Time is the most stubborn psychological filter we have. If you want to master Present Moment Living, you’re gonna have to break through that shit and art is the way to do it. Art in all its forms allows us to embody, experience, and communicate everything we know in our souls about the relationship between consciousness and the time-honoring form world in which we appear to exist. Art connects our hearts with our minds. It is the embodiment and expression of the relationship between body and soul, light and dark, joy and pain. Art sets aflutter that which we have forgotten and are desperate but afraid to remember.
As an artist and singer myself, I came to understand the foundational connection between art and science more fully during my enrollment in UCI’s (University of California Irvine’s) bachelor of music program. Music theory, a course necessary for all musicians and the bane of my college experience, is the mathematization of music which facilitates communication in a medium that otherwise exists outside of language. As Quantum physicists communicate esoteric scientific ideas through algebra, musicians are able to communicate esoteric musical ideas through the mathematical language of music theory. Thus, music is both science and art and as such allows us to experience scientific concepts through our senses, understanding the fluidity of time with our bodies in a way we cannot with our minds.
The subjectivism with which our minds perceive time has been effectively demonstrated in this article from Nautilus, How Music Hijacks our Perception of Time. Composer Jonathon Berger, music and music-cognition professor at Stanford, uses Schubert’s String Quartet in C Major to illustrate the fluidity of time perception. If classical isn’t your jam, Ragtime is a musical genre born in the early 1900s that seduces the body into movement via a rhythm that appears to slow down and speed up but is in fact so metronomic it could be played by the earliest player pianos. You know, the ones in those old timey westerns that kept on playing while the drunks were being shot to hell? That’s the stuff. Go have a listen.
Classical and ragtime still not your jam? There are endless examples of music manipulating our time perception. Sting is such a master he was frequently used as an example in my music theory classes and there’s a large sampling of Sting in the Spotify playlist I’m curating to showcase compositions from various genres that play with our experience of time. Explore listening and moving to some of this music and you’ll understand with your bones that the mind was designed to adjust and recalibrate it’s temporal perceptions.
Once you have embraced and embodied this concept, you can begin learning how to make time your bitch.
Music, science, and math are so inextricably linked in my musician’s mind, it came as no surprise to me when String Theorist Michio Okaku described to Stephen Colbert his theory that the universe is God’s symphony. Okaku, in speaking about his recently published book, The God Equation, explains that everything in the universe, including us, is made of just one particle, one type of string. Like one of those tiny, clear rubber bands orthodontists use to torture their patients. These tiny rubber bands vibrate, and when they vibrate at a certain frequency they suddenly become neutrinos, at another frequency quarks, and so on. All the while each individual rubber band is vibrating itself into appearing as different particles, it remains, still, itself. It is what it is, even as it is everything else. Sounds like God to me. “I and the father are one.”
“The missing idea is music. Music of tiny particles, like rubber bands….As the strings vibrate at different frequencies they change into other subatomic particles. All the hundreds of subatomic particles are nothing but different vibrations of the same strings. So physics is the harmonies you can write on these strings, chemistry is the melodies you can play on interacting strings, the universe is a symphony of strings and the mind of god is that cosmic music resonating through hyper space. That is the mind of God.”
Michiko has inspired me to explore and embody through seated, chanting, and moving mediations this theory that we are instruments made of God (Consciousness), and our lives are the music Consciousness would make with us. Perhaps by understanding the connections between art, spirituality, philosophy, mythology, and the radical theories of Quantum Physics, we can learn God’s language and become more harmonious members of the orchestra.
There are infinite modalities available for tuning in to and embodying the theory of God’s music: mindfulness, meditation, Buddhism, monasticism, kundalini yoga, breath work, drawing, painting, writing, song and dance, prolonged isolation, hiking, heart math…. I have spent a lifetime exploring practices and knowledge gleaned from ancient spiritual traditions to Quantum Physics, and have inexplicably been gifted with the resources and time to practice a wide variety of modalities and observe the results through a lens frosted with the wisdom of age, experience, and skepticism. Along the way, and in particular this past year in quarantine, I’ve proven to myself repeatedly that the truths we seek are (although I abhor a cliche) always within us, that our job when we find these truths is not to teach them to others, but to help others discover for themselves how to learn (download), practice (embody), and share (release) the secrets to self actualization and manifestation. The secrets of who we are, where we are, and how to rise above the suffering that is inherent in physical life.
This is me sharing what I have learned and practiced. How about you? Share your thoughts on time, present moment living, Quantum Physics, or anything else in the comment section below, or in the chat room. I read your comments every day and can’t wait to hear from you.
A personal note:
When I become seriously interested in a topic, the Google search Rabbit Warrens are epic. (As my girls used to say, you can take the mom out of the homeschool, but you can’t take the homeschool out of the mom.) I’ve learned to keep a constantly updated reading list and to review it periodically and flag the gems for future reference. Here’s a short list of a few interesting articles I saved while researching this topic.
The effects of musical tempo on time perception and memory is explored in depth by Levon Mailov, University of Buckingham
Sting’s brain in an MRI (yes, musician’s brains are different).