Yellow Flower

Discovering Time Dimensions

David H. Collins

Yellow Flower

My journey here

In the process of reinventing a career convergence system, Obik 2.0 (a career company I built and ran for 10 years), I saw that sitting right amidst the 3 key human knowledge filters - intelligences, personality attributes, and motivations - are 3 unique and profoundly different key time filters - x, y, and z. Each of us has different dominances and ways of seeing and experiencing life – understanding more about ourselves through these lenses can be helpful for you, but also all types of other interactions with others.

The 3 fundamental dimensions explained

X - Chronos

(Greek for chronological time) Naturalism; Realism

The functional, physical and mental, existence of life and time looked at through the lens of the quantitative, objective and tangible

Y - Philos

(Greek for friendship/love/unity time) Romanticism

The relational, personal and loving, connection to time and life seen through the lens of the qualitative, subjective and tangential

Z - Kairos

(Greek for moments in time/God’s time) Transcendentalism

The spiritual, spatial and ethereal, a stretching of time and life looked at through the lens of a “time in-between” where something special happens and time seems to stand still.

XYZ dimensions simplified

X: Chronological time

“Chronos”, clock time, neXt

  • Head

  • Mind & Body

  • Physical


Y: Relational time

“quality time”, heart time , You & me

  • Heart

  • Emotion

  • Personal


Z: Moments in time

“Kairos”, God’s time, Zen, spirit

  • Soul

  • Spirit

  • Transcendent


How does XYZ play out in life?

We obsess about time and almost always, this means X time. “There’s never enough time”; “I have no time for this”; “I need to better manager my time”; “Time is running out”; and “Where has the time gone”…

But, when we think of “this is my time or we need to spend “time” together, or “what a special time it was”, we are sensing other forms of time. Needing to spend more quality time with your children or loved ones points to the fact that there are different dimensions of time. And, “things can change in an instant” ~ gives a window into a special kind of time – moments.

If you have ever had an accident, it becomes apparent that time seems to slow down and you can remember details, second by second. Ever in love? Time can seem to pause as priorities shift and focus changes to a different dimension on the time continuum.

In actuality, 3 completely different kinds of time co exist all the time.

A deeper dive into XYZ time

For the more logical, rational, and structured – X time becomes the language of time. Digital Clocks enable precision and management of time efficiency. Technology, schools, business, commerce, military, transportation, science and much in our physical world relies and thrives in chronological, sequential time units.

Y time operates in a 2nd way. Where X conjures up the language of taxonomies, quantity, flat files, binary codes, and order, Y is the realm of relationship – typologies, friendship, love, connectedness, elasticity, and quality. Here is where listening, empathy, kindness, patience, and emotional intelligence create a completely different kind of time experience…things sees to slow down and pause, but then get enhanced and better and when returning to X time can actually improve both the productivity and experiences in X time. Corporate team experts are always channeling this.

However, the artists, “spacey”/spatial people, musicians, ministers, meditators, intuits, and “yoda’s” pick up on the realm of Z ~ a dimension where special moments are the focus and “getting it” has Zen like aspects and retreat leaders, spiritualists, and new product experts all yearn to take us to lands of breakthroughs ~ a different place in time. Dreams seem to not happen in time, but in a different world. Movies can transport us and change our experience of time. In these moments and changed clarity seems omnipresent, time seems to both suspend and expand – when we “get it” suddenly an answer flies on a test, a new energy changes the capacity to lift a car in an emergency; cure a disease and heal a patient in a miracle moment and a host of other examples like an inspired innovation.

Where X seems a realm where knowledge and skill enable control and better solutions, Z often operates as a mystery and elusive for virtually all except those “special few” that have a mastery and unique talent to see it differently and access/marshal other forces. Occasionally, we can feel a moment about to happen or have goose bumps when in such a moment when it becomes apparent we are in a Z moment.

My XYZ breakthroughs

Middlebury College’s Economics department has high standards. I set off for fall of my senior year of college to study at the London School of Economics – there I started my thesis on Eurocurrencies. While not a candidate for honors in the department, I nonetheless turned an unremarkable college tour into something I was proud of by getting honors on my thesis (unachieved distinction for a non-honor’s in a department) and getting it published and then leveraging the achievement into a job at JP Morgan (then Chemical Bank…). Hello X time.

At 40 years old, I was in the emergency room of Princeton Hospital and the nurse said she was going to take my blood pressure 3 ways – standing, sitting, and lying down. As she took my blood pressure standing I fell over – I had failed the first test. Twelve doctors arrived to find I had a hole in my throat from months of too much Advil. Then, laying in the I.C.U. where over 30 friends had broken in illegally to see me, I entered into conversation after conversation where there was no clock and realized that much of what mattered in life came down to friends, love and memories – Y Time.

As I sat at 17,000 ft. elevation between Kibo Hut and the summit of Gilman’s Point/Uhuru, in a small cave with a friend from NYC/Brown who stripped off his boots and socks and stuck his feet under my armpits (to avoid frostbite – really?) I knew that life often comes down to moments in time. Only 1,000 feet later (up Kilimanjaro) I was again on my knees in a large snowdrift, dry heaving, and, not seeing blood. Marangu Hut owner/guide, Erica Launi, noted 11 people had died so far this year, but if you saw no blood you could continue…), I knew I could go on but, was clearly in Z time where drawing upon meditation, my faith, and being in the moment was key to doing so.

When forced to leave X time and enter Y or Z, it can be quite frustrating and angering. The same is true in shifts between Z to X and Z to Y or Y to Z. That is, until moments of convergence happen – XYZ times. A half court shot made in the final seconds of a Duke NCAA basketball game standing with a best friend - XYZ! Realizing love in a cave 17,000 feet on the summit climb of Kilimanjaro Dec. 4th 1984 at 5:23 a.m. amidst a Christian conversion and having a conversation with God – XYZ! An orgasm with a spouse in a Havasupai Reservation in the Grand Canyon next to a waterfall and knowing you have just conceived your first child – XYZ!

Real time, quality time, and special time all combined = XYZ time. {Communitas}