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Hägglund, T. (2001). Timelessness as a positive and negative experience. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 24(2):83-92.

(2001). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 24(2):83-92

Timelessness as a positive and negative experience

Tor-Björn Hägglund

We create a sense of time, our understanding of time and subjective time in our minds by experiencing memories, images and chains of events in life as consecutive sequences. We also create timelessness within ourselves. If a person powerfully experiences the present moment, linking this feeling of integration to the self, the feeling of timelessness and illusion of eternity is reinforced, making both the past and the future seem less significant than the present moment. A negative experience of timelessness is linked both to the fear that life will end as well as to the fear of disintegration, shattering, the loss of the self and corporeality. By contrast, a positive experience of timelessness enriches and integrates the personality, linking experiences together in a highly personal and authentic way with a great feeling of freedom which is not tied to a specific point in time. The author argues that a creative experience is always based on an inner, timeless dialogue, even when it is manifested in the transference of psychoanalysis. Through his attitude, an analyst can influence both the analysand's creativity and his experience of timelessness by reinforcing the role of the analysand's true self in his experiences of the self as a whole. Further, a mystical experience could be an act of sublimation taking place during psychoanalytic transference, while communing with nature, or while being creative. Deeply experiencing something truly representing a personal truth as a timeless experience, in a mystical experience or a dream, is probably linked to the ability to fully experience a moment in and of itself, without external stimuli, and with the ability to objectify the self. During such moments, a person can look into himself truly and openly, without any other immediate aspirations.

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