Time-less-ness

‘Timelessness’ in a heightened state of mind

How many of us have felt this sense of ‘timelessness’ and in which manner? I experienced this recently in a heightened state of mind and was able – to some extent – to observe its nature, at least obliquely and on reflection. Along with this timelessness came a lack of sense of self. The problem for me is how to convey this state. The other occasions of timelessness I have felt have often come within music or playing music. Being ‘lost in music’ as the lyric says. When concentrating very deeply on playing an instrument both the sense of self and time (but not timing!) are diminished.

The first question I ask myself (and which you may well be asking) is WHY try and communicate this feeling; it is either something we experience (or have experienced) or not. If you have experienced it you know it and if you haven’t of what purpose does trying to communicate it serve? I can only answer that my attempts to convey this state of being might prompt others to REALLY consider if they have also – and in which particular manner – and if not, how they might experience such. And to offer insight.

Regarding the ‘heightened state of mind’ – this is achieved through drugs (frankly) or intense moments of BEING. By this latter I mean, say, a physical as well as mental moment – a car crash; a parachute jump; stepping off a mountain side wearing a wingsuit; an orgasm; being overwhelmed by a natural environment and perhaps giving rise to a quasi-religious experience. It might be through meditation. It might arrive in a semi-lucid dream/awakened state. It could be an NDE (near death experience) or an OBE (out of body experience). It might be a highly spiritual experience. I’ll try and give some examples.

Recently, as mentioned above, I had this sensation of time-less-ness. Now I only understood its nature when I REGAINED a sense of time. A part of this timelessness was a sense of non-consciousness too. This is where it gets hard to describe or even for me to comprehend. As far as I can tell when I was in the timeless and non-conscious state it really was a bit like the cliched ‘oneness’ we hear about. As I wasn’t seemingly aware in this state it took me being back in a conscious state to BECOME aware. Of course we might ask: how did I get from one state to another? If I wasn’t conscious then how could I switch back to consciousness? Perhaps it was simply a REDUCTION in awareness. Regardless of this, as soon as I entered into a defined state of ‘being and time’ I was aware of the peculiarity of the former state. I was aware that I had been – as it were – free. Did I continue to exist in that state in any meaningful way? If I was unconscious of ME and of my BEING in TIME then what was I experiencing? I can garner a feeling of being in that state but as with any memory it is but a shade of its former ‘reality’.

If I had continued in a state of non-time and being then that would have ‘continued’ for – well, for how long? Wrong question. It simply WAS. That’s the whole point, there was no time and little (or NO) awareness. Thus that state simply WAS. And even WAS is wrong because there was no sense of present/future or past. Those states were meaningless to its existence. And now I struggle to understand what it was I experienced – if indeed I can use ‘I’ and ‘experience’. This is the crux – this state I struggle to explain only came into existence as I changed from it back into my self-conscious temporal nature. Had I not changed back it would still BE. I would not have contemplated it nor written about it here. Because in that state there is no movement. Movement only occurs with time. In that state there is no sense of ME.

Okay, let me jump to an experience a number of you will have had: an accident of some kind. Let’s take a car crash, which I used as an example earlier. In fact, as I’m going to be specific, I’m using a couple of motorbike accidents I have had. One of these accidents was me simply ‘dropping the bike’ as I hit a pool of oil lying on the road at a T Junction. I still have the memory of this with quite a sharp visual of what happened. As the bike fell to the floor I recall a wing mirror smashing. It happened in slow-motion – or rather that was my perception of it! It was quite beautiful – I have a feeling that the glass shattered into many parts and I can almost see this happening and with this shattering there was a lot of colour; waves of colour. In fact the more I think about it though, the hazier the memory becomes. It was slow and beautiful – that much I can say. Time seemed to slow down. Maybe the crystals of glass reflected the colours of the oil on the road to give the colourful effect.

Now this isn’t a case of timelessness as such – but time slowing…and yet there was a hint of timelessness too because I was able to marvel at the beauty of the glass shattering as if it existed ‘out of time’. On another occasion I again dropped my bike – this was on a roundabout (traffic island) where the road’s tarmac had melted and the tyre grip slipped. I can still see my bike gambolling through the air. I became unaware of my bodily circumstance – just me watching the bike. I didn’t have any sensation of rolling or being hurt and, in fact, when a car driver (who had stopped) came to ask me if I was all right, I simply asked if my bike was okay. Again – I hadn’t fully gone timeless, though time had slowed, but I felt I had lost a sense of my being.

Is there Time in dreams? And are we truly present in them? It seems the laws of science we exist under in this waking state are not observed necessarily in dreams. And yet we take all for granted. Whatever happens in a dream is ‘normal’ and even if we consider things peculiar, that is the same reaction we might have to peculiar events while we are awake. So in dreams there is a ‘normality’ but certainly not a ‘normality’ we experience when not dreaming. We can say that Time doesn’t really seem to exist in dreams even when we experience movement. But does it or doesn’t it? When we are awake dreams are surreal ideas. When we dream we exist in that ‘other reality’ and usually have no concept of a ‘normal, awake state’.

We can have lucid dreams where we are aware of being in another dimension. This is a kind of cross-over, twilight existence. When I was a child I would have dreams where I’d wake up, go downstairs and eat breakfast – only to hear my mother calling me to get up. I think (but my memory is hazy) that this happened a number of times – repeating the same experience before I finally DID wake up and go downstairs. In these specific dreams time seemed to operate as normally – mirroring our usual perception.

And sleep itself is, of course effectively timeless. We can pass through the Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic states as we fall to and wake up from sleep and can often experience very lucid dreams. But normally the sequence is such:
We try to fall asleep.
We unconsciously fall asleep.
During sleep we have another dimension/experience – dream state.
We come awake as if no time has passed. (And yet we are fully conscious that time HAS passed.)

What is the opposite of Time? Is it STATES? Is Eternity a STATE rather than a TIME? We are caught in our preconceptions and perceptions of Time. Living forever and dying forever carry a kind of unsettled menace about them. If given a choice we might opt for ‘living forever’ (in the sense of temporal time) but any concerted thought about that would surely drive us insane? How can you live forever? Being in a STATE is different. As with my recent experience of timelessness it was ‘forever’ and ‘eternal’ in a sense. You could argue – no it wasn’t as you came out of that state. That is true – but just like a dream-state it was completely different when I was experiencing it. And this timelessness I felt was even  more extreme than a dream-state as there was no narrative. It didn’t feel threatening or dangerous…not at all.


A car crash – throwing us out-of-time or slowing down time and dislodging us from the reality of what we ‘should’ be experiencing; free-falling before opening a parachute, I can only imagine giving a feeling of weightlessness and freedom and possibly a lack of attachment (if surrounded by cloud) – also, although moving rapidly, no sense of TIME! Only with the earth rushing towards us (and I presume the rushing of air) would there be a sense of movement and thus time; an orgasm taking one out of one’s mind into a ‘petite mort’ – a different reality – a death of the normal and maybe of the self. Ecstasy. And an ecstatic experience – transcendental – religious/spiritual, maybe an OBE. And here I would argue for the poetic loss of self too and loss of temporal, earthly time. Indeed perhaps a poet’s soul enraptured by Nature. Fanciful? Read some Wordsworth. Or maybe ‘going inside’ intentionally through meditation or – in my case often – the ritualistic beating of drums creating a framework to lose oneself within. Or the blowing into a flute – breathing itself, along with the music, helping to escape ‘reality’. A kind of creative meditation.

Is REALITY defined by Time – as reality is a consensual construct and time a perception within it. Time has changed over the ages in terms of how it has been measured and divided. Has our notion of reality changed along with our notions of Time? How real is Time? And this last question either strengthens the idea of timelessness or makes it redundant. You see Time really IS the answer to life and death.

Many folk who have had ‘near death experiences’ report the feeling of lack of time and the scientist and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg writes of the world of spirits he frequented as being ‘states’. These examples might seem fanciful to you – but we are all aware of the flexibility of time: compare an hour waiting in a dentist’s waiting room with an hour of listening to your favourite music. And time really does seem to speed up as we grow older. The keys to our continuation post earthly-life will fundamentally be: Time-less-ness and another form of Reality. Another form of consensual reality perhaps. A reality even more thought-driven than the one we inhabit now.

Many of the examples I have given for a heightened state of being are not to be advised. And you may have other experiences (please share). The important thing to consider is that being ‘out of time’ (and no drummer jokes here please!) and being ‘out of one’s self’ are highly possible and there is much anecdotal evidence to suggest such.

We know what we experience even when that sense of ‘we’ disappears.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

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