“Time travel?!” you ask, bulgy-eyed. Yes, time travel, but it might not be as spectacular as we imagined when we really get to the bottom of it.
This post is not about promoting a Web site that offers time travel deals at great rates. This post is not about revealing a conspiracy that the government is hiding and doing studies on time travelers and time traveling machines. No, this post is about your time travel every single day.
So many of us spend most of our time on vacation from our own lives. What’s worse is that it’s probably more like a staycation, which is a neologism that has always made me cringe, person of preferred words that I am. At any given moment, if we are not focused on exactly what is in front of us, if we lose ourselves in thought, lose track of time, we can only be in one of four stifling corners: 1) an alternate version of now, 2) the past, 3) an alternate version of the past, or 4) the future.
Let’s consider the value of each by finishing these sentences:
1) An alternate version of now… isn’t real. Period.
2) The past… is no longer real by virtue of existing only in memory and snapshots.
3) An alternate version of the past… is as real as an alternate version of now, but crazier.
4) The future… isn’t yet real and, in fact, is only hypothetical at best.
Why does any of this matter? By being in one of these four corners, we are not being in our lives. If we, at least at our current level of ability, can only be in one place at a time, then we cannot be in our lives and in our heads concurrently. We cannot listen and talk at the same time. We cannot even listen and read at the same time. Partial attention is not a far cry from inattention, while full attention is the key to living an enriching life. So, which would you rather practice?
To our generation of multitaskers who think we can do it all at once: We may be doing it all, but we’re doing all of it only half-heartedly. And we are missing out on so much.
Do you know the body cannot tell the difference between an experience and the thought of an experience? In other words, the reason why we tense up when thinking about a recent fight with our significant other is because the body believes the mind, whether it is processing a current event or recalling a past one. Dr. Joe Dispenza illustrates this subject in depth and makes it very easy to understand (www.drjoedispenza.com).
I can feel my ego flare up a bit even as I write about it. Someone I believed to be a close friend held on to money I gave him to pick up materials for my home remodel. How much? Like $1,000 much.
There’s a whole background about his unrequited feelings for me and him offering to help me out with my home remodel by finding inexpensive contractors and using his discount on materials. Although I paid for all materials purchased, plus extra, and even gave him a gift of $1,000 as a thank you since he wouldn’t charge me for his own time and energy, he chose to keep money I later put into his account, which I had prepaid him to pick up a major appliance.
While it gets easier with time, I occasionally still find myself time traveling to one of those distant corners, going nowhere, when it comes to this old story.
The Past or an Alternate Version of What Happened
Typing up this synopsis of what happened. Analyzing the situation from every angle. Regretting warning him that I was coming over that night after he broke a promise to return the money — I may have caught him in person, I think. Feeling so betrayed that, following me giving him a gift of so much money to express my gratitude, he actually stole money from me. What?! And all I’d done for him back then and how honest I was and how kind I was and on and on and on.
My fingers on the keys are rapidly firing — nobly protecting the queen, my ego, sitting on her thrown, head thrown back like “Why, oh whyyyy???” with hand to forehead, playing damsel-queen in distress.
Every time I spend energy on him, it’s like walking into a sliding glass door full force. I know. I’ve done that before. Whatever I can see out there is inaccessible because it’s a lie. An alternate past, but not reality. It’s behind me and it happened the way it did, so there is nothing left to do but accept it and move on.
The Hypothetical Future
I have this great scenario I’ve come up with of taking him on Judge Judy, my nana proudly watching from home. I can imagine my thorough, detailed case, pregnant with hard evidence vs. his non-existent one. Judy would laugh at him and come up with great ways to insult him, as he would fake-smile at her and ultimately admit his wrongdoing. She’ll order him to pay me back and I’ll feel redeemed.
The funny thing is, upon returning home from a glorious month in Bali last August, I was in a really heightened state of peace. I wanted to get to a meditation workshop in New York, to take my sister with me, because I believed it would help her as she was just beginning recovery from some serious addictions.
I didn’t have the money to take us both without charging it. I very kindly asked my old friend again via text message for the money for the 50th time. I told him I appreciated all he’d done for me and that it’s none of my business why he kept my money, and I forgave him. I told him he could pay me in installments if he needed to. I waited until the last minute to buy our plane tickets, hoping for a miracle, declaring out loud that I would purchase the second one fell in my lap — the sudden arrival of my long-lost money.
And guess what? On the last possible day to buy our tickets, a check for overpayment from AAA Insurance showed up in my mailbox for $905. I cashed it, purchased the tickets, and we had an amazing weekend. In fact, my sister was so on fire from the experience, it was like I was just the sidekick on her front-row adventure to listen to my favorite spiritual teacher and neuroscientist.
The bottom line is that I asked the universe for my money back. I did so while trying to help another, and I offered forgiveness and kindness to the culprit. I was redeemed!
So why, then, does my ego still occasionally insist I get the money back from him? It is finished.
Be Here Now
The title of Ram Dass’ first book and a phrase used and practiced by many teachers and students since. Every time I find myself venturing off on a thought-rocket about this past event, whenever I find myself in a mental sword fight over it, I quickly reel myself back and remind myself to be here now. This is where the truth is.
If we plan to leave, let’s take ourselves with us. To time travel to one of those four corners without ever leaving the room is the kind of vacation in which we actually vacate from our lives. And we end up missing so much when we let ourselves get hung up there.
Instead, indulge in the miracles of your life — in the new experiences and encounters, the surprises, the rejections you thought you didn’t want but which ultimately led you to a better destination than you could have hoped for. That’s the good stuff.
Besides, if there is past happiness we want to re-create and future happiness we want to generate, how can we even begin to accomplish this while we’re spending all our free time in that time travel machine that is our mind?
Here are a few things my focus is better spent on than that old friend’s bad behavior:
a). Holy crap, I totally manifested money by asking for a certain amount and then expecting I’d get it! I gotta try that again!
b). I was able to hug and thank Dr. Joe Dispenza and even have a quick chat with him, this hero of mine.
c). My sister made huge strides after attending this event, and although she still wavers, the lessons and tools will always be with her.
As for all that wasted time travel, I’ll take it as a learned lesson I can share here with you now. That is, assuming you are here now.
Well… are you?
Can you pinpoint a time when you were hung up in one of those four corners in your own mind? Did you find yourself losing minutes, hours, days, or even longer? How might you catch yourself next time an upsetting event sends you time traveling?
If something here sparked something in you, please like or share this post. Or, better yet, indulge me with your own thoughts in the comments section below.