I’ve been posting on the Scribblings blog about my recent trip–with my mother–back to my home town of Flint, MI. Our strange experiences on the travel to and from have had me thinking about the space/time continuum and I thought maybe that topic fits here better.
Now I’ve heard from early days in this journey about space and time just being constructs, etc. and my first teacher used to talk about how to stretch time — she’d use it when she had to make an hour’s drive and be someplace in 45 minutes and she’d get there on time. It always seemed too much for me and never seemed important enough compared to the other issues I’ve been dealing with to look into it. But I have been interested.
I had my own, unintentional, experience at the end of Nine Gates’ second session at Joshua Tree when I left in a greatly altered state and 2 hours later than I thought I would. I headed toward San Jose, where a friend expected me. The trip would normally be 8-10 hours (depending on traffic conditions and speed). I put the car in cruise control not much above the speed limit and settled in for a long journey. All the way I still floated in the expanded space of Mystery School — and arrived at my friend’s house six hours later.
Anyway, I’ve kept up a bit of fascination with time and the way it seems to stretch and shrink and go faster and slower — often just depending on mood or circumstances — mostly in ways that don’t actually defy the ordinary rules of time. I’ve noticed that when someone who feels heavy is in the car a trip takes longer than normal. And sometimes things seem to move fast even when the clock and the miles are staying the same.
On the way up to Michigan we left on a Sunday afternoon for a four hour drive to Findlay, OH, with plans to eat in Dayton on the way. Though traffic was heavier than we hoped, we moved at a good speed and hit Dayton at the expected time. And it felt like we’d been travelling since morning. It’a short hop from Dayton to Findlay but time dragged even more. Although we took exactly the four hours, we felt like we’d driven from the Everglades in a day instead of from Lexington and we were exhausted. I have no explanation for that one as to emotions or expectations impacting the trip.
On the way back, tired and in a lot of traffic I somehow landed in a wrong lane around Ann Arbor and got on the wrong freeway without either of us realizing that we’d gotten off track. We’re not that familiar with the area south of Ann Arbor so it wasn’t registering with me that nothing seemed familiar and I wasn’t looking at highway signs because I thought I was still on 23. We stopped for lunch and I just headed in the same direction without looking at signs. So it was some time after lunch that it finally registered with me that we should have hit the road around Toledo long since and then I saw the I-94 signs to the side. By the time I was able to turn around we’d gotten to Battle Creek — an hour off course with an hour back to Ann Arbor…
At first my heart sank. Then I let all that spiritual practice kick in with the realization that no amount of fretting or being mad or upset would do anything to change the fact that we just added two hours to the trip and we weren’t even out of Michigan. I resigned myself to the late arrival and Mom–unusually– seemed to become resigned when I did. I made sure that we stopped often enough for her to get to move around a bit, which always seems to help both of us and quit worrying about time.
I’d made arrangements to stop in Findlay and pick up a pound of coffee and what had been a no problem stop became a nail biter as to whether we’d get there before they closed, so that did disturb the peace a bit from Toledo to Findlay but I kept breathing and reminding myself that we’d get there or not — no tragedy either way. We got off the freeway at 5 and for some reason we decided to just chance it. The place was locked but someone was still in and she let me in to get the coffee.
In spite of all the angst and the much longer day of driving that became even longer than expected, we weren’t complaining about how slow the trip home seemed and we weren’t nearly as tired as we were on the first day.
I’m interested to hear from you — do you experience time differently in different circumstances? Have you ever stepped outside the space/time continuum? Do emotions impact how time seems to flow?