As I post this in Minneapolis it is just after 9 p.m., December 31, 2014. In Antarctica, at the Amundsen-Scott Station, it has been January 1, 2015 for 16 hours. How can that be? This most southern point of our planet contains all time zones because the 24 time meridians meet there. Is that spot devoid of time? Or does it contain all time?
A number of years ago, I read about the New Year’s Eve celebrations of a few people stationed at Amundsen-Scott. To have a little fun with their unusual location, they stood at the Ceremonial South Pole at midnight 24 times. Each hour, they faced into the zone that clocked-in the new year. I wonder how many New Year’s Resolutions were made.
So what time is it at The South Pole? What is time?
I can’t speak with more than introductory knowledge, but I understand that there is essentially no solar time at The South Pole. The sun is either perpetually above the horizon or perpetually below it, with the exception of the two equinoxes. There is no day to measure by a sunset or sunrise except on those two dates.
There are measurements and equations of phenomena that are used as a basis for our language of tracking and tally. Round the world, with few exceptions, we’ve come to an agreement on the measurement of time so that commerce can occur and milestones can be acknowledged. Clocks and calendars can be synced.
So what is time? Is it something to spend? Does it have a beginning? If it ends, where does it go? What is it we are counting, tallying?
We are usually measuring ourselves against time. Or perhaps we are measuring time as it streams past. Usually…
We live in the present time fretting about the future.
We live in the present time regretting the past.
We live in the present time judging the present time against what we rather it to be.
These habits of mind assume a constancy of an individual self—an assumption of own-being that moves through or past time, as if time was something in particular too. It is with this understanding of time, that the typical New Year’s Resolutions arise. We seem to be in need of improvement. That improvement will come to fruition at some “other” time. We often don’t succeed.
What if a thorough understanding of time is not measured by clocks and equations? At the earth’s poles canned time is implemented for measure and utility. Beyond that function, there is an expression of time that is timeless, eternal, and filled with possibility. To discover that ever-present, ever-changing possibility, we need only arouse curiosity, openness, attention. It is in that found expression of time that we find true life, timeless life, ageless life. Time as constancy. Time as being.
Time that is being has never been apart from the time of measure and utility, but the ordinary life of measuring time against self or self against time becomes a distraction. Time-as-being can be aroused. Seeing time as identical to being opens the heart of response. Time-as-being is living and responding openly to the life that is showing up right now, constantly.
What shows up in our life is our life. What if we really cared about and attended to what was showing up as our life right now? What if we seriously and responsibly took up time-as-being in the midst of measurement and utility.
Making a resolution to attend to this aspect of time-as-being is the resolution that supports any and all resolutions. It’s called waking up, and it happens the only time possible—now.
© 2014 Bev Forsman and Letters from Emptiness. If you share this material, please include direction to the original content. Thank you.