Against The Stream ~ MEASURING TIME

Yesterday has gone, just like a dream;
Tomorrow never comes.
What time have we to call our own?
The present is like a bubble on the water:
Grasp it—and it’s gone.
Are not our hands always empty?
Swept along, endlessly,
Becoming old, against our will;
Where are we going?
Do you have time?
Think again:
Perhaps it is Time that has you!

We measure Time in many ways. For ordinary everyday affairs, in our relationships with others, and for our convenience, we measure time by the clock, which divides the day into hours, minutes and seconds, all of which are artificial, man-made divisions; nowhere, in Nature, can we find an hour with sixty minutes or a minute with sixty seconds. But these are useful inventions that we all agree on; they enable society to run efficiently and smoothly; we can be punctual and keep appointments because of these agreed-upon measurements.

We further divide time into days and nights, weeks, months and years. Well, these divisions, as we know them, are realities on this planet only, and if we were to go into Space, what we call days, weeks, months and years would not exist. And, even while we are on the planet, really, there is no such thing as a week with seven days. Again, this is man’s invention, and is unnatural; we cannot observe a natural division into seven days. Actually, the 7-day week originated in the Jewish-Christian Bible, and, because of the aggression and conquests of the European pirates/colonists, it—and the English language that is now the international language—has been accepted worldwide, and for no other reason.

Space is so inconceivably vast that it is meaningless to measure it in miles or kilometers, so we measure it in time. We are told that the distance from the Earth to the Sun is about 93 million miles (approx. 150 million kms), and since light travels at 186,000 miles (approx. 298,000 kms) per second, it takes about 8 minutes for light to cover this distance. But some of the Stars are so distant that it take hundreds-of-thousands—or even millions—of YEARS for their light to reach Earth! We cannot comprehend the immensity of this, for compared to such time, our brief lives are less than a finger-snap. But it is good to look up at the night sky and ponder on our smallness; our problems and worries often feel different and less potent by the light of the stars.

Few people live beyond a hundred years; compared with the life of a butterfly, of course, this is an unthinkable age, but as measured beside the giant Redwood trees of the West Coast of the USA—some of which are more than 2,000 years old—it is not very old at all.

We measure time, most of all, by our feelings: our joys and sorrows, hopes and fears. An hour in a leaking boat on a stormy sea might seem an eternity, while a happy hour passes like a minute; however long it might be, our happiness always ends too soon, while our sadness drags its feet.

But, when things have passed, they seem to be part of a dream, and we cannot be sure if they ever really happened; maybe we only dreamed they did. This is why life is spoken of as a dream, a rainbow, a mirage; it is not ours, but comes and goes, uncatchable. If our life really belonged to us, we could say: "I’m not going to grow old, get sick or die". Well, we can say it—it’s easy to say it—but we grow old (if we are lucky), get sick, and die anyway.

Time, in whatever way we measure it, is like a one-way street: we move from the past, through the present, to the future, never the other way around. Every day is important. Take care of it, therefore, so you have no regrets about growing old.

< Previous  -   Next>

Home  -   Against The Stream  -   As It Is  -   Because I Care  -   Behind The Mask  -   Boleh Tahan -   Just A Thought -   Let Me See  -   Lotus Petals  -   Not This, Not That  -   Parting Shots  -   Ripples Following Ripples  -   So Many Roads  -   This, Too, Will Pass  -   Wait A Minute!  -   Your Questions, My Answers  -   Download  -   Funeral  -   Links  -   Contact