I don't think our perception of time is linear. I think it exists in layers. In the day-to-day, we experience time in the pacing of our thoughts, in the pacing of the activities that occur around us. We have an internal tempo which interacts with the external tempo in which we live. Sometimes it gets onboard, sometimes it needs coffee, sometimes a deep breath.
But there are many more layers to time. I think it is possible to refine one's perception of it, to open the interstice of the moment-to-moment. We see this in the performances of highly trained athletes and performers. During these times, their reflexes seem like that of an insect, splitting the space most of us skip over. It's like magic, but it's possible. We can train our perception of time in this manner.
And there is another, different layer of time. It is the layer in which I am surrounded by all the people I have known in my life, and will come to know.
If we close our eyes, we are alone. There is no one there with us. We can sit in this space and make it ours; we can sit in this space and feel the presence of the absence of others.
But maybe there is another person in the room. We feel that person is there with us, even though they aren't really. Or maybe there is no one in the room; maybe they are upstairs. Or perhaps they are on an errand, at work, away at school, traveling, moved to another city. Maybe they are no longer with us.
When do we become alone? When do we perceive time in such a way that we are no longer with the people in our lives?
We are alone, and they are there with us. For all the people that we miss, wherever they are, next to us, far away, impossible, they are as with us as we are alone. Perhaps we can train our perception in this as well.