T is for Time

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Kronos, or tick-tock time, is chronological, sequential, and linear in nature; it’s governed by watches, clocks, and calendar pages. We schedule our lives by it—making appointments and keeping deadlines. It tends to be more of a taskmaster than a friend. Many people speak of “never having enough” of it as we race against the clock.

Kronos time is symbolized by an infant that ushers in the New Year and ends the annual calendar as an elderly, bent, and bearded man—Father Time—similar to the god Chronos in Greek mythology.

It’s my perspective that there’s much there’s more—much more—to it than that. I believe that the brow chakra (energy center) is the gatekeeper to a time portal; a place where we can step out of quantitative time as we know it—Kronos, and into qualitative time—kairos.

Kairos, or opportune time, is the word the ancient Greeks used to describe the right time, perfect time, supreme moment, or the “now.” Some might even call it divine time. Kairos intersects and brings transcending value to kronos time. It signifies an undetermined period of time (time in-between) in which something special happens. I was 6 years old the first time I remember dancing with Kairos time, but that’s a story for another day.

One doesn’t catch up with Kairos time; rather one participates in it. In one of my favorite books, A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, she suggests that kairos time can, and does, enter, penetrate, break through or intersect kronos time: the child at play—consumed in the moment; the painter held captive—mesmerized at an easel; the saint lifted up—removed as it were, in prayer…

In her book, Close to the Bone: Life Threatening Illness and the Search for Meaning, Jean Shinoda Bolen wrote, “When we participate in time and therefore lose our sense of time passing we are in kairos; here we are totally absorbed in the present moment, which may actually stretch out over hours.”

It would be an understatement to say that kairos moments alter the trajectory of our lives. To miscalculate kronos time is inconvenient. To miscalculate kairos time is utterly regrettable.

When was the last time you were so caught up in kairos that kronos was transcended and you were at soul-level?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan


© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

31 thoughts on “T is for Time

  1. I don’t know I don’t have time to figure this out!

    I am getting back to you because my time is not my own at the moment. As well as my mind and brain are on different time levels.

    Yet it is always time to be Love!

    I am Love, Jeff

  2. I live in kairos time every time I work in my garden. It’s hard work but pure bliss to me. I’m sure that most people would not love pulling weeds, but it’s very peaceful. I listen to the sounds of the neighborhood. Smell the flowers and soil. Get dirty fingernails and I’m very happy.

    Day #6 on my couch. Kronos time is all that I’ve got right now. Amazing how the time is flying by and I’m doing nothing.

  3. When was the last time you were so caught up in kairos that kronos was transcended and you were at soul-level?

    Time is the co-action of particles. You can’t have action of particle at all unless you have space, and when you have a change in space then you have a different time. I get the idea of running from Point A to Point B.

    I like qualitative time—kairos more than quantitative time as we know it—kronos better and consciously work in that zone. I take things, like spending time to answer here from the spirit level – a much more friendly and caring way for me to interact with you. I am doing what I call a cycle of action and line up my days with many cycles. If I don’t get everything done, I carry it to the next day.

    When I write or create on one of my artistic projects, time stops, and my imagination soars. For me, doing my tasks or orders as cycles of action, I can look back on the day and see a lot of free time to read, post, play with my family and have breathers. Fun stuff tracking the alphabet with you…a pure joy ride.

  4. I lose myself in various creative processes Laurie from photo shoots along the ocean, editing photographs late into the night, writing stories, painting paintings – particularly painting paintings. I often create external signals that help me to keep both clock time and moment time somewhat in alignment – a timer, fading light, David coming out of his office looking for lunch. Most often this allows me to go freely into the moment without worrying about time at all for large chunks of physical time.

    However, your question of being transcended and being at soul-level is a more profound kind of experience I think. MY most recent experience actually happened when I first met and visited a woman who is now a good friend. I went to her house for a business meeting. We began speaking of many things that intrigued and delighted us within the arts, things we’d read, beliefs we held. We had tea. We had snacks. We talked and laughed and were absorbed in the present. We were so absorbed that I missed my scheduled ferry reservation by three – yes three hours.

    I hadn’t given it a thought. I had no idea that we had been talking for five hours on that sunny afternoon in her courtyard. It was like we had all the time in the world. And we did. I caught the ferry home at the end of the day and a lasting friendship has been the result. I still remember the dizzying loop my psyche had to though to acknowledge and recover from this loss of kronos. I had no bodily reference for the passage of so many hours even though I had been fully present in the moment.

    • Terrill – I love the word picture you painted of the sunny afternoon in your friend’s courtyard when you were fully present, yet time stood still. What a rich experience!

      I also appreciate the examples you gave of external signals that enhance your experience of time so that you don’t have to focus on it and you’re free to invest your whole attention on creativity.

  5. Thank you Laurie for this direction in thinking, it seems we are here to discover this power within. So nice to hear from you! Your messages are always so nurturing. Love & Huggs & ✫⋱¸¸.·´`✫⋱¸¸.·´`✫Merry Christmas⋱¸¸.·´`✫⋱¸¸.·´`✫ ❤ Jeannie

  6. I love the many aspects of time, both Kronos and Kairos.

    It seems to me that both share many aspects.

    Looking at Kronos

    We seem to have this persistent illusion that there is such a thing as universal time. It is almost impossible for us to conceive that there might not be any such thing. Yet when we look very closely, at the very very small (much smaller than a single atom), then what seems to work is to abandon the notion of universal time, and to accept that time is local to each and every particle, and that we get to have this illusion of universal time because all of our particles are in much the same place going much the same speed. So it provides a good “first order” approximation.

    When you start dealing with things at are going at great speeds in relation to each other, the rules that work well for big things going relatively slowly (like people and planets) don’t work.

    What seems to wok most elegantly, is to abandon the notion of universal time, and accept that every particle experiences it’s own time; and that photons are timeless (they transmit information about the nature of their emitting particle at the instant they were created).

    That does leave some deeper questions about the nature of space that insists that photons travel at the same speed (actually – it poses very deep questions about the deep nature of time and speed).

    Kairos seems to have similar depths to it.

    I find I can get completely lost in a conversation, or a programming task, or some activity, such that the processes I normally rely on in my brain to keep track of “time” get no processing time at all, so my internal measures of time are that none has passed.

    At other times, my awareness can be operating at such a heightened speed (full holographic mode), that I can do in a few seconds what would normally take me many hours.

    In the realm of Kairos, words often seem to have many of the attributes of photons – in that they transmit information about the state of the emitting entity at the time they were emitted, and are then essentially timeless (frozen in time) until received by another entity, and processed.
    There does seem to be a distinct difference between words and photons, in that words may be duplicated, and spread very quickly, without changing their meaning, whereas amplification of photons almost always alters them in some way.
    There is also the fact that the “meaning” in the mind of the emitter, may be very different from the “meaning” interpreted in the mind of the receiver.

    And it is a fascinating process – being an entity of “software” and words, intimately connected to this world of time, space and matter.


    • Ted – I always enjoy reading your thoughts. I especially liked the word picture you painted of humanity being entities of software and words – intimately connected to this world of time, space, and matter. As someone who has an up-close-and-personal relationship with her laptop, that’s a word picture I could really wrap my head around 🙂

  7. Laurie, you never cease to amaze me with your richness of thoughts and ideas, – am in ‘airos time whenever – interact with you!

    I experianced Kairos time big time when I was with my mother in Wisconsin for four weeks….I am had a huge one last night as we were at a Christmas party last night in the chrch basement…..When Santa (my hubby) knocked onn one of the basement windows, Boy did the little go crazy—then. they ran to one end of the building, but Santa went to the other door, so the kids all then ran in the other direcion to meet him…..JOY…

  8. Sometimes it feels like my whole day moves in kairos…like pictures flashing on a screen. One picture reveals itself, then the next, then the next. The day is simply a million imagines moving on the screen of awareness.

    Chronos appears within the moving screen to reveal that the taxes must be receipted, the blog must be written, the Christmas tree put up.

    They don’t feel opposed those, really. It feels like they dance together. “Chronos, may I have this dance?” “Yes, Kairos, as long as you don’t step on my toes…”


    • Kathy – I think you’re right about Kronos and Kairos time dancing together. I love the dialogue:

      “Kronos, may I have this dance?”
      “Yes, Kairos, as long as you don’t step on my toes…”

  9. Time flies….and then drags…then speeds….and stops….the clock races…then the hours pass. This day has flown by for me and I am sure it has seemed endless for others. So it is not just a collection of 24 hours any more, but more of a sequence of events. My Dad lived by Military time, everyday portioned out in precise doses. Mine has always been more of a free spirit, flying away when I try to grasp and hold it. When we were children we heard the phrase, ” “Slow as Christmas!”, as adults we would say, “Is it time for Christmas already!?” These days I think, ” Christmas again, how nice.” I supposed time is what you make of it.

  10. Yesterday and today, Laurie! I’ve been at a shamanic extraction workshop. I was aware of a passage of time kind of like background music, but I am absolutely thrilled with the way a shamanic journey keeps me so very present in the moment. I am working to transfer this skill to my everyday moments in life: just to be in the moment, fully present. I can hardly wait to hear about your dancing with kairos.

  11. Pingback: Monday 13th December update | Ted Howard NZ's Blog

  12. Pingback: Musical “Scrooge” with Albert Finney, Takemitsu Festival-”Ran,” “Kwaidan,” “Pitfall,” “Harikiri,” “Samurai Rebellion,” “Alone Across the Pacific” and more on Monday Mornin

    • Sam – I so enjoyed reading about the bevy of activity on your Monday Morning Diary (Dec 13) over on Wonders in the Dark. Just mentioning the song, “Thank you very much” has me singing along! [Len has assured me that if I don’t stop soon he will hold my head under water until the bubbles stop]…

  13. “In one of my favorite books, A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, she suggests that kairos time can, and does, enter, penetrate, break through or intersect kronos time: the child at play—consumed in the moment; the painter held captive—mesmerized at an easel; the saint lifted up—removed as it were, in prayer…”

    Laurie, you are really talking my language here with this wondrous Newbery Medal winner, which I also adore and once used in class about 11 years ago. And of course it’s a fantastic title to broach in this particular discussion. I’m also of the belief that time is what you make of it, and that time can be an asset or an enemy. We would like to undo the bad things, and might pose to ourselves ‘what might be is such and such a thing never happened.’ But then we are brought back to reality with a reminder that the good things helped shape our well-being and positive world view as well. Time is certainly as integral to this entire alphabetical equation as any other entry in this magnificent series, though I must admit I was enlightened here with the discussion of Kronos and Kairos. This delineation broaches the practical and the idealistic, the tangible and the intangible, the hard-edged and the conceptual. This is one post I’ll certainly return to in the future, as I will to a number of others!

    Ah, Len is like my wife Lucille. She’s frankly had enough of my tireless promotion of “Thank You Very Much” even while my youngest daughter Jillian remins completely smitten with it. No matter how you cut it it’s an infectious ditty that even received a Academy Award nomination for Best Song in 1970. Ha!

    • SamMadeleine L’Engle’s books are wonderful, Wonderful, WONDERFUL! And it’s exactly as you say, time can be an asset or an enemy – whatever we make it – the onus is on us.

  14. Finally, a name for what I have been experiencing!! August 2010, on the island of Eleuthera and only a few more days to go until I am there again. There is nothing like it, pure divine time. Whether I am alone on a beach, immersed in a cultural event, waiting for the fisherman to come in for the day, each moment is magical. Due to the location within the Bermuda Triangle, most days I joke and just say “triangle” to explain this unique way of living moment to moment. I plan to share this with you next year with an Island Time Inspired blog. THanks Laurie!!

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