Tag: relativity

A common objection to the idea of spending ten minutes a day sitting and breathing is, “I’m too busy. I just don’t have the time”.

Who has the time?

The only answer to that question is “nobody”. But of course, the question is an odd one because it implies that there is only one time, and that this singular time can be possessed.

Isaac Newton built his view of the universe on a single, perfectly linear idea of time. It starts at the beginning and carries straight on towards infinity. Or the end. Whichever comes first.

Clearly, if time is a straight line, it must, in some sense, be possible to travel along it. In 1895 HG Wells built his fictional Time Machine on this concept, and the idea of time travel has enthused millions of people ever since.

Imagine the possibilities! We’d be able to follow Frank Sinatra’s burger recipe, or grab next week’s lottery numbers, or speak firmly and persuasively to Hitler, or start a dinosaur farm…

Sadly for the “what if” fantasist in all of us, ten years later Albert Einstein published his Special Theory of Relativity. To be fair, it took a while for anyone to figure what it meant, but broadly it explains that time travel was now possible, but only within certain virtually impossible parameters. Time, it transpires, isn’t a straight line at all. It bends and twists and speeds up and slows down depending on how quickly you’re travelling or how much gravity is thereabouts. It’s a mess.

But time only responds to what you are doing from the point of view of somebody else. In other words, we each have our own time. And, according to the ever reliable Wikipedia, “the rate of a clock is greatest according to an observer who is at rest with respect to the clock”.

Of course, this runs contrary to our own observations that a watched clock appears to tick more slowly than it does when we’re rushing around trying to get things done.

One way to get yourself the time to sit and breathe is to rush around as much as possible yourself. This would slow down the rate of the clock with respect to you. Otherwise, get your team (or your boss, depending on where you sit in the corporate pecking-order) to do the running around, forcing their clocks to slow down so that you can use the extra time you have for simply sitting without their noticing any fall in your output.

By far the best and most effective method to be sure you have the time to sit and breath is to accept that time is a construct of mathematics and convention. In fact, the only time that exists in any meaningful way is this exact moment. You should use each moment to its fullest potential. And if that means focusing on your breath, then you have all the time you need.

image by Oskar Karlin