There’s a perception that some people have that time is speeding up. That is, a minute now seems shorter than a minute, say, ten years ago. Sceptics of course debunk this claim as being ‘scientifically inaccurate’, but there is some evidence of this. In fact, what does the concept of speeding up time mean? We measure speed using time, so if time is speeding up how would we know?
What is changing is the difference between objective time and subjective time. Imagine that brain perception is like a movie where a series of snapshots are taken and put together to form a real-time moving image. In the brain these snapshots aren’t just visual but embrace all our senses and even the inner activity of the mind itself in term of our thoughts. Let’s imagine that ten years ago our brains worked at 100 snapshots per second. One second was 100 snapshots long. In every second of our day we processed 100 snapshots of experience. Now let’s suppose that our brains have slowed down and now work at 50 snapshots per second. Each second is only 50 snapshots and so seems short. Every second of the day we are only processing 50 snapshots of experience and so things seem boring. We want more action to make up for the lack of snapshots that we are processing each second. We are not tuned into details and subtleties as they get lost in the gaps between the snapshots.
The process is reversible by adopting meditation techniques. These are designed, ironically, to slow the mind down. By slowing the mind down you decrease the gaps between the snapshots and therefore increase the rate of snapshots.
Here’s an exercises you can try. When you grab hold of something (for example a door handle), how long is the time interval between touching the handle and feeling the sensation? If you say it’s immediate than it is simply because your snapshot frequency is so slow. If your snapshot frequency was faster you would be aware that there is a delay between touching something and the feeling.
Nowadays, this kind of meditation is called mindfullness. Not everyone who uses the term really understands it, but it is about awareness. That feeling of being tuned in when you touch the door handle instead of thinking of what is on the other side of the door.
By Philip Braham on .