The Turning Clock

I have noticed that one of the ever-present feelings I have is an intuitive notion of the time of day. Not just for what time it may be, but I have a memory “access point” through the time of day/night that runs cyclically that allows me to recall any feeling I have experienced with significant enough emotional weight relative to the intensity of the will or impetus to recall; and, I have found that I can say I know what just about noon feels like. I know what it feels like in a young boy playing outside with toys on a weekend, unconcerned with anything else in the world outside of his imagination. I know what it feels like in a teen guy staring out the window in a high school class, watching the branches on trees sway in a breeze while a boring lecture plays in front of him. I know what it feels like in a young man waking up in a barracks-like dormitory, ready to do something surely strange and random with the pack of wild “adolescent” men he calls friends. And now I know what it feels like it a young man, lost in the world, looking with lucid inspiration at all the poetic chaos around him, sipping coffee in his winter robes.

Imagine a circular analog clock, arms and hands turning throughout the day. Each configuration of the hands of the clock represents a single moment of the present, but at each moment, the person who watches and experiences that moment only ever interprets it as “now”. Imagine again that clock, but instead of multiple arms turning, the clock itself, with one arm that always points down, turns as a track connected to it moves tangentially across the bottom. The time is shown to pass by how fast, or slowly, the clock rolls along the track, showing what time it is “now” by the hand pointing to the bottom, where 6 would be if the clock didn’t turn. This shows a constant “now” with a changing time, rather than a constant range or cycle of time that has an ever-changing representation of “now”. Both of these clocks are useful in some simple, practical degree, but they represent different ways of interpreting the time we spend in our lives.

There’s no real need to keep track of precisely what time a thing happened or will happen, especially so when there are clocks around to see. But the mind can and does still keep an intuitive track of how much time is passing, or has passed, or should pass before a certain point.

Honing in on this perception of the passage of time (with added help from a consistent sleep schedule) has had a peculiar effect on my meta-cognitive perception of the time of day. In more normal words, the way I think about the time of day has begun to include my general feelings about what I have been doing at that time of day throughout a general range of my keeping track. The time has a certain developed meaning to me, like a gradually refined skill that serves mostly to entertain yourself, and I can read it like a comment about my actions relative to this point of the day in as many memories of what I’ve done at this time as I can or would think to recall.

This degree of intimacy and emotionality in life is not only a beautiful thing to observe, but one of the ways we have developed to maintain ourselves and our relationships over time, reviewing our experiences through our memory. The use of one’s memory to understand yourself is, in my opinion, undoubtably helpful and advantageous, even if just for some entertainment. But, I expect that if incorporated into one’s life with the addition of a reflective practice, such as meditation or artistic endeavors, this perception of time may be able to help us bypass some of the anxiety and stress of having to deal with the demands our daily lives. So much so that one could always center oneself and find steadiness through mindfulness and feeling into the current state of your being.

Featured Photo by Felix Mittermeier from Pexels

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