Is time linear, circular or parallel? Depending on our perspective, we may be influencing our own healing.
Chronos: Linear Time
Regardless of the spelling, the name Chronus/Cronus/Khornos/Chronos, is associated with linear time and the early origins of the Earth. In some myths Khronos is a serpent with the heads of a man, a bull and a lion. He paired with the serpent goddess Ananke. They coiled around the primal egg and split it open to create the earth. In other myths, Cronus is the Greek Titan who castrated his own father and ate his own children to gain the former’s power and to prevent the latter from coming into power.
Serpents are often depicted as coiling back on themselves. The head eats the tail, devouring itself. This can be seen as a construct of time. Events repeat. One can read history and, in understanding the nature of things, reliably predict the future. Time is in limited supply in the form we know. We are not the same person today we were yesterday. Identity is shed like the skin of a snake and the process happens with time. We can’t go back to the old way of being and at the same time, the way of being comes back to us.
This linear yet repetitious nature shows up in the story of the titan Cronus. What he does to his father is done to him. His son Zeus eventually captures his father’s throne. We could look at this and say it is the folly of men, but a male figure simply dominates the teaching that history is fated to repeat itself. If the Gods can’t escape the effects, surely us women grapple with the same principle.
Is it our view of time that is the trap or time itself? Or is the trap an illusion too?
Replacing a chronos perspective with a kairos one offers a mind-expanding, albeit mind-bending, alternative.
Kairos: Right Timing
Kairos is an ancient Greek word describing the propitious, advantageous or opportune moment. We are falling in love with the idea of the “supreme moment,” also called “right timing”. When something works out we say it was the “right time,” that it was supposed to happen or meant to be. We are talking of kairos.
Kairos can also signify a moment of indeterminate time in which everything happens. Mystics who approach enlightenment teach us that everything is happening at once. All we have is the present moment. The right timing is any time. This gives kairos thinking a qualitative and permanent nature in contrast to the quantitative and ephemeral nature of chronos thought.
Kairos is also the Greek word for weather, which is brilliant really. We all know of the “perfect storm” and also understand that the weather is beyond the dominion of man. We can put all the stones in place and utilize our gift of strategy to build a future, but without the unique, unpredictable nature of kairos on our side we can never force it to be so.
Call it luck, fortune or destiny, we are never where we’re not meant to be.
Time and the Nature of Healing
When exploring how we heal, a linear, chronos view can get in the way. We become determined to pinpoint a specific event at a given time that precipitated the wounding. Sometimes we find one, but that event is in the past, out of our reach. We can never travel back and change the event. We can change our memory of the event, but this may simply be the serpent eating her own tail.
There isn’t always a way to find the initial event that caused wounding and even knowing the event can lend little solace. Sometimes there is no rational explanation for the magnitude of feelings of fear, suffering or loss. They all blend together in our increasingly non-linear understanding of time. One wounding is mended only to find two more to pop up just like the frustrating regeneration of the beast Hydra’s heads.
I unwrapped the moment and found a great gift, the present.
It is time to stop looking for the root and cease hacking at the monster’s many necks. Some things never have “right timing”. The loss of a loved one never comes at a good time. A debilitating illness is never welcome in our homes. Healing doesn’t come when we need it most. When we think of the supreme moment we tend to think of it simply as that, a moment. This is because we equate supreme with good. Good is a momentary, subjective matter. Good comes and goes. Life is woven throughout.
To exist constantly in the right timing of kairos time, we must hold the entire spectrum of experience in our hearts. We must pray for the grace to manage that overwhelming swell of joy and sorrow. In the torturous moments we must learn to access hope. In the joyous times we must learn to remember the suffering of others. This creates a whole person, and healing means to make whole.
Questions for Right Timing:
Here are some questions to ponder when considering a relationship to chronos and kairos perspectives.:
How is this chronos or linear perspective serving me? What am I getting out of seeing the experience as already finished and out of my reach?
How can I move into the rhythm of the moment (Kairos) and harvest the benefits?
What opportunities right now am I missing in these kinds of situations?
What fears or beliefs do I need help transmuting so that I can move towards a Kairos consciousness?
Originally posted on the SageWoman blog at: http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/cycle-of-rebirth/coming-into-the-supreme-moment.html on April 3, 2015.
About Author, Stacey L. L. Couch
Stacey L. L. Couch, Certified Shamanic Practitioner, works as a Spiritual Director and is the author of Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks. She empowers people with the ability to explore life’s big questions by calling on nature, story and synchronicity as a source for guidance and healing. With her deeply rooted experience in the field of shamanism and passion for working with wildlife and rescue animals, Stacey has a unique blend of rational and mystical perspective that makes the matters of the soul easily accessible to others. She values mindfulness, wonder, and compassion in her daily spiritual practice. Learn More About Spiritual Direction.