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On Managing Time

the Emergence Explorer

Questions for the Week of September 4, 2006

Emergence Character Type Babies 9-AI-2

This Week's Questions

[posed by Gary S.]
  • How can I first improve my time management skills?
  • How does managing money tie in with managing time?
  • Why is a surgeon considered a Layer 4 occupation?

Do you know?

[Question 1] I have a great deal of trouble managing time. Logically, I "know" how much time is needed for certain things, such as driving somewhere, finishing a job, or answering these questions. Yet I can't seem to access "after-7 time" as described in the article on Layer 3, and I end up feeling a lot of shame about this. For instance, I'm often late for appointments, which can compromise business and personal relationships. Yet I hate being late and hate when I'm waiting for someone else who is late.

I also don't know how to plan future events, such as vacations, and I blame myself for not "getting better" about managing my time. How can I improve my time management, first, from a "damage control" point of view, and ultimately, how can I remove this block?
Gary, this topic could be a whole article in and of itself. A whole book really. The place to begin then is to realize the scope of this topic and the extent to which others have this problem. My point? We all have trouble managing time to some degree. Why? Because, as the article states, all injuries involve distortions in how we sense time.

So how do you begin to get better at managing time? You begin by recognizing what every single Emergence Therapy session seeks to do; it seeks to get you to recognize that there is some part of human nature which you cannot visually experience. In this particular case, you cannot visually recognize the nature of time itself.

Please know we are not talking here about the physicist's understanding of time. Rather, we are simply referring to the two ways in which human beings can sense time; the before age-seven sense of time, and the after age-seven sense of time. How are they different?

Before age seven, we sense time only as separate, disconnected moments. After age seven, we can sense time as a sequence of before and after moments. Before age seven, we cannot grasp what "waiting for something" is other than we are not getting what we want and it feels painful. This makes waiting for anything a bad experience. After seven though, we understand that all things do not occur in the same moment. Thus, expecting the good thing which is due to arrive in three weeks is a good experience which affects our present life positively. Thus, we not only can diffuse the pain of waiting, we can also see it as a good thing by having things to look forward to.

Then there is the idea that how we learn from teachers changes at about age seven. How? Before age seven, if we don't immediately grasp something a teacher is saying, we dismiss either the teacher, the idea, or ourselves as learners. After seven, this experience changes, and we can at least intellectually grasp that the struggles involved in learning may pay off in the end; moreover, that what may appear worthless at first may indeed hold great value once we learn to see it.

Then there is the idea that before age seven, we cannot learn from our mistakes. At least not temporally. Why not? Because in order to temporally learn from our mistakes, we must be able to consciously witness time unfold in a sequence, in other words, that the present moment has followed the one immediately before it, and so on. Before age seven, we can not connect moments in time to each other. Thus we cannot see how what we do affects outcomes.

So how, before age seven, can we appear to learn from our mistakes at times? Because while we cannot see time as a sequence of events, we can associate external experiences to internal experiences. What I'm saying is, even in the first few hours in which we are alive, we can, and do, begin to associate life events with qualitative evaluations. Some things feel good. Some feel bad. And this is how we "learn." Thus, before age seven, we learn from "good" experiences by associating good feelings with certain events. Likewise, we learn from "bad" experiences by associating bad feelings with certain events. Because we lack the sense of time over time, we still cannot predict when these things will occur. But when they do, we feel the same good or bad feelings. And often take the same momentum based actions.

These momentum based responses are what we call, "associative" learning. It is how we learn about ourselves and life before age seven, by associating feelings with events. This differs markedly from "logical" learning wherein we use a sense of causality to infer future outcomes. This is what the cliche, "learn from the past or be doomed to repeat it" refers to. It refers to how we can, after age seven, use logic and time to improve our odds of having a happy life.

What is especially important to note here, though, is that I did not say "will" give us a happy life. Why not? Because while consecutive moments in time may often seem to be connected causally, at times, they do not connect, such as when we experience unexpected events like car accidents and illnesses.

My point is, before age seven, we cannot even hypothesize causality, because we cannot experience moments of time sequentially. Each moment feels separate and unrelated.

The question now becomes, so is before age seven time "bad?" Not at all. Especially when you realize that there is something special about both type of times. Each does some particular job better. For example, Gary, you do a lot of creative work. Trying to be creative in after age-seven time is like trying to make love while you're mentally reorganizing your closets. Not too much fun for either you or your partner.

On the other hand, if you are trying to plan anything at all, from work schedules to vacations, from educational paths to hiking paths, trying to do any of this in before age-seven time is like trying to drive a car with a stiff neck; you can't see where you are going. At least, not very easily. Why not? Because you can't look back. This means you'll be unable to learn from the past and in effect, be doomed to repeat your mistakes. The result? Everything from vacation conflicts to career dead ends.

OK. So being able to choose between the two types of time consciousness, between before age-seven time and after age-seven time, is very important. So what keeps people older than seven from using this knowledge then? The answer? I've already mentioned it. Injuries. Why? Because we all have injuries. And because all injuries involve distortions to our sense of time. To see how, let's briefly review the basics of injury, starting with that we even divide all injuries into two broad categories, both based on what happens to the person's sense of time. One we call, "blank screens," and the other, we call, "stuck clocks."

How do these two things affect our sense of time? With "blank screens," the screen of our mind goes blank during the wounding event. Thus, time seemingly passes endlessly. With "stuck clocks" though, time freezes during the wounding event while we repeatedly experience the same single painful frame of experience.

In effect, this means we can divide injuries into those in which time stops while life continues, and those in which our vision stops while time continues. Either way, getting injured distorts our sense of time.

All this said, let me now try to briefly address your questions.

So what can you do to begin to improve your sense of time? From a damage control sense of time, you could learn to be more aware of when you are unable to sense after age-seven time. And from a healing sense of time, you could begin to develop a list of the situations wherein you cannot picture things unfolding over time and then use this list to focus your healing efforts.

In the end, the goal would be to become able to choose between these two ways we can sense time. For instance, planning a vacation? After age-seven time. On vacation? Before age-seven time. Choosing a career path? After age-seven time. Creatively designing a job within your career path? Before age-seven time.

Seeing time this way means you see nether way as "bad." More, they each become simply the right, or wrong, tool for each thing you do.

[Question 2] I have a similar problem with money. I seem to always be struggling to manage my money; paying my bills on time, saving for vacations or for large purchases, managing debt, and so on. I can't seem to picture myself being financially stable.

Form the article, I realize this is also a Layer 3 issue. Yet in the "What We Look Like" section of Layer Three, none of the roles resonate with me except one. Ironically, I used to collect coins when I was about seven years old.

I feel a lot of shame about what seems to me to be a deficiency of sorts in my adult wisdom or sensibility. How can I visualize financial stability and wealth?
This time, you've offered a clue to what is going on here; you imply that you used to be able to sense money in after age-seven time, ironically, at age seven. This further implies that you once did have a sense of after age-seven time but lost it, perhaps, though injury.

The thing to do here would be to ask yourself if, indeed, you have even felt an after age-seven sense of how the monetary value of money changes. You see, in all likelihood, what you sensed back then was how the simple act of collecting objects occurs over time. What I'm saying is, the value you sensed in collecting coins may have more been the sheer enjoyment collectors feel in collecting objects. Thus, you may never have developed an after age-seven sense of the value of the money itself. You may sense money only as objects to acquire.

So what could you do? I once helped a rather financially well off housewife to recognize the value of money by having her connect the hours she worked in her part time job to objects she purchased for her home. For instance, I once had her connect a brass door know she purchased to how many hours of work she had to do in order to pay for this door knob. Surprisingly, this simply effort changed her sense of money, in that she became able to see money as the thing which connected hours worked to objects acquired.

My point is, this same type of experience may do it for you too. Thus, if you can tie the purchase of anything from your weekly food shopping or a new shirt to the hours you had to work to buy these things, you may change your whole sense of the value of money.

Said in Emergence terms, while I am sure you already have a Layer 2 sense of money (the logical value of money), you seem to be missing a Layer 7 sense of money; how meeting one person's needs ( a boss, for instance) gives you the money to pay for your own needs (e.g. food or clothing).

[Question 3] It seems to me human beings are naturally born curious. From earliest childhood, then, our natural curiosity, and sense of wonder about the unknown, appear to drive us to explore everything within the range of our senses, from what we can see and hear, to what we can smell, taste, and touch. At first, then, it's all unknown and everything interests us.

In my present life, I seem to have lost these connections and rarely feel this sense of wonder, curiosity, drive to explore, to discover, or learn. This holds true even in areas in which I know I love, such as in music.

My point is, this realization is incredibly painful. What causes me (and others) to take up permanent residence in the Land of Layer 1?
[Answer] Gary, I wish I had a simple answer. To be honest, I do not know. What I do know is that you are absolutely right; we humans are born curious about everything we sense.

So what happens? The obvious Layer 2 answer is that our love of learning gets wounded and BLocked. How? By getting startled while we feel curious. Unfortunately, every injury we get begins with this same feeling of curiosity, albeit, sometimes, we feel the slow beautiful kind, and at other times, we feel the hurried emergency kind.

Of course, the real question is, so what can you do about this? My thought? That you need to reclaim a reference experience for what being curious is like. For example, try to come up with something you'd like to learn about, then look for some thing within this topic which you might explore in the presence of a teacher with whom you could connect. In theory, discovering something together could give you just such a reference experience. But only if you can experience this event in after age-seven time. Why? Because in order for you to see the Layer 7 value in curiosity, you need to be able to connect your initial feeling and the effort which followed to the resulting amazement.

Said in other words, you need to consciously witness the good in having an emergence. In the Inner 4 Layers as well as in the Outer 4.

[Question 4] Why is a surgeon considered a Layer 4 occupation? Layer 4 is "uncivilized blame." I don't see the connection. Just curious.
[Answer] Being at war with the human body is war none the less. Curing disease by cutting things out is barbaric. And unfortunately, like war, also necessary at times. None the less, to kill anything is "uncivilized blame." And "uncivilized blame" is the essence of Layer 4.

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