realize how multiple "you" truly are. Each part of you is not aware of the other parts. Each part sees actions that don’t fit into its particular self image as "exceptions". "I am very disciplined except for those times when I feel tired." "I am very stable and emotionally controlled except for those times when I freak out." "I am very gentle except for those times when I am angry and harsh." But the so-called exceptions are as much "you" as anything else. All these different elements coexist silently, like travellers on a long distance train that refuse to look at each other and try very hard to imagine that they are all alone.
A basic requirement to be able to fully comprehend this idea, and to be able to work with it in a practical way, is to become fully aware of time. Right now, as you read these words, there is one of you that reads. That one will dissappear moments later and another will appear. This one in turn will stay for only a few instants and another one will appear. All of this happens in time.

The Constant Change of Egos Is Our Perception of Time
This is why time sometimes seems to just escape us, why a day may seem to have simply dissapeared. It truly did dissappear. It was stolen by another you. This is why time sometimes moves by so quickly and sometimes slows down to a crawl. This is why it is impossible to Do.
To Do requires steady Work over Time.
If you have no solid relationship with time, it is impossible to accomplish anything. You may set out to write a poem, a song, to make a painting, to learn how to play an instrument, to improve your health, etc. But none of these will be accomplished if another you, that has no interest whatsoever in these goals, takes over randomly and sets them aside.

To Do We Must Be One Through Time
This is inmortality. We are born and reborn constantly, many times in a single day, a single hour. Each time we lose track of the "I" that was in charge a moment ago and each time we have only the vaguest notions of what we are doing and why we are doing it to give us our bearings as to what we are supposed to do next. People talk about life after death, about reencarnation, about the work of lifetimes… how can you hope to maintain your unified consciousness through the core shaking shock of physical death when you can’t make it through breakfast?

Experiment- Rhythmic Breathing
For this exercise you will need a metronome and a timer.
The aim is to breath rhythmically and deeply.
This exercise is best performed either laying on your back or standing. When laying on your back keep your knees bent and the soles of your feet planted on the surface that you are resting upon. To perform this exercise standing, keep your feet apart but within the frame of your body, knees slightly bent and shoulders back. These postures will help you to relax into "belly breathing" which is deep breathing. You can rest your hand on your stomach to see your belly rise with each inhalation and sink with each exhalation. If you are standing your shoulders should not rise as you inhale, this is a sign that you are breathing shallowly and not from the belly.
Turn the metronome on and set it to 60 bpm. Set the timer to go off within five minutes. Stretch the inhale to last for four beats of the metronome and exhale to endure through four beats. Aim to slow your breathing down so that the breaths fill the entire space of the four beats. Avoid holding your breath as a result of finishing an inhalation or exhalation before the four beats are up. You are basically aiming to breath slowly and rhythmically in time to the beats. Keep this rhythm up until the timer sounds.

Turn the metronome on and set it at 60 bpm and set the timer to sound within five minutes. This time inhale for 5 beats and exhale over the course of five beats. After a week at 5 move up to 6 beats, after that up to seven… See how far you can take it. Allow a week to pass before trying to stretch the breath further each time. There is no hurry. Slow your breathing down and breath from the stomach. As you attempt to stretch the breath over longer periods it will become more obvious if you are breathing only from the chest. The key is to relax. Allow time to expand around you. As your breathing slows down, time slows down. Let is be slow, gentle and rhythmic.

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