Pondering Time at Year’s End

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?

Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station and the Ceremonial South Pole with flags for the original 12 signatory nations to Antarctic Treaty.

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.


Winter Solstice

Photo: David Mulford, "Transcendence"Photo: “Transcendence” David Mulford

Winter Solstice
The longest night of the year in our northern hemisphere
The day that marks the end of a season
The expression of time and phenomena
That mark the first moments of winter.

The fullness of darkness stands
And slides into retreat.

The fullness of darkness stands
And bursts into advancing light.

The ceasing of darkness
The arising of light
Daylong shadows will soon relax their stretch.

At Winter Solstice
We leave darkness behind.
Perhaps we leave a difficult year—
A difficult phase.
But aren’t we always leaving the past behind…
Aren’t we always stepping into the future…
While we stand right here?
Right here is our life—our true life.

Winter Solstice
A marker that recognizes rebirth
A transition to a brighter life
To arising energy.

Winter Solstice
An opportunity to reflect on our lives.
When we might find fullness in twilight
Fullness in darkness
Fullness in quiet and solitude.

Directing awareness to the longest night
Invites wonder into the heart.
This longest night can bring quietude;
A questioning of the measuring of time and task.
Perhaps a questioning of the measurement of being.

What is be-ing?

Is the self that arises independent?
Independence relies on dependence.
All is necessary for the self to arise.
All is arising as the self.

Discovering the heart of direct experience
Not constancy of me
But constancy of continuous arising.
Continuous change.
Continuous presence.

Arising holds within it all arisings.
Ceasing holds within it all ceasings.
Arising-ceasing is this present moment
With the long shadows of eternity,
Before and after included.

Yet moment cannot be held
It is the fluidity of arising-ceasing
The emptiness of arising-ceasing
Where no things arise
And no things cease.

Non-duality is thorough.
Moment is not edged or bounded,
Yet moment is all there is.

The past exists now as memory
As habit
As understanding.
As ballast for a trajectory.

The future exists now as imagination
As planning
As logic
As goals in a trajectory.

To see the essence of past and future
Is to not find
An in-between.

Yet here is this experience.
This awareness.
Being is always now.
Life takes place.
Life gives place.
Life takes time.
Life gives time.
Life is being.

There is a way of living
That leaves no trace
Even while sunlight does not cease
To cast shadows.

To dwell in
And respond within
The shadowless land
Is to know the beauty
Of shadows.

Photo: “Transcendence” David Mulford.
Text: © 2014 Bev Forsman and Letters from Emptiness. If you share this material, please include direction to the original content. Thank you.