I was sat having a coffee this morning overlooking a stretch of river flowing beneath me and
I began a little thought experiment. I am often trying to get my head around the nature of time, because I have read so many things that have persuaded that time is not how we intuit it to be. Our experience of time and space is apparently more a reflection of how we operate in it, rather than how it truly exists. Anyway, I was daydreaming and looking down at this river, and a plastic bottle came floating along it, it was zig-zagging its way along the fast moving rapids, moving from side to side, up and down atop of the various waves that made up the surface of the water. It hit into a rock and that pushed its trajectory into the bank where it caught a reed. While caught in these reads the water pressure began building up behind it and it started spinning and taking on water and started to sink. I thought to myself; the way I think that we approach time, or life, is more like a solid road that we must walk or run down. But perhaps a better way of conceptualising it, is more like that of this river. Ever flowing in one direction, and we are like bottles on its surface. If this is the case, it is futile to try and swim against the tide, just like the futility of fighting against time, all we will do is tire and drown.
I pictured myself on the bottle and wondered the most effective way to ensure that my journey would be smooth and flow with the river. I realised that it would not be a case of me having to move towards something, but rather to pick a target in the distance, to have something clear that I am aiming toward and then not worry about going to that target, but instead to focus on keeping my balance, and ensuring my aim remains true, and allowing the target to arrive as the flow of the river (time) would carry me to it. Even in the phrase “a true aim” there I believe is laden deeply profound and important information as to how we should live our lives. If we pick an aim, a target, that is based on something deep and true within us. Something of value and purpose, and if we then focus on just keeping our balance and our alignment with that aim. Perhaps we can trust the flow of time to carry us the rest of the way. And not let the turbulence of the waves of life leave us spinning under the pressure of time, or worse sinking.
Just as time and space can’t be separated, they are two parts of one whole, so-to is the flow and the water of the river. You can take a cup of water from it, but now it is a cup of water and no longer a river. For us to know anything, it must be in the comparison of something else. This is fundamental of reasoned knowledge, which is one of the reasons we are struggling to conceptualise consciousness and the mind as they are unique in our rationalised experience to biological creatures. Perhaps thinking of ourselves afloat a river can let us take clear aim, and then return to focusing on our balance and alignment in the moment. Perhaps this is why people report such success from methods like that of “the secret” and vision boards, something I have always believed has utility, but not enjoyed the explanation as to why. Life is not a race, it is a ride, and maybe even one that can be enjoyed, and not worried about.