SHOCKING it was to look back on my life and realize how for the first 24 ½ years of my life, almost every one of my actions was dictated by being stuck in psychological time.
Now this, of course, does not mean that now at the age of 29, I’m still somewhat a victim of psychological time in certain ways, and I’ll discuss how, and why, that’s not a problem further in this article.
The main thing to know, and to know with absolute certainty, is that this is NOT about your lifestyle and what you’re doing, but how being stuck in psychological time is effecting your actions.
Firstly, let’s call out the elephant in the room and speak about what psychological time is and how it has affected my life in specific situations.
Psychological time is….
#1. The thoughts about wondering what time it is.
#2. The thoughts about what happened in the past.
#3. The thoughts about what is going to happen in the future.
What you will notice about psychological time is that very rarely does it have to do with the actual clock time but much more to do with the thoughts.
The common denominator, and hence the word psychology, is that it’s about your thoughts and how they relate to situations/actions that have happened in the past and will happen the future.
Why is this important?
The reason that this is important is because the mind can never be truly aware of this present moment.
The mind can interpret the situation that is appearing as a mind projection, but the moment a thought appears in the mind about the situation is also the same moment that it disappears.
Many thoughts are coming in and out of the mind in the present moment, so that we can digest this life and its complexity.
And that is precisely where the mind is limited in that it’s only capability is to think, to comprehend, to interpret, to understand what is happening in our life situations.
What the mind misses though, and what it cannot comprehend is…. what is right here, right now beyond the life situation, beyond the mind’s ability to interpret, comprehend and grasp.
What that is, is unnamable because it happens THROUGH thoughtless awareness.
Words can only point in the direction of what is witnessed through thoughtless awareness.
Where thoughtless awareness is aware is right here and right now, it cannot happen in any other place or time but here and now, not a place as in a location, but from the place from which you are looking, not a time as in dependent on what the clock says, but from a time-LESS space.
Just as space is not dependent on what objects are within it, because it is timelessly unaffected, timelessly complete in and of itself, this space from the here and the now which you are is timelessly unaffected and complete as it is and as you are.
You are timelessly, eternally unaffected and complete.
No objects, no situations, no achievements, no emotional pain and no-thing could affect the real you, the here-now space from which objects, thoughts, situations appear and disappear in and out of.
So, rather than continuing to breakdown something that may sound abstract or “out there,” let’s see how it had directly affected my life situations and actions.
#1. Obsessive Eating
Food is one of the largest topics in the world, and for good reason. As human beings we need to eat in order to survive.
However, when it comes to food, I have often found myself eating WAY more than I need to fill my stomach.
I go to the fridge when I’m bored, because I need to do something.
I go to the fridge because I think getting the food in my stomach is going to satisfy my hunger, not my hunger for food, but my hunger to fill the void and the insecurity inside.
The insecurity and void from what?
Being stuck in psychological time and not realizing the timeless space of now is the feeling of from insecurity.
As I always like to say now…
“It’s not your stomach that’s hungry, it’s your mind.”
#2. Drinking Alcohol
It’s not secret. A great number of kids like to party. I was one of those kids. From the age of 17 – 24, I wanted to party and drink.
But there was a deeper root as to why. I lacked self-confidence and had a hard time connecting with girls. I felt that if I went to parties then the odds where high that I would end up getting the girl that I was looking for.
It got to the point where it went from drinking alcohol at a party to blacking out and going unconscious at parties and bars.
Again a void and insecurity were trying to be filled.
The void was thinking that I needed someone to be completely fulfilled.
The other insecurity was thinking I needed to drink alcohol in order to be more comfortable talking with women, because I certainly was not at the time.
The third was thinking I needed alcohol to drown out my insecurities so I didn’t have to stress over what I was lacking in my life.
But let’s discuss alcohol and how it relates closely with psychological time. People often discuss “Kicking back (relaxing) and having a few brews,” or “Going out to bars with people to socialize.”
The keys here are that alcohol does make you relax. It’s why people go out on the weekends to “socialize” or “relax” because of things like…
- College weight-load…
- Kids to take care of…
- Bills piling up…
- General responsibilities….
For me, it was I wanted a girlfriend. I had absolutely no confidence with women and that was the mask that I used as the excuse to drink.
However, all this stuff up above is surface level causes of stress. They are surface level causes of your anxiety, your stress and tension, because in reality, it’s your mind being stuck in psychological time that is causing your mind the stress, not what is happening in your life situation.
The reason that alcohol makes you relax is that no longer are you so focused on what time it is or what happened in the past or what’s going to happen.
Which is why going to be bars is considered a more “social-able” thing to do, because the more relaxed from psychological time you are, the more at ease you are, the more likely you are going to be more communicative with other people, if that’s what you want to do.
The more the alcohol intake, the more it seems like you are relaxing because the less worried about time you are.
But really what is happening is you’re just deepening the unconsciousness.
Let’s take a look at what Eckhart Tolle says on the matter….
There is rising BEYOND thought and falling BELOW thought.
Falling below thought means there is absolutely no awareness of what is going on in your life situation, absolutely no awareness, PERIOD.
The more alcohol intake the deeper the unconsciousness.
In the completely sober natural mind, there are still gaps of no thought (awareness), which will at least allow one to know that a life situation exists to begin with.
No matter how aware of the thoughtless presence you are there will still be gaps of no thought, no matter how small.
Unconsciousness means that there is no awareness of the gaps between the thoughts
Rising beyond thought means that you’re finally capable of taking a break from psychological time, taking a break from the obsession with thinking; this taking a break from thinking happens for longer periods of time than the past level of conscious awareness would allow.
By level, it is meant for the average length, and consistency with which thoughtlessness happens.
An expansion of thoughtless awareness is NOT “done”—it is not an action, not something that you can do—but a spark can be created from the life situation, or “the outside” as spirituality has called it since the beginning of time; the inner journey is the journey-less journey of thoughtless awareness that is felt on the level of the body.
From that point, the spark of conscious awareness will expand on its own accord—like the blood flowing through the body, the oxygen pumping, the lungs contracting and detracting—without the mind “doing” anything to make this stuff happen.
#3. Standing Out & Needing to be Special
In particular, when it came to the gym. I felt that I needed to prove something to someone, because I was lacking the security.
I had been bullied all the way back to middle school (from bullies and even my own friends) which was a big reason for the lack of confidence when it came to women.
I had always kind of brushed off it off, but really it deepened my insecurity inside, and so I tried EXTRA hard at the gym when it came to lifting as much weight as I possibly could—almost to the point of having an aneurysm.
I would do flips in the gym, jump as high as I could in the hope that people were watching and were impressed, so that I could feel better about myself and who I thought I was.
Standing out and needing to be special is a sure sign of lack and insecurity, which is stemming from……. You guessed it, being stuck in psychological time.
#4. Watching TV, movies, playing video games, surfing the internet for endless hours
If it wasn’t food that I was trying to stuff my face with, it was the enormous amount of technological stimulus that I needed to fill my mind with.
I didn’t want to think about what I was lacking in my life, with friends who talked behind my back with the bullying, with having no girlfriend, and with always wanting or craving. I utilized technological stimulus to fill that insecurity.
I, of course, didn’t know that I was doing it at the time, hence the unconsciousness; and hindsight is always 20-20, especially when awakening.
I would blindly watch movie after movie, play video games for hours on end, surf the internet and social media, hoping that the mind-pleasure was going to give me what I was looking for.
All of this technological stimulus is to keep the mind busy, to give it what it wants: more thought.
#5. Motivation, Ambition and Achievement
When I started entrepreneurship 5 years ago, I began by listening to motivational audios in my car—around 90 minutes per day on the way to and from work—of things to motivated me.
It got to the point where I got SO MOTIVATED to achieve that nothing else in the world mattered.
I was so motivated that it was uncomfortable to not to be putting in massive amounts of action.
The future, and what I wanted to create, was so clear in my mind that it became far more important than the present moment, to the point where I suffered.
It was like having an itch in the mind that never seemed to go away.
It was safe to say that it became in a similar fashion to wanting to stand out, wanting to be special….
My goals and ambitions were as big as the hole in me of lack and not being enough.
What I did not realize, at the time, is that with thoughtless awareness I already had available to me in the present moment that fulfillment.
#6. Spending habits
“Science has proven that endorphins (stress chemicals) are released when you buy something.” – Anik Singal
My good buddy Prince EA, in his video on contentment, summed this statement up perfectly.
Prince makes it clear why there is an endorphin release from buying something.
The point is that, I was so used to wanting something in the future (through material gain be that shoes, clothes, video games, new movie releases) that it built a LOT of tension, stress and anxiety; that, when that finally did come, it released that tension.
But the tension was caused from thinking that the material gain (future) would fill the insecurity caused by wanting to be so badly in the future and so badly outside of the now.
These are just a few basic principles as to how being psychological time has affected my life.
The key though is that none of these were problems. They were simply needed to be where they were until the light of awareness had been shone on them.
What did I learn as a result of waking up out of the psychological time and into the timeless space of now?
What I learned was….
- I did not need a girlfriend to be completely and utterly free with where I am now.
- I did not need alcohol to be perfectly relaxed with where I am now.
- I did not need alcohol to be relaxed with a girl, or with people in general.
- I did not need alcohol PERIOD in my life.
- I did not NEED to eat as much, or as often.
- I did not need the hours of technological stimulus.
- I did not need to achieve massive goals in my life to have be internally free.
Do I still find myself wanting and craving something in the future as a result of my past not being enough?
The answer is: Yes.
But this time, this “yes” is SIGNIFICANTLY a lot less painful than previously.
So it’s not about not having pain as a result of being somewhat a victim of time, it’s realizing that the pain is there and what the root of the cause of the pain is letting it be there without mentally judging that it should not.
When you judge your pain for not wanting to be here as a result of say…wanting the past to be differently than it was or the future to come faster in the hopes the pain will go away when that time comes, you are STILL a victim of time.
The key is to know that the thoughtless awareness, or thoughtless presence is the ONE CONSTANT INTERNAL FREEDOM AND TO FEEL THIS INTERNAL FREEDOM UNSHAKABLY, UTTERLY, COMPLETELY, ABSOLUTELY, TOTALLY & ENTIRELY!!
I was telling someone at my gym the other day, it does NOT MATTER if you “BELIEVE” the thoughtless awareness to be the one constant internal freedom and fulfillment, it’s that you KNOW, and this KNOWING happens on a cellular level.
It happens in the flesh, in the bones, in the brain. I get HIGH on life, a brain high, when the intensity of the thoughtless awareness deepens.
When this knowing happens unshakably on a cellular level, then psychological pain will still continue to grip you sometimes, but no longer will it run your entire life and grip you for good.
The key about my experiences in relation to you, is not about the way that you are living, it’s about if you know nothing but thought, nothing but psychological time or past/future thoughts, and how those thoughts are dictating your actions in life, and how those actions are not going to fulfill you, no matter how much it may seem like it at the time.
Continue to live naturally, spontaneously just as you would, just bring more thoughtless awareness and more thoughtless presence into your life situations and watch how much deeper your peace IS.
I loved this article.
I eat to fill my voids. I have anxiety.
I am wondering how I create thoughtless awareness and thoughtless presence ?
You do not, create thoughtless awareness, you see through the illusory nature of mind.