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Time and Mortality

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    The flow of Time draws my attention of late. Memories puddle and pool; meanwhile, presentiments of the future lap up against my now.

    In recent months I have touched a lock of hair, very like my own, belonging to one of my great-great-great grandmothers, who was born during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson.

    On a smaller scale – the course of a single lifetime – I’m at an age where the current’s momentum is undeniable. I look in the mirror and see someone different yet the same-ish as decades ago — the “myself” hidden beneath the wrinkles, the double (or so ) chin, the graying curls.

    The four-year-old me riding my little red tricycle in a solitary circle round the driveway, then stopping to stare into space and imaginate; the me reading The Tao of Physics and Alan Watts and Joseph Campbell; the me sitting zazen; the me dancing with abandon show after show to the Grateful Dead; the me studying mysticism, metaphysics, creativity, imagination, and dreams; the me embarking on multiple vision quests; the teacher me; the myth worker me, still imaginating freely — all are ripples and eddies in the timestream.

    In some mythological belief systems, this is the awareness of the Long Body that transcends the me in the mirror at any given moment – an understanding etched deeper as death’s inevitability looms. And then recent announcements of archaeological discoveries, along with revelations of Denisovan, Neanderthal, and other genes in our human lineage, trigger identification with our species and beyond — indeed, with all life itself.

    Time consists of an infinitude of comings and goings, impermanence the one constant . . .  and yet Time itself endures.
    I find that reassuring. All we need do is embrace both perspectives at once, impermanence and eternity . . . and go with the flow.

    What are your thoughts, from the mythological to the scientific, about Time?

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