A sense of being involves a degree of separateness from the rest of the world. After all, the verb to “exist” literally means to stand out. When you are present, your awareness of your own existence happens on the backdrop of time. Time is really just perception of change, of processes, of movement, of information flow. So to be, we have to experience ourselves as apart from all this flow.
Being is a contrast between our subjective permanence and the objective impermanence of everything that is around us, between our (subjective) timelessness and the constant timing (changing) of reality outside of us.
Like stillness, being exists in contrast with movement.
When we experience ourselves, there is a feeling that while we are fundamentally the same from moment to moment, the world outside of is changing. We begin to be. We feel reborn. We pop out of the incessant stream of “recycled consciousness” and mindless behavior. We reconnect with that immutable sense of “am-ness.” No longer lost in the world, we begin to experience ourselves in a relationship with it. We begin to register the experience. We remember that we are alive. We feel glad that we woke up and marvel at how time has slipped away.
Thus, to be – we have to slow down enough to notice ourselves being in time.
Adapted from Present Perfect
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Last reviewed: 19 Sep 2012