A New Relationship with Time

A New Relationship with Time

It seems that we all agree, regardless of our ideology and perspective, that we are living in strange times. Change and uncertainty are afoot and with it, anxiety abounds. I prefer life to be harmonious and predictable; but I am beginning to believe that this time is planting seeds for new life and deep renewal. Maybe that’s just a coping mechanism in me—time will tell, as they say.

Jean Gebser believed that the next leap in human consciousness would bring about a new relationship with time. Currently, we experience time spatially. We create mental maps in relation to time, dividing it into segments of past, present, and future. For us, time is an empty palate upon which our lives play out. This is one reason that our relationship with time is so conflicted. We never seem to have enough time, on the one hand. On the other hand, we have too much time on our hands and look for ways to kill it. Gebser invited us to pay attention to our language and what it reveals to us about our psyches.

The mental-rational structure of consciousness which has dominated human history for hundreds of years is now revealing its inadequacies for our present moment in time. We sense deep within that something in us is lacking. We sense that something new needs to be born. Maybe a new relationship with and understanding of time is part of the something new which is emerging.

Gebser invited us to begin thinking of time more as a quality than as a quantity. Contemplatives of all backgrounds and all times have sensed this truth. In the silence and emptiness of contemplative practice, something is encountered—something more profound and holy than our minds can contain or begin to understand. Gebser called this something, Origin, which he claimed is ever present. Our minds are great for many things, but subtle and non-mental perception is not one of those. Gebser believed that the next leap in consciousness would integrate our mental and spiritual abilities. I believe that this great evolution is at play among us.

Last night, I witnessed our new Presbytery taking strides toward something new—perhaps. In 2022, certainly our church is moving toward something new. My conviction is that this something new is not to be feared or lamented. If we can learn to embrace it with trust, it will yield surprising results. I believe this. I sense it. I trust that God is with us. See you in Church!

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