How Our Perception of Time Shifts (When We Are Present)

When we get caught up in worry or regret about the past or future, we bring those emotions into the present moment, says Matthias Birk. Here are three ways mindfulness can help us connect with what is real right now.

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A friend of mine, who is a successful and very busy lawyer, recently shared an insight with me: “It’s not about finding time, it’s about making time,” she said. She told me her realization had greatly helped her move from perceiving herself at the mercy of her busyness to committing to some of the things she always wanted to do but never “found” time for. My friend leads a much busier life than I do, and so I was happy for her and inspired by her insight. I know for myself how hard it is “to make time” and stick to priorities. 

I also wanted to share with her an insight that arose through my own practice of mindfulness and that greatly changed my life: Namely the realization that time does not exist at all—that it is just a notion of our mind. But I was worried she would find it too woo-woo. And had she asked me what I meant by that and how on earth this was supposed to help her deal with her busy life, I would have been hard pressed to answer. Still, my conversation with her helped me realize how fundamentally…