Dimensional trauma of entering time and space

Published on 5 February 2023 at 14:18


Many of us experience problems in relation to time. We may feel we have too little time, or that time flies, or time drags, or we may feel we have to fill every moment, perhaps experiencing a dread of boredom, or experience a need to structure our time, or we may long for periods of unstructured time. We may be characterologically late for everything – or fanatically on time.

Time, as Einstein appreciated, is closely interwoven with space – and indeed we often speak of time in spatial terms, such as a long or short time, or a full or empty time. Time is also a bodily experience. The infant’s first experience of time is the cycle of hunger and feeding, learning that feelings of contentment are followed, after some interval, by a gnawing discomfort and sense of wanting to consume something. 

Prior to conception we are discarnate beings, essences existing in a realm beyond the space and time that we experience in this matter-based world. In the womb we are carried in a protective space, mostly protected from too much impingement from the harsh conditions that will assail us at and after birth. Much has been written of the traumatic caesura of birth itself (Freud, 1926), and the importance of the care provided by the mother functioning as a partial continuity, a psychological womb. However, what is less commonly considered is the trauma and challenge of entering the entire realm of space and time. From a pre-incarnation state in which our world was responsive to our intention, with interactions and communications outside of time and space, we enter a dimensionalised matter-based physical form, with intense sensory experiences that often include pain. We have basic physiological emotional responses (screaming and crying) over which we have no control. Indeed, we have no control over any aspect of infant experience, and no capacity to regulate the intensity of sensory stimulation. We have to wait. There may be moments of warmth and feelings of comfort and contentment, alternating with other episodes of cold, wet, pain, and emptiness – a sense of a space that is empty. We are disintegrated by our own screams of rage and agony, and our helplessly flailing limbs. We have no words to represent our experiences to self or other. There is no self. We cannot think. Suspended in an endless present, we are in bliss or hell, or myriad states between.

For our adult selves, whose experience is continually mediated by language, it is difficult to recall or imagine the raw immediacy of the infant’s sensory world. Although without words to express the thought, some experiences would be felt to be life supporting (love), and others would be felt to be death dealing (hate). The essential consciousness has to cope with the twin vectors of an intense drive to live and at the same time a terrifying yet inarticulate realisation of dwelling in a physical state that leads ultimately to disintegration. Life gives way to entropy and we become space dust. Each incarnation and birth mirrors the ‘big bang’ itself, the emergence of the matter universe with its time and space. And each fragment of flimsy life that eventually emerges can feel very far from home.

The shock and panicky sense of irreversibility that accompany the descent into density and time is a dimensional trauma. In this lie some of the roots of our collective madness. It can be usefully addressed using any of the energy psychology modalities. 

Phil Mollon



Freud, S. (1926) Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud 20:75-176