Most of us have noticed how time seems to pass more rapidly as we grow older. Indeed weeks, months and years appear to fly by. Where does all the time go? Actually, it is our perception of time that is causing us to believe that our lives are passing quickly.
Certain chemicals are released and neurons are fired by the brain in response to our thoughts. Whether a thought is offered in response to a present occurrence, a memory, an imagined scenario, or a future expectation, the brain releases chemicals which trigger emotions and send messages to every cell in the body.
Each thought is mechanically processed by the brain as an experience – without distinction between whether that experience is occurring in real time, remembered, or imagined. While the non-mechanical mind is aware that past memories and imagined scenarios are not occurring in the present moment, the physical brain and body perceive all thoughts as actual, real time experiences.
Moreover, the brain evaluates our thoughts in order to calculate its perception of time-space reality. The more thought experience we offer, the more the brain compensates by creating a perception that time must be moving faster.
As children, we had very few memories and fewer ideas of future outcomes. Thus, we had little choice but to live in the present moment most of the time. For this reason time seemed to barely move at all – it almost stood still.
With age, we accumulate and rehash more memories and we create more scenarios of past and future outcomes. Most of these thought experiences are involuntary, and are offered at the same time we are also engaged in a real time experience.
In fact, with age we are likely to develop a “racing mind” which continuously and rapidly entertains memories, scenarios and programmed thought patterns. This leads to mental and physical exhaustion, as well as the perception of time passing at breakneck speeds.
Using the very mechanics of our brains, we have the ability to both slow down our perception of time, and create a much more joyful life experience in the process. With attention to our thoughts, we can use our brain as a tool for living in the present moment – using past memories and predicting outcomes only when necessary.
By paying attention, we can evaluate each thought pattern and determine whether it is productive. Then we can offer thoughts which bring us back into the present moment.
Focusing on the journey through each moment will make life less predictable and extend our experience of time.