Musings with Camera in Hand

Belinda Greb – The Photographic Journey


The Relativity of Time

 The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once. – Albert Einstein

I was going to title this blog, “Thinking about Mortality”, but that would sound a bit morbid, and my feelings and beliefs are far more complicated than that on the subject. I guess what I’ve been thinking about in addition to mortality is the passage of time, what is time, and what does it mean when a life, or a time we’ve known with someone or something, is lost.

What prompted these thoughts? – The following: a night spent in the emergency room with parents after my father had a fall and hit his head; then my mother experiencing leg cramps which caused her to fall a few days later, then hearing of two deaths of “friends of friends” not close to me but close to those I know and the fact that they were my age or younger, and the more recent potential diagnosis of “soft tissue sarcoma” for my beloved dog, Maisie.

Theorists debate about whether there is time or not, or put forth that time is not an absolute quantity. I’m not that scientifically inclined and the idea of no time is befuddling. I’ve read many of the Seth books, and Seth talks about time as a spacious present. My interpretation of this is that we, with our limited human consciousness are focused on a single life, a single moment at a time, less encompassing but perhaps on many levels a deeper experience, especially emotionally. He speaks of other realities, other moments that are happening, that other parts of our selves or other selves are experiencing. I don’t know the answer, but from my experience it does seem like time has no constant and I find the idea of a spacious present is intriguing.

I also don’t believe in the death of our consciousness, although I think that consciousness is probably more than we can fully know or understand and that it is constantly evolving. Take for instance an event that five people witness. Each person would have their own unique experience of that event, and later, memories of that event will change for each of them. Certain significances or detail of the event will be dominant for one and completely non-existent for another. One person may upon remembering the event, relive it vividly while another denies it even happened.

But regardless of our belief system, the fact is when we lose someone close to us, although we have them in our hearts and memories, and even if we believe that our paths will cross again in another realm, or that we are connected somehow, it still hurts like hell. In our tangible present moment and in our foreseeable future moments that person will no longer be there. While we can think of past moments with them we won’t be able to ask their opinion or get a hug, or share our feelings tomorrow or the day after that.

And this can be said of not only losing people, but any sense of loss whether it be our animal companions, place, or just growing older when we realize we we are no longer quite the same person we were when we were twenty or thirty or forty, etc.  Suddenly one day you’re no longer going out dancing – and you try to think of the last time you did.  Now of course you can dance in your living room, but it does sometimes feel like you’ve been robbed of time on the blind.

After my father’s fall, and my mother’s fall a few days later, my mother decided they wanted to join me on a trip to the coast I had just planned as a day trip. She kind of took it over, booked lodgings.  I was put off a bit because of having had my own plans, but as it turned out it was a very nice trip. We had a picnic on the way over and a wonderful dinner together, and while they were napping at the hotel before dinner, I went out with Maisie for a long walk.  It made me realize how precious the time spent with them was and it made me admire my mother’s resolve to keep having new adventures despite the scare they both had experienced just days earlier.

I often have these random thoughts, and I started to wonder whether it would be a good thing or bad thing to know when you were going to die.  Of course you wouldn’t want to know too soon as knowing you were going to die at 37 might make you not want to have a child, or knowing you had until 80 might make you complacent.  However, having an expiration date might make us more conscious and urge us to try to live life more fully in the present.  Say, you received a notice indicating your life is was set to expire in a year or two years.  What would you do?  Perhaps in just knowing, we would live life more urgently, see the people we wanted to see, the places we’ve always wanted to visit, make amends for wrongs we committed and be careful not to leave anything on a bad note. On the other hand maybe someone would choose not to do anything differently but just hold each moment more preciously.

Anyway, maybe this has all been a bit morbid, I hope not. I was talking to my sister about my dog, Maisie’s scheduled surgery and telling her that a sample would be reviewed by a pathologist. In the worst case scenario, I told her I doubted I would put Maisie through the radiation therapy as first it is beyond my means, and secondly, I believe in life equaling quality of life vs quantity. However, I would want to prolong her life as long as possible (positive results about mushroom treatments)  especially as she is in no current pain and can enjoy life, and knowing also that I will be devastated once she’s gone. My sister asked me why I would want to know the pathology results if I wasn’t opting for the radiation treatment, which I suppose is a fair enough question, but I just would. It strikes me as very cruel when the death of a loved one is sudden without being able to show that last bit of caring or the onset of an illness is so fast that one is operating in a state of shock without time to fully cope with the news.

I like to believe that on some other plane, perhaps even at this very moment our higher consciousness is experiencing unification with our loved ones, perhaps even experiencing on a level we couldn’t begin to understand past, present, and future moments of all our lives and interpreting those moments in a deeper more meaningful way than we could imagine.  A seeker of the meaning of life throughout this life, I like think there is an answer to that eternal question. But with this human self and consciousness, I am also always seeking to remind myself that right now I’m guaranteed just this moment and to make the most of it….and if you believe in prayers, say a prayer for Maisie.  Thank you.



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