I often find myself using a formulation that plays with three stages of time — past, present, and future. Each plays their part in contrast to the others. Just as light has its wave and particle, time can be experienced in multiple fashions. Each formulation reveals another aspect ourself and our perception of the world around. Just as the Enneagram has its nine centers and internal relationship, time reveals six facets:
2. Transitioning past to present,
4. Transitioning present to future,
5. Future, and
6. Mystically, fantastically, located as once and coming.
I find it helpful to visualize these as the sides of a hexagon (each with a spectrum of locations), rather than as six points tied to one another by lines.
It is the sixth side of non-specific appreciation of past and future, not shaped as a present, that opens this too easily self-contained model or attempted explanation of 42 (answer to the meaning of life). This open space welcomes a wild splash of the potential energy of past and future shaking loose from their moorings and tumbling unrestrained into the present, which geysers beyond its limit of comfort. This sixth location is not a place to live, but to open upon that which is beyond our current linear control of a call to a wild waving of hello.
Sometimes we imagine time as a river moving on to a next rapid or slough. It can flow from past to future in front of a bank of this present. It can also flow from future to past. Sometimes it may be a lake holding all moments (past and future) within its depths. Time can never be contained in any image and may sometimes be seen as air, now gusting, now calm, as it speeds by or drags. Or, temperature, heat becoming cold over time. Or, attitude. Or, ….
At question is how you interact with time. I’m still exploring and find this open hexagon to hold some interest for the moment and, perhaps, others to come. For now: may the past learn from the present, may the future inform the present, and the present slip between their boundaries — into joy.