Consider a new way to contextualize our conscious states: via the three tenses of time (past/present/future).
By leveraging these three tenses/dimensions of conscious movement against our ability to create change, such a contextualization may prove especially useful for transcending the usual constraints of time — for it’s change itself that seems to be the vehicle in which we drive through time and space in our respective journey towards wherever it is we’re going.
So rather than operating, unconsciously, in a confused and arbitrary amalgam of all three tenses, letting each one direct the mind at any given time without reservation, we can try to compartmentalize past, present and future to obtain some needed order to the chaos.
In so doing, the three tenses can be engaged more cohesively, malleably and effectively as we navigate through time, using our relationships with the past and the future to effectuate the right kind of present.
Where to start? A common denominator.
Change is the engine that drives us - it's what turns future to past.
Eastern wisdom may regard it as impermanence and Western science as entropy — it’s as inevitable as much as it is both daunting and inspiring, not to mention the only way we can really discern our movement through time itself.
We navigate atop this ability to make change — filling voids, building somethings from nothings, materializing the unreal, destroying or deconstructing, growing or creating.
The past allows us to compare and discern such change — to understand it.
The present functions as our realm whereby we actuate such changes or experience them.
The future holds our vision for the kind of changes we seek to actualize.
And things can get needlessly difficult if we approach this formula unconsciously — letting one tense over-impose itself against another, or mishandling our maneuverability between them all.
If we figure out how the past, present, and future are most complimentary to our variable states of consciousness, or to our efforts of effectuating change, then we can navigate more flexibly, all the while avoiding the pitfalls of the human experience that typically trip us up in our default (albeit mistaken) march through a linear progression of past to present to future.
Ironically, it seems as though it takes a lifetime to figure out, but progress is noticeable as we move away from letting our past muddle our present or discourage our future; from letting our future impose too much of a prospective shadow over our present or distort our past.
All amidst an interesting caveat: his applies both on an individual and collective level — for whatever that’s worth.
So what’s needed?
A hyper awareness of all three tenses isn’t necessarily convenient nor practical, but an overarching and persistent understanding that:
a) the entire past, as mistake-laden as it may be, has brought us to whatever current moment we find ourselves in;
b) from said moment, we can move anywhere;
c) the future is never confined to the trajectory of the past and present — that potential is as open as can be and can turn towards anything we decide to pursue.
As such, an intention can be said to be the necessary pre-requisite.
We impress upon our surrounding reality whatever intention it is that we bring to the table. If our intention is to be productive or constructive, we will build our families, businesses and physical capabilities alike; if our intention is to be inquisitive or learned, we’ll seek truth through our action and catalogue our experience as we explore the world around us; if our intention is simple survival, we filter the world through a scarcity dynamic and compete with those around us.
The tenses are used, consciously or subconsciously, to effectuate our intended narrative. We derive identity or self-definition from the past; we use future potentiality as a compass, with each direction being a part of our overall intention.
Also helpful amidst it all is the reconceptualization of how time works — that it grows and increases rather than diminishes each day (something I’ve taken to describing as Zero+ Time).
Necessary too is the idea that the three tenses can be synchronized into a kind of harmonious symphony, orchestrating our fluid movement through time, atop a natural (not so much forced) conscious awareness of this triad dynamic.
It’s a simple suggestion but a difficult practice, especially in the face of cultural constructs that try to keep us either distracted or operating under a scarcity-of-time (or a linearity-of-time) perspective.
Fortunately, persistence to reconfigure things pays off pretty quickly, and it especially noticeable.
In the way we move through physical space, acknowledging spatial environments and being aware of patterns that can assist or hinder our movement, our maneuvering through intangible space is just as open to such development: identifying or acting on opportunities, managing expectations, leveraging retrospect against prospect.
Our movement through non-physical space has infinite potential; we can move at any pace, towards any goal, in any way that we want to.
And we can tailor the tenses of time to a specific use or situation, if not for a particular purpose than to simply avoid conflating them in ways that cause unneeded friction.
We want to find ourselves immersed in the present moment of meaningful occasions; we want unfettered, forward looking perspectives to help optimize our productive endeavors; we don’t want past ripple-effects to create new missteps or keep us confined to unideal habit loops.
We can come to use each tense as a canvas for effectuating change; we can also use these tenses to fuel our intentions, as each temporal dimension has its own style of potential — the past for reflection and evolution, the present for immersion, the future for motivation or ambition.
Our pasts can haunt us and our futures can intimidate us; likewise, our pasts can teach us and our futures can encourage us.
To treat the past as the learning experience it is; to have a healthy relationship with the expectations situated in the future; and to use the present as the homeostatic force of equilibrium between the two.
These are the ways by which we can consciously utilize the three tenses atop our intentions to actualize the changes we seek to make real.