Sunday, 6 August 2017

Time and the Theory of Wellativity

I have ministered to the two congregations I serve for seven years now. I began on 1st of August 2010,  it seems like only yesterday and yet at the same time a life time ago. So much has happened during this time. It has affected me deeply, I trust it has done so with the folk and the communities I serve. I have certainly experienced some deep moments in our time together, what I like to call “thick time”.

Yes we have been together for some seven years now, it has been a wonderful time, a true blessing. As I look back at those seven years I feel I would like to mark this time. I feel I would like to honour all we have shared together, I hope it has added as much depth and value to their lives as it has to mine. I trust it has in some ways expanded their imaginations and fed their spirits and enabled them to give more of themselves to life.

Time is a funny thing. Time can stop and time can fly by. The passing of time brings with it the experience of ageing, if we are offered that privilege, but that same passing of time can also rejuvenate, if we spend it wisely. We can kill time, but in so doing we do not damage it, only ourselves. We can spend time until it runs out, but we can also invest in it, spend it wisely, and in so doing receive a rich dividends.

One thing we humans do, whether religious or secular, is mark the passing of time. We say “It’s time for this and it’s time for that.” In so doing we mark a certain day and in so doing we separate what has been and what is yet to come. So this week I marked seven years of journeying together with the people I serve, remembering that journey is from the French word “Jounier” which meant your daily travel, your daily task. Well we’ve spent just over seven times 365 individual daily journeys together, in our fellowship love. This week we marked the day and separated what has been and what is yet to come.

We acknowledge the passing of time by marking it. We have always done so. Our ancient ancestors looked into the night sky and observed that the celestial events above them kept on repeating themselves, but not in exactly the same way, but at varying intervals, that today we call a day, or a month, or a year, and so on. Such time is a measured period that extends from one event until it is repeated again. This is linear time, the ancient Greeks called it “Chronos”.

We place such a high value on this kind time because we are given a limited supply of it. We cannot earn more of this kind of time. We mark it off and we continue to mark off such time to keep track of its passing. Each morning, as the sun rises, we begin our daily journey, we begin a period of time called a day. The moon moves through a "moonth" or monthly cycle which lasts twenty nine and a half days. It’s the same with the passing of the spring equinox, which follow a cycle of what we call a year, or actually 365 and a quarter days, which is why we have a leap year every fourth year.

There is though another form of time, other than chronos, that we all experience, a time without measure. Such time is called eternity. Now the ancients believed that this is the time that God inhabits. As Peter wrote in his third letter “A thousand years is as a day to God and one day is as a thousand years.“ The Greeks called such time Kairos”. Such time cannot be measured in a linear sense and thus we often miss it’s value.

Kairos time is not limited, through it we can indeed alter how we live out our Chronos time. We cannot lengthen such time but we can deepen or thicken the experience of this time. Kairos time is qualitative. It is measured by the depth of the moment and not the length, how many seconds it lasts. It’s what Blake described as infinity in an hour. In such moments it feels like the whole world takes a breath; in such moments our whole lives can change and yet in terms of measured “chronos” time it lasted no longer than any other second.

It brings to my mind that wonderful poem by Wendell Berry when he describes the journey (the daily task) or more accurately the spiritual journey which is one of depth rather than distance. This is Kairos time which last no longer but is experienced in a much “thicker” sense. He wrote:

"A Spiritual Journey"

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,
but only by a spiritual journey,
a journey of one inch,
very arduous and humbling and joyful,
by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,
and learn to be at home.

by Wendell Berry

You cannot lengthen time, we are finite creatures we humans. This is what makes our lives so precious, so valuable, so meaningful if we would but learn to deepen our time and thicken our experiences. But how do we do this? Well in many ways this is what I try to do each Sunday and in my other activities with the people I serve, I try to guide them into ways in which they can live their lives in deeper and more fulfilling ways.

How do we do this with regards to time? Well the following wonderful piece of wisdom by Marney K Makrodakis explores one way in which this could be achieved. In “The Theory of Wellativity” she writes:

"Since time is relative, and is relative on so many levels, why not consciously control it, by adjusting our inner relativity? Time is changeable and is not an absolute thing, and we can use this to inspiring advantage. After all, time wasn't even standardized until 1884, and obviously life on the planet was able to carry on just fine before then.

"Einstein's theory of relativity is popularly known through the equation E = mc2. In actuality, this equation represents just a portion of the theory of special relativity, basically setting the stage to state that there is equivalence between mass and energy.

"I propose a Theory of Wellativity that looks like this:

F = T + I2

which means:
Fulfillment = Time + Imagination2

"To summarize the equation: to increase wellness in your life, take Time and add to it lots of Imagination, and then you get Fulfillment.

"How does imagination play a role in leading us to fulfillment? Imagination is a powerful conduit for change. Applying the dazzling power of imagination is akin to looking through a kaleidoscope. When we look through a kaleidoscope and focus on a single object, the image magically expands into a dazzling infinity of patterns and colors, instantly changing our capacity to see. And when we connect to the power of imagination, sparkly solutions expand in infinite directions, allowing us to see more. As author and creativity coach Jill Badonsky says, 'The imagination is always on call to transport my spirit to that timeless place of inner peace.'

"The most important changes in my life have, without exception, been primarily fueled by my imagination. Through my imagination, I have attracted an endless number of kaleidoscopic miracles, including bouncing back from mental illness, emerging from suicide attempts, healing physical ailments, attracting my soul mate, designing my ideal work, changing my financial reality, becoming pregnant when doctors said it wasn't possible, losing one hundred pounds, and so much more . . . including completely changing the way I see and experience time.

"As my experience illustrates, imagination is a powerful inner creative act, capable of transforming reality in ways beyond our wildest dreams, including creating the time we need. We can use imagination to control our intention, attention, and awareness; by doing so, we can see the ways in which any given period can be shortened or expanded, deepened or cheapened. Through our imagination, we have an infinite capacity to control our perception of time. Knowing that all time is not equal opens the doorway for us to tap into imagination to make new choices about how we experience time."

...My goodness I relate to this, almost word for word, well except the pregnant bit...

What do you think of this “Theory of Wellativity”. Is imagination a powerful conduit to change? Well it has been in my life. Before any change was possible, before any new beginning was given birth to, I first had to imagine it was possible. Even if others believed it would not be. One of those was becoming a minister, another was over coming physical problems I’ve had all my life, another was being set free from addiction, another was finding and developing a relationship with God, I really didn’t think that was possible and much, much more. I know I’m not alone. It is my imagination that has allowed me to move into unknown territory in my life, to experience the undreamed of realities of existence, to experience what I have come to call “thick time”

We cannot really lengthen the time we have been given, the “Chronos” time. Well at least not beyond a few extra years. Instead of three score and ten, perhaps the norm is four score and ten now. We can though deepen and thicken this time, there is no limit to “Kairos” time. It does not operate in a linear sense, it has no limit, except our own imaginations and we will never reach the limits of these, well not in our life time.

The key it seems is not the length of time we have and or have left but what we do with the time. I invite you to make the most of it. To continue on journeying (joining in the daily task) to sail the sea of life in the ship of love, to expand the limits of what we think we know, to not be held back by what we think we know. Let’s journey on enjoying ever more thickening time.

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