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Issue:January' 2018

ART OF LIVING

Time illusory

Rajesh Bhola

Certain encounters in our lives are truly timeless – a ‘time’ when we become blissfully unaware of time. However, while it is not uncommon for someone to lose track of time, this by itself does not constitute a mystical experience of timelessness; in fact this would not even challenge our conceptual understanding of space and time.
Timelessness is, in simple terms, a mystical experience that transcends time. Such mystical experiences make us feel and believe that time and space are illusory. The mystic finds himself in a dimension where time does not exist; he is always in the now.

Mystics speak of three types of knowledge: sensible, rational and a third kind described as an exalted power of the soul - a power so high and noble that it enables one to come face to face with God. This power knows no yesterday or tomorrow, for in eternity there is only the present. Kahlil Gibran very aptly said, ‘The timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness. And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream’.

The feature of time that we are most familiar with is that of it passing, flowing by us - whether we are willing to have it do so or not. We are born, we grow, we live, we learn from living and eventually we die. This aspect of time’s flow is so deeply ingrained in our perception that it is not even questioned. It is taken for granted. Yet, the possibility of living in a timeless manner is a capacity that each of us has, which emerges when our embeddedness within physical reality diminishes and our connection with God and the eternal increases.

Such a shift involves a relocation of identity to the present, freed of past connections and future plans. This relocation roots our identity to the source of our being, rather than to the reflective feedback of others or to the content of external events.

Kahlil Gibran very aptly said, ‘The timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness. And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream’.

As we move towards the foundation of our being, our sense of relationship with the present moment becomes the expression of our relationship with Godin-the-present. However, this movement can be a challenge for us. We think of ourselves as our parents’ children or our children’s parents, by the work we do, or the work we wish to do. We do not feel comfortable defining ourselves by what is unknown and changing.

Living in timelessness involves a profound redefinition of identity - trusting that what is happening now is all there is and all that needs to be. This moment, this now, has immense significance because its source is in God. It and we are woven together in a dance called life, and the dance is eternal.

By knowing this, we can let go of everything else and live in the moment, trusting that it will take us to the next moment in whatever way it is meant to - in whatever way pure divine intention manifests itself.

Our rootedness in God is what makes possible this experience of timelessness, for it is God who is unfolding Himself in a myriad of forms - moment to moment. Understood in this manner, there is nothing that we need to hold onto and there is no need to hold on to anything. Within each moment we can have a significant interaction; each moment can call forth our total engagement.