In blogging time (similar to dog years) about 4 years has passed since my last post. For me, it seems like only about 3 days and I'm not surprised by my perception of time. My sense of time is like Cro-Magnon Man, there is DAY... and there is NIGHT. Obviously, I'm no slave to schedules. Maybe I should be a little more aware of the passing of time though.
How do you go about slowing your perception of time to make the most of it? Time seems to speed up as you age. There is proof of this. Physicist Michio Kaku in his documentary series Time, approached people on the streets of Manhattan asking them to tell him when they thought a minute had gone by. They younger people finished counting before an actual minute had expired, the older people after a minute. There may be a biological reason for this or it may be because as you age life becomes routine and more predictable. New experiences that engage your brain and seem to put you in the 'moment' stretching your perception of time, are less frequent.
I experienced this recently while taking a tai chi class. I'm completely out of shape and needed something more than my occasional walks to get me into an exercise routine. Tai chi sounded enjoyable and well...easy. And when I discovered my instructor was insane and hung out with Kerouac and Ginsberg in the 60's writing beat poetry? I thought, "my god, the universe is so kind to me! How did it know?!" My western mindset is also attracted (a little shamefully) to the idea that since tai chi is a slowed down form of martial arts, if you speed it up, you could really beat the crap out of someone (in self defense of course). The class was good for a while. But then my instructor turned out to be perfectly sane and tai chi is just so, so sloooow. Moving at a snails pace and having complete awareness of every tiny gesture made the class seem like 4 (boring) hours instead of one. Had I enjoyed it, the sense of expanded time would have been wonderful.Another way to slow down your sense of time is to have adrenaline pumping, life threatening experiences. People who've been in a car crash or even a near crash, experience the event as longer than it was, being hyper aware of all the details surrounding the event. A study was done where volunteers free fell from a drop of 150 ft into a net. They estimated the length of the fall double than it's actual time.
So how does this apply to me or you? Personally I'm no thrill seeker so flinging myself off a plane or a cliff so I can feel like I've lived longer doesn't appeal to me. I'll think I'll just copy children. I'm guessing partially the reason why kids perception of time is lengthened because they bring all their senses to an experience. They're so much more physical than adults. My kids bounce or hum when they're at the kitchen table for dinner. They have a need to touch everything at the store. They're in the moment because everything is a sensory experience. Adults live partially in memory and often with a distracted mind. Our senses diminish with age, no doubt naturally and maybe a little from lack of engagement. Using your senses in the moment really expands time. I'm going to commit myself to really bringing my senses to my daily experience, because even in the simplest things, look what a wondrous world unfolds when time slows down...