I just finished watching a spontaneous Facebook live stream by Jason Silva. He and his friend were hanging out on a bench in Washington Square Park in New York discussing meaning and the value of existential anxiety as an initiator for introspection and growth, and his friend asked Jason what he is most anxious about. He answered that what keeps him awake at night is the passing of time and the unavoidable and accelerating ending of life, and ultimately that life has no apparent meaning since we all pass (they also discussed how religious people likely feel different and whether that’s a delirious delusion or a blessing).
He expressed that if he would have one goal in life, it would be to be able to dilute the perception of the passing of time. The older we get, the more time we have lived through and the more experiences and impressions we accumulate, and since our experience and personal history is our reference point for how we perceive things and time today, an hour or a day now seems so much faster than it did when we were younger. He brings up the parallel of how we felt as kids on summer break were two months felt like a lifetime, probably similar to how we perceive the passing of a decade in our early adult life. He presents the fascinating idea that what if we could make ourselves perceive time like a child does? What if we would live completely in the present, be able to experience things emotionally like it was for the first time, to make the ordinary feel new again, and by doing so reduce the length of our reference point for time? What if we could make an empirical lifetime of 85 years feel like a thousand years?
Perhaps practicing gratitude and appreciation, to make ourselves see beyond the ordinary, to peel off the layers of our worldly perception, to stop and truly see the beauty in all things, to live life in awe and wonder, could be one way to extend our perception of a lifetime.
All love and no fear,