Monday, April 5, 2010


Time is one of the oddest things around. I mean, you can't really call it a thing, can you, because it doesn't have any shape, but you can sure feel it. You can sense it.

Einstein said that time is relative, and boy, isn't that the truth? Have you ever noticed how children and adults sense time differently? When dealing with my five-year old son, I have to remember the relativity of time. I have to consciously remember that last summer, less than a year ago, was only 3% of my life ago. For Shoghi it was 20% of his life-time ago.

I remember being a child and how the summers would last an eternity. I could pack so much into an hour, or a day. How much could I do during an entire summer? But now, as I grow older, time seems to rush  forwards. An hour is so short a moment. I can barely do all the things I want to do in a week. The summer is never long enough.

I have been told by those who are older than me that this sense of time moving faster just keeps accelerating as you get older, until you can practically see the grave rushing up to catch you as you fall. I'm glad I haven't seen that, yet.

Our sense of time also seems to be determined by the amount of new information we receive. I believe that somewhere deep inside our psyche, we measure time not based on an external chronometer (or watch), but more on new concepts. When I learn many new things in a short period, time just seems to fly by. On the other hand, if I'm doing everything by rote, and there is no new learning, the minutes just drag on. It is as if, on some level, I expect new concepts to come at regular intervals, and guage the passing of time by that.

But actually it is inverse to that, isn't it? It's as if I am aware only when new learning is taking place, and hyper-aware of the moments during those times. This hyper-awareness makes life more exciting, more filled, more worthy.

Maybe that is one of the many reasons we are told, in all the various religions, to be aware. Be aware of ourselves, of those around us, of the world.

There is another funny thing about time: people seem to think that older things are better. Well, except in the case of technology. Or fashion.

But is this the case? There are many instances where new things tend to be of a better quality, as the creators of those things have learned from the past. They have improved. They have developed.

Take movies, for example. Sure, 99% of them are garbage, but that 1%, that cream of the crop, is so much better now than they were 50 years ago. I love to watch the old movies, especially those that won the awards or are still highly regarded. But they seem almost clumsy in their character development, or in the way the story is unfolded. We, as artists, have learned much since that time.

And then there is religion.

I remember tutoring this boy, and I had gotten to his house before he got home from school that day. I sat in the kitchen and chatted with his mother, while waiting. The subject of religion came up and she asked me what my religion was.

"I'm a Baha'i," I said.

"Oh? And when," she asked, "did it begin?"

That was an easy question. "1844."

"Well," she said, dismissively, "my religion is much older than that."

Here, at last, was a point of connection. "Ah, you're Jewish?" I really thought she was, and was glad to have something in common with her.

"Oh," she said, looking startled, "uhm, no. I'm Catholic."

"Ah," I said, before my brain had engaged, "one of those newer religions."

So I didn't do that well in that case.

But really, time is a funny thing. And I'm just not sure what to make of it.

We are told that time only exists in this world of creation, and that in the other realms time is not a factor. The whole concept of chronology seems to go out the window. I can't fathom that, but I guess I'll understand when I get there.

In the meantime (hey, there's that time thing again), I will treasure every moment of time that I have here. For it really is all that I have. My possessions are nothing more than dust. I can't take them with me. But my moments are my treasure.

Howard Colby Ives, in his book Portals to Freedom, said that he had heard 'Abdu'l-Baha say, "Nothing is too much trouble when one loves, and there is always time."

And so I choose to take some of these moments and share them here with you, dear Reader. And I, in my turn, thank you for taking the time to share a few of yours with me.

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