Longer Observation (5): Measuring Time: There are many ways of measuring time.

There are ways based on public, visual cycles such as day and night (the rising and setting of the sun); the four seasons (for example, "Fourteen Winter's ago"); the changing length of the days; even the pulsing of the atom. 2) Then there are ways based on private, internal cycles such as one's breath cycle (in and out — for example, "4 breaths ago"); the heart rate; the sleep-wake cycle; and so on. These are private and internal to each of us but can be measured by others who take an interest in us such as our medical doctors. 3) Then there are mathematically derived measurements of time based on say the desire to divide a day into equal parts (call them "hours") and then to divide the hours into 60 equal parts (calling them "minutes) and then dividing minutes also into 60 equal parts (calling them "seconds"). These are not natural cycles as in 1) and 2) but cycles thought up in the imaginations and thoughts of humans as useful or ideal and then imposed on nature. 4) Next, there is a way of measuring time where a person invents and makes a device that has a cycle built into it, like a clock or metronome. This is not a natural object and the cycle is not a cycle of nature, but it is a cycle and can be used to measure times — for example, twenty ticks of the metronome. 5) Finally there is a measuring of time that each of us does and that no one else can measure, not even our doctors (and maybe not even ourselves). Here we may notice feelings and thoughts that cycle from elevated to depressed in a rhythmic way that may or may not be noticeable by others. These are only a few ways of measuring time.

From a psychological angle, it is important to be able to identify the measurements different people use at different times and how they might lead to problems. For example, a person who rises each morning with the sun and counts his or her breaths during an hour long meditation may rebel against going to a job interview scheduled for 8:15 AM and live to regret it. On the other extreme, a lawyer who charges by the minute, may become a spoiler for his wife and children when he insists that the children go to bed at 8:00 PM sharp on Christmas Eve, that presents may not be opened until 9:00 AM, and when he feels pressures all day that the Christmas dinner won't be ready on time. Each of the methods has advantages.