Time

May 19, 2015

To me, this teaching is such an antidote to the hurry, busyness and internal pressure I so often feel in relation to the clock.

“The mistake that people most often cling to is the mistake they make about time. Identities may seem fluid, and most people will glimpse, at some point or other, alternatives to even their most sacred beliefs, but through it all they will insist that time is truly real, truly the constraint that it appears to be, and they will suffer in that misunderstanding. It seems like one of the more trivial things that we get wrong; it seems that so many other of our holy ideas are more important, more inspired, closer to God, than any understanding that we may have or not have about time, and so even our mistake is trivialized and the relevance of that misunderstanding about time denied in pursuit of greater truths. But think how much of your suffering, day in and day out, revolves around the way you view time, the way you feel that everything must fit into this container somehow, that everything—all your potential, every possibility, your very joy—is limited and constrained by the boundaries set in time. ‘I have an hour to meditate’, you tell yourself, and suddenly the whole meditation is defined by its time component, when in fact nothing about the quality or experience of that meditation is in any way a reflection of the number of minutes that you choose to sit. You think of yourself as having a certain life span and that becomes time to which you feel entitled, as if you have been allocated this paltry ration of life, and that is all you are allowed. When looked at through the lens of time, almost everything seems lacking, too spare, not enough, and because our working and even our leisure—in fact, even sleep and food and other fundamentals of our lives—follow strict prescriptions of time, we become accustomed to this tyranny, we acquiesce to the whole illusion of it, and so allow ourselves to feel that we are servants somehow of this relentless, measured march.  But, in truth, we invented everything about time. We invented its surface structure; we decided we would call a certain unit of time one ‘second’, and thereby unfolded all our other invented units. And we decided that our whole vision of life would be organized around this structure. Socially, we did this for very good reasons—it is a convenience, it is a tool, it is an organizational system that helps our communities run smoothly. But that does not make it real. And, on a much deeper level, time was actually invented by the same mind that fears and suffers and misunderstands everything about this world and everything about itself. That thinking mind which is the fount of all things misunderstood decided on time, decided that time was real just like it decided that you, in your essence, are fragile, that life is dangerous, that we are the victims of our circumstances and not their creators.   That fear-based mind seizes on the limitations and constraints of time the same way it seizes on all of its other mistakes. That thinking mind, that ego, that most basic of all mistakes itself, can do nothing but misperceive, and so it misperceives this. And so, just as it invents danger and decides that that is real, just as it invents all of its illusions, it invents time, and you suffer in your allegiance to that belief. In fact, nothing exists except now; this is often said, and it is taken to be a lofty, esoteric concept, but truly I mean it in the simplest sense. There is literally nothing at all that you can feel or discover or experience, there is no reality with which you can make any meaningful contact at all, except that which is right now. And right now is always here. Right now will never end, and because you are not that thing constrained by seconds and years and lifetimes, right now will never end for you. There will always be a now, and it will always be yours. And so while it is technically true that you can be late for work, you cannot actually ever miss anything. You cannot be at the wrong place in any moment because there is only one place, only one time: here and now. We have let our colloquial use of the constraints of time mushroom out of our control. There is no reality in lateness; equally, there is no reality in the sense that time is too short, or that something has been going on for too long. There is no reality in the belief that ‘I am running out of time’ or that ‘I am wasting it’. You have right now, absolutely and completely, and you don’t have anything else. And so what you really have, what you can always count on, is not numbered in any way, cannot be measured with any tool, and will never be anything else but fully and completely available to you. In this very precise way, you literally have infinity. Right now is literally eternal, and you always have it. Wrench yourselves back into a position of presence. This, right here, right now, is all there is. Be here right now and you have everything.”

One Response to “Time”

  1. Sam Red said

    Fantastic! Well done Emily. Time is definitely a limiting social construct in our Western societies and many people are totally unaware that they are living inside this mind/man-made prison. I think some other cultures still manage to view time in a different way, but the Western mind-set probably calls them “backward” or “under-developed”! Blessings, Sam

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