No Separation of Space and Time Here

I do not remember ever distinguishing the dimensions of space—length, depth, width, breadth, height—from time. Edgar Allan Poe, H.G. Wells, and even Marcel Proust wrote of space and time as one. I came late to the word space-time (or spacetime) but not to the concept, not really.

For me, space-time has always been more about mindfulness, paying attention to the details of life as they unfold. The space of a moment is a combination of any three of the spatial dimensions–width, depth, breadth, length, or height. Its time is its unfolding as a scene in life. It is as if each moment has four dimensions, a trio of space in time, 3+1.
Space-time 0414

Space-time gives me a better sense of the present as a bridge between the past and the future. The present provides open-ended access to both yet serves as a reminder that the only time we actually live is now.

Having access to the past and to the future is not the same as being in either for we are always only in the present. Yet, it is in paying attention to the details of our lives as they unfold that provides the access to both the past and to the future.

If being completely immersed in the moment reminds us of a similar scenario, that past moment might flash through the mind. It usually does for me. In that flash of familiarity, I have accessed the immutable past but the present scene is of its own unfolding. The scenes are similar but not the same.

Awareness also seems to color the future. Sometimes, I wonder whether or not awareness is the source of infinite possibilities. When we are truly present maybe we are stockpiling for our future; perhaps by minding the details of the present, we provide options for the future.

It is tempting to try to re-create the past as well as frame the future, as if either were possible. Neither is. I know. I have tried. The present is all there ever is and to ignore it is like separating space from time, something I cannot do.

After all, everywhere I go, there I am. I might as well be who I am in the moment that I am.

17 thoughts on “No Separation of Space and Time Here

  1. Another great post – thank you! I have always thought it wonderful how we can perceive time in the way that we do – we seem to perceive its unity with space, proven by our friend Einstein. And we have, I think, the gift of also being able to use our minds to travel through time – in memory, in imagination – and so transcend the limits of the physical. But it is also a curse; the problem is that for most of us, that ability becomes our reality; we worry, endlessly, about the unknowns of the future or the injustices of the past. We forget to accept the moment in which we actually are at any given instant. Your posts about living in the moment are a timely reminder that we shouldn’t forget to ground ourselves in that moment – to enjoy what we have, and accept it.

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    1. Exactly, Matthew! We let this ability be a curse most of the time but every once in awhile “we get it” and are completely present. It is a breath of fresh air, so fresh that we recall it in memory, and there we go, again, or at least that is my experience far too much of the time. Yet, the older I get, the more present I am with little concern for the future and even less for life in the past. It is a sort of freedom, I suppose. As always, thanks for your thoughtful comment, Matthew.
      Karen

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  2. Like Kenetha, I love the idea of presence being the source of infinite possibility. I also like the idea of stockpiling for a non-existent future. I would add that being present also erases past restrictions. Infinite possibility is only possible in the present without the past. Thanks for the motivation to get present. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

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    1. Actually, Kozo, your comment has me exploring, once again, the idea of past, present, and future occurring simultaneously. For me, that means that once a past action is accepted, there are no longer any conditions with it, no strings so no restrictions. The acceptance takes place in the present. Some would argue that the past is then changed and thus the future, which I believe Deepak Chopra discusses. That is certainly the case in his fascinating novel, Merlin. As always, your comments make me think. Thanks, Kozo!
      Karen

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  3. as a mental exercise, when I meditate, I sometimes try to imagine my entire existence being a tiny point of singularity, right here, right now, nothing beyond…. and sometimes, when I’m lucky, the universe cracks open for a milli-second and I get a blinding flash of “something”… I don’t know what it is, but i keep going back there and hope it happens again.

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    1. I think I know what you mean, Craig. For me, in that moment time is past, present, and future but it is only in the present that I am aware or so it seems. Like you, I keep going back.
      Karen

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  4. Thanks for this, I hadn’t really noticed before that the experience of space-time, here-and-now, is about mindfulness. Conscious experience can focus on this…

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    1. The only way I have been able to consider the concept of space-time is through mindfulness. I can say that the older I get, the more I suspect the labels of past, present, and future are synonymous for time. However, to fully explore that in writing is something I am not yet able to do but I find myself coming around to it much more frequently.

      I am so glad to have recently discovered your blog, http://dhammafootsteps.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/now-here-nowhere/, and was thrilled to read your current post post. Thanks for the mention of this blog as well. Thank you, Tiramit.
      Karen

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  5. I love the thought that awareness in this present moment could be the source of infinite possibility! I tend to get so caught up in trying to plan for the future, and this is a beautiful way for me to bring myself back to awareness of the present moment as a means of opening greater possibility for the future. I love it! Thank you.

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    1. I do too, Kenetha! Since writing that sentence, I find myself quite taken with that idea in conjunction with the past and the future occurring simultaneously with the present. Space-time has fascinated me for years and once again, I find myself considering it in terms of awareness. So glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks, Kenetha!
      Karen

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  6. I am always keenly aware of the present, but the past provides context about who I have been, who I have known, what I have seen. The future becomes less important as I grow older. It can turn on a dime, it can end abruptly. The present has, if anything, become more present and valuable as the uncertainty of the future becomes more apparent. I am grateful for every now I get. Outside my window the sun is shining, and now is good.

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    1. Like you, I don’t really consider what may be and that just may be, as you say, because I am so immersed in the present. Now always is, and I am fine with that. Thanks, Adrian!
      Karen

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    1. Hi, Kay!
      Thank you for reminding me of Alan Lightman’s works; I just added them to my reading list. To me, space-time is a lot like getting a glimpse of Buddha nature. I admit to leaning toward the idea that the past, the present, and the future are all occurring simultaneously but I cannot quite grasp it, yet…. Thanks for stopping by!
      Karen

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