The Other Side: 4 – Take Time Away
In some ways, the prison itself is a living entity. It is most certainly composed of living beings, since no system of life can organize itself without life. A fundamental defining characteristic of the prison is denying that it lives. We add this to the previously discussed basic facts it is a prison, and that it has a warden which operates as a being with a distinct will to keep us imprisoned.
The only escape lies within you.
That is, the only hope for beginning to come out of this prison is finding the escape route inside yourself. If it’s not within, you cannot go out, cannot see out. As noted, the first steps of freedom are embracing the facts. If you are capable of embracing these things, the window is open. You will be able to see outside, and begin discerning what is there, what it all means. Obviously, if these notions remain alien, you won’t have any hope.
The mechanics of building that hope are so simple, most people reject that, too. In clinical terms, you have to break the most confining element of the prison itself: time. Granted, everything we know is constrained by the passage of time, quantifying it, etc. Those who live by the clock will never see outside. We cannot simply cut off the entire world around us, because that would offer them no hope or help, either. Rather, we have to build an internal mechanism for handling time in alternative ways.
Freedom is learning to operate outside of time constraints, as if time were not a controlling factor of your existence, but a variable much the same as spatial dimensions. This is similar, but not precisely the same as the concept of the 4th Dimension so popular in Science Fiction and theoretical physics. What we aim at here is not cold and lifeless theory, but a very personal dimension, an internal capacity.
So the first step is placing yourself in experiences where time fades from consciousness as much as possible. Few are able to make this jump quickly. We all experience situations where we forget what time it is, but rare is the person who is able to recover without being a wretched self-centered ogre. The point is to emphasize time might limit our options on the lower plane, but not rule all our actions, and certainly not our perceptions. We should rise to a point where we think of time as something which brings ripeness, not constraints.
A favorable exercise for beginning this transition is placing yourself in a situation where time is allowed to recede into insignificance. Simply stop letting a tight schedule rule every moment of your day. Open a gap in the regimentation and take time away in exchange for quiet. Get alone with yourself. It’s okay if the first few times you are just unwinding from the rat race itself. Whatever you do, don’t load that space with distractions. You really must be alone with yourself as much as possible, creating a distance between yourself and the system, the prison routine.
An example would be going out to an isolated hill top, somewhere people don’t crush past in great numbers. While an isolation chamber of some sort might work in a pinch, it is not at all like being alone in a large space. The psychological difference is huge at first. You have to absorb the peace of the moment in large doses until you start carrying it around with you. It really should be daily, and you should take the risk of leaving behind anything that allows a part of your consciousness to mark the passage of time.
Listen to the sounds; don’t struggle to organize and recognize the sources so much as just notice. Feel the air movements, the temperature variations, sense the moment as a whole. Until you can learn to do nothing correctly, almost nothing you do will matter.
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