Three Seconds Last the Present

What this means for resilience, meditation and consciousness

Adolfo Ramírez Corona
3 min readNov 12, 2019

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Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash

Three seconds last the present, scientists say. Our brain considers the present instant from a second ago, the current second, the second to come.

The rest is past or future.

Deep down, anything other than those three seconds does not exist. It was or will be, but it is not.

Eternal past, infinite future

I speculate that it must be a similar phenomenon in higher mammals. Dogs, for example, I always see them living in the present. That doesn’t mean they don’t have memory or don’t anticipate foreseeable events, but definitely, the past, long, heavy, almost eternal, and the future, infinite, surpassed of possible, are very human.

In writing this, for example, I perceive the current phrase as present. The previous paragraph or phrase is in the past. The next sentence that I have not yet written or defined is the future.

(It may not be exactly three seconds but somehow the present moment has a certain duration based on what our attention and brain can sustain.)

Those three seconds make me think of two things. Resilience and meditation. That is to say, under the perspective of the three seconds, what is resilience?, how does meditation work?

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”
Eckhart Tolle

Resilience

In this sense, resilience is our ability to return our mind’s attention to those three seconds. As we know, many things can make us move our attention away from those three seconds.

Resilience, then, is that ability to leave the past in the past, the future in the future, and return to this three-second present.

Meditation

Photo by Motoki Tonn on Unsplash

The other thing that makes me think about is meditation.

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Adolfo Ramírez Corona

Author, psychotherapist, coach—Human behavior, UX, media & audiences—Father, husband, meditator—Courses & coaching: antifragilewriting.com—More adolforismos.com