- 1.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Home
- 2.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – The Gravity of Relationship
- 3.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Light
- 4.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Beyond Voting: Albert and Kristina
- 5.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – The Energy of Summer
- 6.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Zen Koan
- 7.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Looking at Death
- 8.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – The Last Time
- 9.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Stick-to-it-ive-ness
- 10.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Forces of Nature
- 11.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Courage
- 12.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – September 3rd
- 13.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – The Illusion of Time
- 14.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Finding Voice
- 15.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – A Talk Amongst Rocks
- 16.Conversations with Dead People: A Series – How to be in Conversation with the Universe
The Illusion of Time
Pen to Paper, 40 Minute Writing
“Give me some thoughts about time, please,” I ask as I lift up the bag of chicken feed.
“I’d love to,” Albert Einstein says as he pets Rumi, the black-and-white feathered chicken. I notice his bony hand stroking the length of the chicken’s soft back, and turn to pour the cracked corn into the silver feeder.
“See my hand petting this chicken?”
“Yes, in my mind,” I say over the sound of the pouring grain as my back is to him.
“Exactly! My hand petting the chicken is actually only in your mind. It’s simple.”
“Simple, Albert?” I ask as I dust off and crack open the lemon sparkling water I brought with me from inside, offering it to him.
He smiles, his eyes twinkle, he shakes his head no. “Are you getting it? Time is a function of your mind. Instead of Spacetime, we should call it Spacememory!.”
“Are you saying human beings make time up?”
He laughs, still petting Rumi. “Yes, moment to moment, you stitch time together with your vast neural networks. Your mind is fundamental to time. It’s part of the universe.”
“It’s amazing, Albert! And exactly what Jason told me last weekend,” I say as I take a deep drink of the fizzy water, hear both Albert and the chicken purring, and chuckle.
“You and that chicken are purring!”
“Yes, we are,” he says, now scratching her neck with his pointer finger.
“Last weekend, I met Jason Padgett at the International Forum on Consciousness, Albert. He was viciously beat outside a karaoke bar. It left him forever altered by a condition called acquired savant syndrome. One effect of the brain injury left him unable to stich time together.”
“Yes, really. He was crazy depressed. He told me it took him three years to relearn how to stitch time together again.
“Yeah, three years. And, more than you even Albert, he inspired me.”
“How so?” Albert asks as he sets the chicken onto the cement floor of the garage. She finds an ant to peck.
“He inspires me like that chicken is inspired by that ant. Direct experiences with my own senses. He made me start asking if I can get access to the illusion of time.”
“And?” Albert asks, moving toward me, lifting his hand into mine.
“I think the answer is yes. I’ll just keep asking, ‘Can I see through the illusion of time?’ It’s that simple. The universe seems to like questions.”
“Sounds like another famous question,” he teases me, squeezing my hand.
“What would I see if I traveled at the speed of light!” I say.
“We feel the universe through our math and through our whole bodies. like the chickens eating those ants.” He points to the wood pile. Rumi had found an entire ant’s nest. All four chickens are feasting. We walk into the house for dinner.
Conversations with Dead People is a series of stories which show up in my meditative practice, Contemplative Writing. With this practice I sit with pen and paper, twenty minutes, and write to a prompt from a meditative space. I share these stories with minimal edits to share the depth, the directness, the deep body sense, I experience with my teachers.
Albert Einstein pops into my writing often, we hang out, giving us both a direct chance to explore the illusion of time. Albert feeds me tremendous encouragement to trust the irresistible urge I have to grieve, and heal, through death.
We also meet Thomas Merton, Georgia O’Keeffe, Carl Jung, and more through this weekly blog, Conversations with Dead People: A Series. Please join us each week.