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    Kol Drake


    Einstein demonstrated that time is relative.

    But the rabbit-hole goes much deeper. Quantum physics discovered that consciousness is entangled in matter in some inexplicable ways; but other than the very fast, or very small, or very large, we tend to assume our “ordinary” reality conforms more to the laws of Newton. Simple cause and effect unfolding with clockwork constancy — well, it’s time to shatter this assumption.

    Let’s stop time.

    Find a clock with a smooth sweeping second hand.

    After watching the second hand for a bit, look off to the side of the clock, outside of the box, and about 15 to 20 minutes ahead of the second hand. You should still be able to see the second hand, but you won’t be looking directly at it. Now just relax and see if you can stop the second hand. If it starts catching up to the point you are looking at, jump ahead to another spot about 20 minutes ahead. With very little practice you are extremely likely to make a most remarkable discovery. You can stop time. Perhaps at first for only a second or two, but with practice, you’ll be able to freeze it for longer. If you can’t get it right away, try playing with your focus point, move it further away or closer to the frame of the clock. Or look at one of the hour markers on the clock about 20 to 30 minutes ahead. After you get it, try counting internally. The count you reach is the number of discrete thought processes you performed in zero clock time.

    Once you’ve accomplished this amazing feat, what does it mean?
    Some people think it’s just a simple optical illusion, that they merely stopped seeing the second hand which was actually still moving (which gets entertaining with banishing incantations of blind spots, foveal vision, saccades and such.) But if they ask themselves why it started moving again from the point it stopped (and most won’t), their explanation doesn’t quite pan out. Some will just dismiss it as a curious blip that doesn’t really fit into their radar about “reality” and it won’t be cause for further concern. But a few of us will notice the crack between experience and beliefs and want to play. Does it stop sound at the same time? For some people, for others not, which is curiouser still.

    Maybe consciousness can be more than a passive observer of this “constant” called time?


    I have not done the exercise with a watch but I have, on more than one occasion, seemed to “bend” time.

    It has been a while since this happened but I have had several instances where I had to be at point A at X o’clock.  The normal time to travel to A was, say, 20 minutes.  I have travelled to A a number of times and it has always taken me at least 20 minutes to get there.  I get in the car 10 minutes before X o’clock, fervently desiring to be on time since I hate to be late.  I arrive at A at exactly X o’clock.  I have not driven faster than normal so I have no explanation for this phenomenon other than the thought that time is not as concrete as we think it is. 

    Kol Drake

    Aye.. I have had that ‘getting to point X’ in seemingly less time then was the ‘norm’ and always come away scratching my head afterward.


    I read about that in a magick book in the past.  I think the key is for there to be no doubt in the mind, just intention to arrive ‘on time’.  It probably also requires not looking at the clock during the journey. ;-)  For those reason it’s hard to do on purpose, at least for me.


    Actually, for me, part of the phenomenon seemed to involve looking at the digital clock on the dash and just willing it to go more slowly.  I was always a little surprised when this worked but I try to suspend disbelief when I do these things (I call it the ‘what if’ attitude).


    Interesting.  I guess in the end it depends on what works for you.  If I have a way to gauge the passing of time it doesn’t seem to work for me. Maybe if I practiced with Kol’s exercise first it would work better.


    Or maybe our brains are just wired differently, Jax  ;D

    While we are on the subject of space/time anomalies . . . I have another interesting thing that happens to me sometimes in meditation.  As I mentioned previously, I use my morning commute for meditation time.  Most days, I know exactly where I am along the route, even though I have my eyes closed.  I suspect this is simply because I have been riding the same bus, along the same route for six years now. 

    Occasionally, though,  I will be meditating or doing journey work and I will lose time (no UFO abduction jokes, please  :trooper )
    For example, not too long after the fox meditation that I described in my journal, I had an experience of having a chat with Fox.  That chat began about 15 minutes into my hour long ride.  My perception of the the time spent in the meditation was of a very short time, long enough to speak a few sentences back and forth.  When I came out of the meditation, 30 minutes had elapsed and it took me a moment to figure out where I was. 

    This anomaly works the other way, too.  Sometimes, I will have a long and involved meditation where it seems like I am “in” for quite some time only to come out of the meditation five minutes later. 

    I know, from my reading, that this is not an uncommon phenomenon but it really does shake one’s surety about time and its passing. 

    Kol Drake

    Time ‘manipulation’ — making three minutes be enough time to watch all of the movie “Gone with the Wind”.
    (it’s long, trust me, I had to sit through it while dating once… it is sooooooo long.)

    There was a guided imagery exercise in Mind Games: The Guide to Inner Space by Robert Masters & Jean Houston — a book I’ve had since the late 70’s — which explored making time ‘go faster’ or ‘slower’ for the duration of the experience.   All of the exercises were of a similar vein;  to help participants gain skills in greater awareness… of self and the world around them.

    Even knowing of the experiments and having had some minor ‘time quirks’, it still is a kind of ‘odd moment’ feeling when I realize it’s happened.

    Kol Drake

    The explaination (sort of) of how time stopped as given in the beginning ‘experiment’.

    But first, some housekeeping. Before discussing what happened, let us talk about some of the theories used to explain away the effect. If you have not done the experiment yet, please try it here first. The rest of this will make much more sense.

    The first natural assumption is that it’s an optical illusion.
    Through blind-spots, foveal vision and other anomalies of sight, somehow we may have missed the fact that the second hand was actually still moving. This is easily discounted when you do the experiment successfully — the second hand does not jump ahead, as if blocked from vision temporarily, it starts precisely where it stopped.

    The next pseudo-explanation is from Mind Hacks (excellent book, btw) — an explanation in Mind Hack #18 speaks about saccades and suppression of vision.  When we move our eyes quickly over a relatively large span we retain a type of visual constancy that may explain split-second freezes (which will sometimes occur while you are reading the instructions and notice, as your eyes flip over to the clock, that it is stopped.)  This does not explain how, without moving the eyes, and in fact fixing them on a specific location, you can stop time for much longer than a subjective second or two.  Science has no viable explanation of our experience in terms of physiology, sorry about that. (Although the dilation does occur more readily with higher levels of theta brainwaves.)

    But actually, something far more interesting may be at play.

    Milton Erickson, the father of American medical hypnosis, performed a series of fascinating experiments in 1948-1954 documented in the book Time Distortion and Hypnosis. He used a metronome with subjects imagining themselves doing various tasks under hypnosis, at a normal pace, like counting beans or picking cotton (hey, this was the 40s and 50s) One subject counted 862 cotton bolls, taking her time, brushing the leaves aside to insure she hadn’t missed any, in a period of 3 seconds in external clock time. Others had similarly remarkable experiences.

    Erickson also worked with author Aldous Huxley who could enter into a light trance and develop writing themes; Huxley could subjectively experience 6-7 hours in the period of a few minutes, an ability he explored and further refined with Erickson.

    Ultimately the clock does not “measure” time in any objective sense in the way a thermometer measures temperature, rather it creates something we can synchronize experience to. This synchronization is a learned, cultural and social conditioning that is largely unconscious.

    Edward T. Hall, a cultural anthropologist, describes an experiment in Dance of Life where one of his students surreptitiously filmed activities at a playground.  When they broke the film down later, running it at different speeds, they found that one little girl who was skipping and cavorting across the playground was synchronizing the subtle movements of each group she came in peripheral contact with, both with her and with each other.  A student, recognizing something familiar about the beat, found a particular rock song which fit the soundtrack of her rhythm precisely.  Hall theorized, in discussing this with musicians, that music actually may form a type of consensual rhythm for a culture, one of many mechanisms that instruct and reflect how we experience time.  But how can we re-program this conditioning if it is largely unconscious?

    When we see indicators of our stress levels on something like a GSR meter (which measures skin conductivity) during biofeedback we discover that, with such a device providing feedback, we can rapidly learn to control our own physiology.  By seeing internal changes reflected in the external readings we can directly affect our physiological arousal and relaxation.  The mind sees the effect of its adjustments to sensations that are more minute than we are typically aware.  In our experiment, the clock provided the feedback device, even the smallest dilation of awareness in time is immediately evident.

    Now some may be disappointed that we can not stop “objective” time like a superhero and run around while everyone else is frozen in place ala’ the Flash or Superman at hyperspeeds.  But “merely” altering your own relation to time still has several intriguing possibilities.  A report in Erickson’s book talks of a subject who was able to bring about a slowing of observed physical phenomena at will, and to have employed this ability to advantage while boxing.  Martial artists sometimes experience this, in exceptional circumstances, with time slowing down so they have plenty of opportunity to react to an opponent’s moves. Time dilation has applications in sports, video games, sensations you would like to prolong, or just having an extra 5 minutes to think of a snappy come-back in a split-second of clock time. Perhaps, with a little practice and calibration, these possibilities are closer than we think.

    So, take some time to work with time.
    Never know what Jedi ‘tricks’ might come about.  :)

    Do you know that at this very moment you are surrounded by eternity?
    And do you know that you can use that eternity, if you so desire?
    – Don Juan, Tales of Power

    Thank you for that extra information, it’s definitely interesting and helpful for those of us who get stuck in science. :-)

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