Is the Concept of Time Stressing You Out?


“What time is it?”  My friend asked me in a tone of preoccupied worry.
“Now.”  I quipped, flashing a frolicsome grin.

I’ve made a lighthearted hobby out of getting people to question reality. It’s good ole paradigm-shifting fun. And one of the most tantalizing topics is the concept of time.

Ah, yes, time. That enigma that clocks measure. That concept constructed by calendars.

Time is merely a means of measuring movement and the procession of events. But, for some reason, our increasingly rigid concept of time is a great stressor upon humanity…

“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and
not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms
of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.” – Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now)

Disharmony proliferates when we perpetually project our consciousness out of the present, and into the past or future.

Is there any time when it isn’t now? Of course not. Our lives are a streaming continuation of now moments. The past and future only exist in our minds.

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.” – Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now)

One thing that both mystics and cutting-edge scientists mutually agree upon, is that our concept of time is, well, an illusion.

This begs the question, is the means by which we measure movement and the procession of events optimal? Or are we doing it all wrong?

Let’s take a look at movement. Everything moves in a cyclical, spiral fashion. Planets revolve around stars. Planets rotate. Stars go through life cycles. Earth has seasons, climate cycles, water cycles…etc. Living creatures have life cycles, with countless micro-cycles embedded within (digestive cycles, circadian cycles, breathing…etc.). You get the point. The defining characteristic of movement in our Universe is cycles.

And if you were to map the procession of these cycles, they would take on a spiral shape. Picture the movement of a galaxy and apply that model to all of the cycles I just mentioned. We also see the spiral’s ubiquitous presence everywhere. These spirals are physical manifestations of the Fibonacci Sequence. Besides galaxies, we observe Fibonacci Spirals (The Golden Spiral) in sea shells, hurricanes, flower petals and in the position of facial features of most animals. (This article provides some more examples.) There are underlying patterns which act as a template from which reality is projected. So it would only make sense to use systems that harmonize with these intrinsic patterns.


Spiral galaxies, or the concentric circles we use to estimate the age of trees, might provide a more harmonious template to measure “time” (movement and the procession of events). The Mayan calendar, based on concentric cycles within cycles, may also shed light on a better way to approach things.


The basis of our system of time is that it takes the Earth’s rotation, as well as the Earth’s revolution around the sun, and relegates it to a measurable structure (days and years). Both of those movements are cyclical, but we’re attempting to measure them linearly. Hmmm…


So why do we measure time in a linear fashion, if everything moves cyclically? This makes linear measurement fundamentally disharmonious. So instead of flowing with the natural rhythm of everything, linear time resists that rhythm, removing us from all that is (the present moment). Measuring time linearly is like driving while looking at a map, instead of the actual road. One more: Measuring time linearly is like determining the score of a basketball game, not by the amount of times the ball goes through the hoop, but by how many steps each team takes.

A blatant example of “time-stress”:
I had a deadline (“dead”… “line” – coincidence?) to hit at work last week, and I could feel stress creeping into my consciousness as a result. I felt off-centered and even noticed a slight inhibition of digestion, all because of my projections into the future (self-created what if’s and worry). I noticed the signs quickly and immediately brought myself into the present moment, alleviating the “time stress” I had imposed upon myself. And as a bonus, I actually got more done by being present.

Whenever you feel yourself being “time-stressed,” ask yourself this question… “What am I doing RIGHT NOW?” Unless you’re getting chased by a grizzly bear, chances are there’s no real danger at this exact moment. You’ll realize that your fear or anxiety is merely a self-created illusion by losing touch with the present moment. That question will snap you back to your natural state of peaceful presence. The present is your place of power. The now is the river of life. Go with the flow. (Note: If you are getting chased by a grizzly bear, there’s no time to worry or over-think. You just act. There’s a difference between danger and fear. Danger is real, fear is a choice.)

Yes, the past can provide lessons. And yes, some things require future planning. But both of those are, ironically, done in the now and enhanced by “being present.” And remember, if you overdo those analyses, you’re missing out on life right now (and resisting all that exists). We all know people who plan like crazy, losing touch with the present to the extent that they don’t even enjoy or appreciate the moment when it (a vacation, party, event…etc.) actually happens. That ain’t livin’.

When driving at night, you only see as far as your headlights reach in each moment, but you eventually make it to your destination. Embracing the perpetual present moment allows you to effectively navigate the roads of life.

Fully immerse yourself in the present. Be here now.

Things to think about:

  • The most innovative and successful companies now focus on how much their employees actually accomplish, instead of just the sheer amount of hours employees work (which doesn’t necessarily equate to productivity).
  • Is it possible to hold any fear, anxiety, worry or guilt if you’re completely absorbed in the moment?
  • Athletes actually slow down time during high pressure moments, like a game-winning kick, hit, or shot. “Time” is malleable according to our state of consciousness.
  • According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, the faster you move, the slower time progresses. And an object moving at the speed of light will experience time at a standstill (the eternal now?).
  • You can cross the imaginary International Date Line and go into yesterday or tomorrow, depending on which direction you’re traveling.
  • The Gregorian calendar differs from the solar year by 26 seconds per year. By the year 4909, the Gregorian calendar will be a full day ahead of the solar year.
  • In England, the Gregorian Calendar was implemented by an act of Parliament which advanced the calendar overnight from September 2 to September 14, 1752.

Time is a totally real, natural phenomenon, right? (Wink, wink)

Be present, it’s a gift.

– Stevie P!

Stevie P

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