Are you sure time exists? Might sound silly, but are you really sure? We talk about time as though it’s real don’t we? In fact many of us, and I include myself in this, are ruled by the clock, so we naturally assume time exists.
But what if we’re looking at it the wrong way round. Imagine there’s no past, present or future. I’ll come to the present in a moment but imagine the past and future are totally non-existent. They only exist in our imagination, they have no external reality whatsoever (apologies to fans of sci-fi).
Imagine there is only the present but now it’s not the present (because that implies a past and a future). What if, what we call the present is simply our awareness of the manifestation of the effects of all the causes in the manifest universe, within our field of awareness. Each interconnected, vastly complex system of causes manifesting it’s results (us included) and in turn, as all is in motion, becoming the causes of the next set of ever evolving results.
Of course to speak of cause and effect is in one sense correct because it implies linearity (along with laterality, if I can put it that way), but we also recognise it’s not a stop/start process it’s a continuous one as all is in motion. (And everything is in motion. There is no empty point in space and no point that is still.)
Why am I considering this? Well, the sense of self that perceives itself as separate brings with it a fundamental insecurity, it’s (we are) aware of its (our) own fragility within an ever-changing world. So we use our minds to try and imagine what’s around the corner, the next set of results. In doing so we can avoid possible dangers and plan ahead.
But what might be one of the most important evoluntionary advances our species has acquired is also our jailer; it’s responsible for our lack of awareness in the present. We habitually spend so much time in our heads, in the imagined future or remembered past, we miss the present. We literally miss reality.
And as long as we’re locked in this mental prison, we won’t escape from the sense of separate self and we’ll continue to suffer.
Why? Because our escape is only ever in the present. There is no future or past there is only the present. But the present is not the fleeting elusive moment we’re accustomed to considering it to be. It’s vast. As your senses expand into it you start to glimpse just how vast.
When your senses in the present begin to free up you’ll begin to take in so much more and on levels you weren’t previously aware existed.
It’s not hard, you can try this for yourself: every day, as often as you can, bring your awareness just into the present. You can use awareness of the breath as an anchor or any of your senses, but as soon as the ‘narrative’ begins and your thoughts wander, bring yourself (patiently) back to the present. Do it as often as you can, every moment you’re not ‘required’ to think.
I don’t know if it’ll take hours, days or weeks for you but something else will start to ‘leak’ through. Don’t worry, it’s all part of reality, do not ‘adjust your set’. What starts to ‘leak’ through is all of the rest of reality, the present moment that you normally filter out.
In fact, when it first happens you’ll probably feel a ‘snapping back’ take place as the narrative flow of life’s content tries to re-establish itself. But with a little more practice you can learn to enjoy it, to go with it. To embrace what you feel and to recognise it as real.
There is so much more to tell but this post is quite long enough already. Will you try it? Will you try to wake up?