Time travel has long been our technological dream and fantasy. We fantasize about that time machine that has a special keyboard to enter the the destination date: It could be a DeLorean DMC-12 car (Back to The Future), a phone booth (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure), and those of us over 35 may still remember The Time Tunnel (where the keyboard did not work at all). As humans, we actually do possess a unique capability to time travel – in our minds. This ability to time-shift helps us project into the future: we can plan in great detail, and envision how details will add up to a whole. We used this skill to design airplanes, spaceships, and skyscrapers before they existed. We also know how to go back to the past and learn from it by analyzing past events and tweaking our strategies based on experience.
Our ability to time-shift has earned us great achievements, but it does come a at cost. Humans not only “remember the past” or “imagine the future”. We have the ability to transform ourselves to a time other than the present and really experience what that moment would be like. This package of experience is not only cognitive and rational, it also means experiencing emotions and feelings. So, for example, when you contemplate a dangerous and frightening situation, your heart rate can go up and you may start to sweat, as if you are actually encountering a dangerous situation in the present moment. The blessing of time-shifting becomes a curse.
Being in the present moment is key to finding your inner peace. And moreover, not just being in the present but being present – actively – not as on observer but as an active player who shapes the course of what is happening right now. In this section of the blog we’ll discuss mindfulness, flow, savoring, and other aspects of being present. Stay tuned!