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Organic Time

Flo Li's Cosmic Time

Organic Time is not your traditional measurements of linear time, it is nonlinear Cosmic Time - Fractal Art by Flo Li copyright2010 http://www.FloLi.com

I’ve always had difficulties with time ever since I was a child. Someone once told me that I was like Alice in Wonderland’s White Rabbit who always looked at her pocket watch and ran around like she is already late. When I worked in corporate, I always arrived at meetings at least 5 minutes early. I have hurried my 84 year-old grandmother to walk faster so we won’t be late for lunch. And of course my girl friends would call me the time nazi and they are always scared to death that I might be mad if they arrived late. Even on my spiritual path I often felt like I’m not making enough progress in the time frame I sought for myself. I was not releasing my emotional pain fast enough, I was not ending my patterns of judgment quickly enough, and of course I was not being my 100% authentic self speedy enough. This so called time and doing things quickly enough have been determining how I interacted with others in the world as well as how I added stress to myself. Little by little time became a restriction to my being instead of the intended tool for harmonious social interaction. So now how do I escape this mental jail I’ve created for myself around time?

The concept of organic time came about when I realized that every once in a while, I can make tremendous progress within a short amount of time. For example, I developed a business development plan for Qualcomm’s healthcare department in one workday under the influence of a force called inspiration. I’ve also created beautiful works of art in minutes instead of months. And on the spiritual front, I have also changed deep rooted limiting beliefs that could have taken lifetimes in a hour of meditation. So somehow, the engineer inside of me felt as if something didn’t add up and perhaps this thing called time is indeed nonlinear, non-constant organic time that I have not paid much attention to. And perhaps within the concept of organic time I might be able to break through my boundaries, stop worrying so much about being on time and live a more carefree life towards spiritual freedom.

Artists such as Laurie Simmons featured in the PBS documentary Art in the 21th Century believed the most important thing to her as an artist was to use photography as a tool to capture “a very still quite moment with frozen time.” She was conscious of creating another reality that was “clean and still and quite and beautiful and lots of times de-voided of people because life felt very chaotic.” In a way she too was looking for a moment of clarity amid chaos and have found it within a frozen moment of peaceful stillness.

In his book Flow, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi found a place of suspension of time. It can be described as a total and complete absorption within an activity where time stands still. And within Flow that is where happiness, optimal experience and freedom occur. With his initial studies involved a few hundred “experts” in various fields, Csikszentmihalyi noticed a commonality where “…time no longer seems to pass the way it ordinarily does. The objective, external duration we measure with reference to outside events like night and day, or the orderly progression of clocks, is rendered irrelevant…”

According to the 18th century mathematician and philosopher Edmund Husserl’s remarks in his Essays on the Inner Consciousness of Time, time itself “is not measured nor to be measured by any position of the sun, by any clock, by any physical means.” He suggested this experientially determined time is the result of immanent, inner experience of sequence of events at the core of consciousness. He believed that consciousness itself is the deepest and the most fundamental level of reality. Therefore organic time according to our individual experiences is “what is ultimately and truly absolute.” And since time is in the experience and what matters the most is the individual’s experience of time.

Physicist Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity describes space and time where time changes and is relative to its initial frame. Therefore an “universal clock” that fits everyone everywhere and every action can not exist. The famous Twin Paradox illustrates of twin brothers with two life paths as one travels the galaxy and the other stays on earth will someday meet in person and find their dramatic age differences. Einstein realized that time changes and can accelerate or decelerate depending on the relative movement. Physics indicates that perhaps our experience of time can change depending on our frame of mind and the speed of its movement.

In an interesting article called Intellectual History of Time from orientalia.org – a journal site maintained by scholars and academic publishers dedicated to Eastern philosophy also contain the concept of organic time. It is said that “history is not just an ordered set of singular events. It is a subtle underground movement in the minds, materials, and organization of a society.” Within such movements of complex system we call society, time itself must be modified in order to give meaning. Where “by way of the changing tempo and structure of our lives through the passing generations, contorted by inventions, ideas, art, and altogether changing paradigms and philosophies, we have consistently found new ways to remedy time’s obscure procession with our changing modes of measurement and interaction. Our conceived notions of time have developed in accordance with our art, our science, and our social infrastructure.” And “the intellectual history of time is a subtle progression that weaves through the collective experience of generations, as it weaves through each individual’s emotional and intellectual lives.”

What do artists, psychologist, mathematicians, philosophers, physicists, historians and I agree? I think we all agree that time is experiential and organic. I have asked myself if I can be less strict about how I view time. Can I not give a girl friend the evil eye when she arrives late on our shopping date? Can I give myself a break to enjoy a steaming latte without looking at the clock? A moment of java explosion in my mouth could potentially feel like a pleasurable eternity if I just allow myself the freedom to be. I think tomorrow I will allow myself to sleep during the day and work into the night if that fits into my organic time infrastructure. To allow is to be free. Perhaps I am holding the key to my own freedom within the matrix of nonlinear time. And perhaps my freedom is not pin-pointed upon a pre-defined singularity of time but it flows within the ever-changing eddies of nonlinear organic matrix of time.

Can you hear the Rolling Stones singing “time, is on my side…”?

Note: Since this is not an academic paper and I’m only blogging for my own pleasure, I was not strict on my references. However, I did make links to the sites you might find interesting and you can google the rest.

October 24, 2010 Posted by | Choices, Emotional Freedom, Inner Growth, Self Realization | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Road Never Ends

The 4 year old asked Sensei if a black belt is the highest level of achievement in Aikido.  Sensei smiled kindly and replied “there are many levels of black belts but there is no highest level.”  The 4 year old looked puzzled and slowly walked off the mat.  I sat quietly in Seiza with my eyes closed and smiled.

Two months ago I would have asked the same question.  How would I obtain love, happiness, and understanding?  When can I achieve success, freedom, and enlightenment?  Where does the road end?

Ten years ago I refused to read books without a “proper ending”.  I was so attached wanting to know that my hero succeeds and achieves all of his heart’s desire.  I was never comfortable with the “road never ends” sort of ending.  Even today, people have asked me if my book would have a happy ending.  I just smile and say “yes, my book ends with a happy beginning.”

My beginning is “not-knowing”.  I would like to know if Warner Brothers will finally publish my song this year.  I would want to truly experience “flow” and be Flo this year.  Most importantly, I wish I could find out for sure if the object of my affection would share more intimate moments with me this year.   I wish to experience my life unfold as I travel on this never ending road.

Thanks for sharing a part of my journey as we travel together.  This is the ending and the beginning – the traveler prospers.

January 26, 2009 Posted by | Aikido Wisdom | , , , , | Leave a comment