Only Somewhat Real: External and internal time

Monday, November 13, 2017

External and internal time

All right, my friends. Your move. As so often, I’ve lost track of where we are going.

The over-arching theme is, what these concepts of how the world is have to do with your lives as you lead them, moment by moment. We are attempting to bring heaven to earth, you might say. That is, we intend to un-divorce daily life and eternal life. We want to help you bridge concepts in your lives that have been allowed to separate so far as to be mutually irrelevant. A life without framework is chaotic and meaningless. A framework without applicability to everyday life is theoretical and irrelevant. Every feature of your lives may be reduced to this statement: Life must be seen whole if you are to function at your best.

I see that. I’ve been preaching it for years, in fact.

You do and you don’t see it. As in every subject one could address, there are always more levels that can be seen into, more connections to be made, more self-transformation that may follow.


Actually, not all the obviously. But, a little more introspection at any time will usually pay rewards.

Ten minutes to cover one page. I can’t understand it. I realize that speed isn’t the point here, but I keep noticing that at least initially, things somehow take more time than seems reasonable, or rather than seems explicable. I didn’t pause, I didn’t write any more slowly as far as I noticed, yet in 1/6th of an hour, I filled not 1 and 1/2 pages, but only one, or a rate that would produce not 8, 9, or 10 pages, but only six.

Let us correct your phrasing, for a change. You are thinking this is unimportant but inexplicable. We are thinking it is important for reasons you do not yet suspect; it is a tiny thing, seemingly trivial, but sometimes trivial matters are clues to much larger things.

I’ll take your word for it, and wait for the larger meaning to emerge.

It is now 16 minutes, and not quite two pages, yet this would produce eight in an hour. You see no difference in pace; you still have not paused, yet the mathematics come out different.

Okay, I heard, between the lines, something like “the system of measurement isn’t exact.” Not in so many words, but that is the essence of it, vaguely.

And as we said, small things may serve to shed light on larger ones – not that you in 3D are well placed to differentiate between small and large, significant and insignificant, trivial and symbolic.

You think you measure out your lives in time units. After all, your civilization lives by clock and bell; intricate maneuverings of all sorts assure that you continue to live as if inside a watch. You remember Joseph’s observation.

I do. Joseph Smallwood – Joe Indian, for a good part of his life – said to me once that to him, a man of the 19th century, our 20th- and 21st-century lives looked like living inside clockwork, very little free, very little unregulated, next to his. He wasn’t talking about just government or social regulation, either, but our entire framework, clock-driven, intermeshed.

And people of your age – grandpop! – see clearly how much worse the trend is for those following you, whose childhoods are so regulated next to yours, whose amusements and day-to-day lives are so plugged-in, electronically, and, you fear, so unplugged from the natural world that they hardly experience.

Yes, but I do suspect that this may not be loss, but change. That is, what they lose may be well compensated for by what they gain. May be. We’ll see.

We’d say you may count on the fact that any phenomenon whatever will manifest largely to some, scarcely at all to others, and, as usual, in varying amounts to those between the extremes.

Well, sure. I take that for granted.

Which is a reason for us to state it explicitly. What is taken for granted may be thoroughly integrated so as to form a uniform background, or it may be manifest in certain phases of your mental and physical lives and be invisible or non-existent in others. Hence the advantage of making it more conscious by stating it.

Half an hour, four pages. Same pace, so far as I can tell. Part of the difference may be long paragraphs versus short, I suppose.

You can let that go now, except at the end. It has served its purpose to focus your mind on the theme we have not yet quite stated.

Time is not quite what we think it is.

Well, let’s say your progression through time isn’t as uniform as you tend to think it is, because

Internal v. external time. Depends on whether we measure by intuition or by sensory apparatus.

That’s closer. Remember, one of our recurring themes is, internal and external worlds are the same thing, experienced one by the intuition (that is, direct feed from the larger world) and the other by the senses (that is, coordinating with the circumambient sensory world).

There’s your favorite word again.

It is useful, preserving a sense of flow as well as structure.

Now, your body conforms to the sensory model, as far as you can tell, and your mind to the intuitive. Anybody can experience this. Your altered-state experiences in the black box [at The Monroe Institute] showed you that.

They did indeed. Skip [Atwater, monitoring the sessions] would say, sink into that for a moment, or I would tell him I would be gone for a while – and in fact when I came to listen to the tape, maybe I would be silent only for a minute or two. Alternatively, maybe I’d comes out of a session thinking it had been shorter than usual, only to find that it was ten or fifteen minutes longer than usual.

Anybody can experience the disconnect between internal experience and external elapsed measurement. It is mostly a matter of noticing.

It is a commonplace that when you’re doing what you love, you tend to lose track of time.

We’d say, not precisely “what you love” but “what most engages you.” The depth of engagement (if we may use a physical description that is in fact only a metaphor) determines what you experienced. You are not carried along by the stream of external time, though of course that is what your senses report. You are moved from moment to moment, and feel these moments variably, depending on your level of attention and engagement.

That isn’t really clear. Not to the readers (unless they’re more connected to it than I am) nor to me. I often have the sense of something before you put it into words, but here I am putting it into words and not really having the sense of it. “Carried along” and “moved” seem the same to me.

Yes, that’s a long subject, though it has been touched upon more than once. By TGU to Rita and you, by Rita after she changed perspective.

Bookmark it, for the moment?

Yes, although your bookmarks tend to be closer to permanent entombment.

Smiling. I feel the same way, for what it’s worth.

A little more system would remedy that. Anyway, the point is, your external lives may be regulated like (and by) clockworks. Your internal lives need not be, and aren’t, except in so far as you think they are, assume they are.

And, I hear, therein is our freedom.

That’s a little too glib. Let’s say, and therein is your possibility of choice. That may seem to be the same thing, but in fact isn’t, exactly. As we said, a little more introspection will pay rewards. We didn’t mean merely, looking deeper will mean living more richly (though this is true), but that living more carefully, more attentively, will change the quality of your moments by expanding them, ripening them.

“Ripening them” is suggestive but not clear.

Let’s leave it that way, for the moment.

Now, your accustomed hour is up, to the minute this time. How many pages have you covered?

About eight and a half.

Yet you did not consciously speed up; you did not particularly record smaller paragraphs with their attendant skipped lines between them. And you did draw your second mug of coffee. So what is the conclusion to be drawn?

Probably that you don’t mind embarrassing me by pointing out errors of observation or generalization.

Well, that too – and of course we are smiling too – but more, that seemingly precise or even seemingly reliable external measurement can tell you only where you are standing. It cannot measure the journey. On that cryptic note, we leave you for the moment.

Okay, thanks as always. (65 minutes, 9 and 1/4 pages.)

[Just for the interest of it: From the date to the first measurement, 10 minutes, 199 words. From there to 16 minutes, 144 words more. From there to half an hour (in other words, 14 minutes more), another 372 words. From date to signoff, 1471 words. So, first half hour, 715 words, second half hour 756 words, basically the same. Yet quite a different feel to the flow.]


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