Rivers of Time (c) JAT 2013

J: Today I want to talk about the human sense of time and timing.

A: Okay. I’ve had my first coffee, so my typing fingers are warmed up and ready to go.

J: When you were growing up, what were you taught about the human senses?

A: Oh. That’s easy. We were taught there are five senses — sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. I think this is still the conventional wisdom.

J: Right. And if I were to ask a group of people today what the “sixth sense” is, what would people say?

A: Intuition. Second sight. Psychic messages. Something along those lines.

J: Right. People in this culture are taught to think of the “sixth sense” as intuition — as something vague and on the fringe.

A: There’s also the famous movie called Sixth Sense. That’s a bit more than “being on the fringe.” That’s right into the Twilight Zone.

J: The problem — the problem I want to state clearly for the record — is that all human beings are born with an additional physical sense that hasn’t been recognized for what it is. This additional physiological trait is a scientific trait, not a paranormal trait. It’s 100% verifiable and 100% crucial to the healthy functioning of the human brain. It’s so important to the healthy functioning of the human brain that when it isn’t properly supported during the first few years of a child’s life, it causes lifelong problems in most facets of daily living.

A: You’re talking about the sense of time & timing.

J: Yes. This poorly understood aspect of the biological brain is so important that you could almost call it “the missing key” — the aspect of human consciousness that, if properly developed and used throughout life, generates an inner experience of wholeness and completion, an experience that so many people are lacking in their lives today.

A: Can you define the sense of time & timing?

J: It’s the ability of the human brain to correctly place “the self” on a timeline. It’s the ability to distinguish between past, present, and future. It’s the ability — quite literally — to tell time on an analog clock.

A: Ooooh. A lot of younger people today can’t tell time on an analog clock.

J: True. And it’s symptomatic of a much wider issue — the growing choice in Western culture (and other cultures) to stop teaching children about their own sense of time & timing. The parietal lobes of these children are not developing properly in early childhood. The parietal lobes of the brain are not developing the strong interconnections they need with all other parts of the brain. The cost here will be very high. Very high for these children, very high for their communities.

A: You don’t pull your punches, do you? Most people have never even heard of the sense of time or the parietal lobes of the brain, and here you are telling them the high cost of not developing these aspects of themselves. Are you talking about a spiritual cost? Changes in the parieto-temporal regions of the brain have been linked to certain mystical or spiritual experiences. Is this what you’re talking about?

J (shaking his head): It’s not that simple. The sense of time & timing takes six to seven years — years — to develop in a healthy child whose core needs (the core needs of the Christ Zone model) are all being met.

A: Starting when?

J: From the time of birth. The template for the sense of time & timing exists at birth, but it takes six to seven years of consistent exposure to the flow of time for the human brain to finally “get it.” When the brain finally “gets it,” analog clocks suddenly make sense. They make sense because they demonstrate in a mechanical way the forward movement of time. Digital clocks don’t “model” the forward flow of time. Digital clocks show a bunch of numbers in a particular order, but they don’t show time.

A: I can remember clear as day my son’s gradual struggle as a young boy to master the sense of time. He could read a digital clock at the age of four (“You can come and get Mommy when your clock says 7-0-0”) but it didn’t mean anything to him. He was simply memorizing the numbers.

J: You’d be surprised how many adults try to get through life by memorizing the numbers. It’s a scary feeling when you don’t understand the concept of time, but other people think you do.

A: I remember my son’s favourite TV cartoon when he was four. It was Ghostbusters. It was a half-hour show, and he just loved it. He even dressed up as a Ghostbuster for Hallowe’en one year. When he asked how long something would take, his dad and I would frame it in terms of Ghostbusters. “The church service will be two Ghostbusters long.” He seemed to be able to cope with time when we used his favourite show as a yardstick. Finally, when he was about six, he started to be able to use an analog clock without help. At the time, I had no idea how significant this was.

J: His ability to relate in a rudimentary way to time through the yardstick of his favourite TV show is absolutely crucial to what I’m trying to convey about the human sense of time. Healthy human beings don’t read time the way you read a digital clock. Healthy human beings read time as a history of relationships. It’s all about the history — the learning, the memory, the growth, the change. Time is more than just a bunch of numbers. Time is . . . well, it’s almost organic. It moves forward (never backward) but it flows like a river, not like a geometric line of numbers in sequence. Numbers are two dimensional (literally). Time is fourth dimensional. It can’t be thought of in strictly linear terms, because nothing in the fourth dimension of physics is strictly linear.

A: That’s pretty complex.

J: Time is very complex. It’s intertwined with all aspects of consciousness, whether that consciousness exists in angel-form or in angel-as-human form. All of us — God the Mother, God the Father, angels who are God’s children, angels who are temporarily incarnated as human beings — all of us have strands of time woven into our very being. None of us can escape time. And none of us would want to. It’s our ability to remember events in time, to remember moments of love and joy and sorrow, that makes it possible for us to exist. The soul exists precisely because time moves forward, ever forward, like a cosmic river. The river grows, changes its course, develops new tributaries, slows in some places, rages in others, picks up sediment, drops it, creates fertile fields where new crops can grow, breaks its banks, shrinks to a trickle, but always, always flows with sound and beauty and marvels of construction. So it is with time — time as angels know it, time as God knows it.

A: So you really have to be on your toes with time. You never know where it’s going to carry you next.

J: Yes. A person who has mastered the human sense of time is, by definition, a person who is flexible and adaptable. Someone who can cope with change. Someone who isn’t frightened by the thought of learning something new.

A: I know quite a few people who are terrified of change, can’t cope with new ideas or skills, and want their lives to “stay the same.” They get really angry when they’re put in a situation where they might have to admit they don’t know something. They don’t want to say, “Sorry, I don’t know how to do that.”

J: When the parietal lobes haven’t been fully developed, the human brain does what it’s programmed to do — it shifts to its secondary circuits to pick up the slack. This is what redundancy and neuroplasticity in the brain are supposed to do. If one major circuit goes off-line, or is underactive, you temporarily shift the load to a different circuit till you can fix the main problem. Anyone who works with complex electrical engineering systems will know what I mean.

The difficulty here is that the brain shifts the load to secondary circuits (for example, to the anterior cingulate cortex), but the main problem in the parietal lobes never gets fixed. The load stays on the secondary circuits — circuits that aren’t designed to take this kind of load on a long term basis. Eventually, these secondary circuits start to break down, just as you’d expect. The cost of this begins to appear in a person’s thought, mood, and behaviour. In other words, serious mental health issues and serious neurological issues begin to arise. It’s inevitable.

A: Meanwhile, your parietal lobes are still underactive, which means you can’t learn from your own mistakes, and life is endlessly frustrating.

J: It makes you feel as if there’s a big hole inside you, a big void, that goes round and round without beginning or end. It’s feels like a hamster wheel, and you’re trapped on it. It feels awful, but after a while you start to believe it’s normal. Even worse, you start to believe that everyone else must feel the same way inside — empty and trapped and hopeless. But it’s not true. This isn’t the normal state of inner experience human beings are designed for. God is a little smarter than that.

A: Not that the Church has ever said so . . . .