We may talk a good game about living in the present, but then turn around and face periods of depression, anxiety, uncertainty and disharmony. Hey, who wants to be present with that? So we keep turning away only to find ourselves lost in a maze of unhappy emotions. OK, uncle. Now how do we find our way out?
It’s like this. Imagine we live in a great big house that has one room we don’t use, so it becomes a room for storage. We push a few things into it helter-skelter and if we had to tidy it up at that point, it wouldn’t take too long.
Imagine over time we let things pile up until that room’s filled to the brim. We’re lazy and don’t want to hassle with sorting things and putting them away as we go. Now we’ve got a tougher job on our hands. It’s just like this with the time we have at our disposal.
If we have a problem area and at the first sign of feeling troubled we heed it saying, “Now what am I really feeling? Why am I just a little disturbed?”—rather than packing it away into the storeroom of our unawareness—we will be able to sort out what it’s about in jig time.
But if instead we let it ride, pushing it out of our mind, it will fester underground. Now it starts to create negative patterns and vicious circles that seem to trap us in wicked chain reactions that eat our lunch. These snowball into whole interwoven knots that become very hard to disentangle. The snowball grows, we drop lower down the scale of Big Bad Moods, and it becomes increasingly more difficult to restore things to order.
Now it will take much greater effort to undo the knots of wrong thinking, negative effects and painful interactions that have sent our energy currents into destructive neighborhoods they shouldn’t have gone into. Jeez, what a huge waste of time. This will now take so much work to sort out, we turn the other way and let things pile up some more. Until Pop! goes the weasel.
This, folks, is why we need to learn to make better use of our time, especially when we feel any discomfort or disharmony. And this is also why it is nuts for us to believe bad times are such a hardship. In truth, the only way to safeguard ourselves against further future misery is by letting ourselves get shaken up by our struggles. We can use them to bring out whatever is hidden. In fact, we can only uncover what needs healing by facing all that touches us.
If we heed the little signs, we can do a little shoveling as we go and the messes won’t build up. The problem is we wait—often through one incarnation after another—before we look at ourselves in truth. We’d rather say we’re haunted by bad luck or are the sorry victim of someone else’s malice than look at what we don’t wish to see in ourselves.
Human beings living on Earth are bound by time, which is a creation of the mind. Without our minds, time wouldn’t exist. Beyond this, we live in a dimension where time is a separate element from space and movement. But later in our development, as we reach higher degrees of awareness, our reality will shift, more and more, to where time, space and movement become integrated into one.
To help make this more clear, consider that in our dimension, time and space are two separate factors. If we are located in a certain space, it will take time to move to another space. Movement is the bridge that combines time and space. In the next dimension, where the fragment of time is what we might call “wider,” movement, time and space are one. So if we’re in one space, we only need to have a new thought to be in another space. Movement is not required; the thought is the bridge and it is of a shorter span of time and motion.
Given the material nature of life on Earth, we cannot bridge distance with thought, although our spirit—or psyche—experiences this constantly, even if the brain doesn’t think of it in these terms. Currently, however, the human body is bound by a separation between time and space that can only be bridged by movement.
When material and technical means are invented to leave this dimension, we will have an inkling of what is going on here. Certainly it is a reflection of our overall readiness to grasp higher truth that we have gained our current level of technical astuteness, bringing us closer to this possibility. But that doesn’t mean we will automatically grasp the more profound meaning; that all depends on people’s willingness and capacity to understand.
And if, in spite of our growth, we don’t learn the deeper meaning, our discoveries will stagnate and turn destructive instead of helping humanity gain broader awareness. The litmus test for whether a scientific discovery—or really any influx of knowledge, perhaps in art or philosophy—will be beneficial depends on whether humanity understands cosmic law better after its unfolding than before. If so, it will lead to greater freedoms, faster growth, and more peace and justice.
If we looked at history from this point of view, we would see that every upheaval on planet Earth has resulted from an ignorance about the real meaning of a new broader knowledge. For historians to identify these links, they themselves will need to be undertaking a self-searching process of personal development. Then dots that were previously obscure will start to line up.
Coming back to the topic of time, it’s not quite right to say the next higher dimension is timelessness. There is a spectrum of time-realities we will experience on our way to timelessness. Our current position on this spectrum, as humans, makes it hard to fully grasp this; the best we can do is sense this truth occasionally.
Time is a fragment, cut from a wider, freer cloth of experience. As such, time is very limiting. At the same time, it has the benefit of motivating us to grow and fulfill ourselves, moving us toward the maximum happiness and freedom we can hope for in this dimension. If we work it right, we will reach our potential, and in that case, the limitation of time won’t be a hardship. On the other hand, a person who has a potential to grow but doesn’t use it, will be a more troubled soul than someone who exerts less effort but is working closer to their given potential. This is why we should try to stay off the judging committee.
If we have consciously embarked on a spiritual path of personal development, it is possible that we will still miss the boat from time to time. We’ll gut our way through a rough patch without taking the time to explore what it’s about, just waiting for it to pass on its own. When we overlook our bad moods, we invite depression, anxiety, uncertainty and disharmony to come calling again and again. These are the occasions when we are not using time well and it must become a source of conflict and a burden.
But if we search for the root of our problems, we will unfurl the deeper understanding that leads to liberation. Then our trust in life gets established in firm soil, and our exhilaration in ourselves becomes a more permanent state instead of a periodic one-off. We will organically become, more and more, at one with the element of time.
In the last analysis, we can look at any unwelcome emotion as a result of not using our time wisely in getting to the bottom of inner conflicts and confusions. These include boredom and apathy, frustration and tension, anxiety and hostility, impatience and nervousness, listlessness and depression.
Those who are already fairly far along on their path of self-discovery will know of the influx of joy and strength that comes from unraveling any issue all the way to the origin of the negative emotion. Those who haven’t yet had this experience should know that this could be yours if you are willing to follow the threads of your own inconvenient feelings. We just need to not shirk the effort of looking within, which will lead us to this feeling that we are one with life.
We may be saying, “Remind me, what does any of this have to do with our relationship to time?” Here it is: any negative emotion essentially conflicts with the limited fragment of time we have. Conversely, feelings that are positive, constructive and realistic don’t conflict with time because we’re using time the way it’s supposed to be used. This is good fodder for deep meditation.
Our vague awareness that time is limited creates a special tension in us. Therefore we strain against time like a dog pulls on a leash; it holds us in its grip and we feel strangled by it. In our unconscious minds, we hold a memory of another greater timelessness where we had limitless freedom. But we can only get back there by fully accepting and utilizing the fragments of time we now have.
So we can do it either way: transition into freedom organically with a minimum of conflict, or keep straining against the transition. Said another way, we can face tensions and conflicts head on and find freedom, or we can live with the tension and conflicts created by our avoidance—our improper use of our time—and stay stuck. Our choice.
Why should we believe any of this is true? Fortunately, there is a simple way to test whether any spiritual concept is truthful: does it have any practical application. If we can’t take an idea and test-drive it, what good is it really? So let’s look at this topic of time as it relates to people on a day-to-day basis.
In our everyday reality, we attempt to reach that freer dimension of time by striving toward tomorrow. Sometimes this is obvious just by looking at our surface thoughts; at other times there is just a vague general climate of leash tugging that is hard to pinpoint.
We strive toward the future for mainly two reasons. First, we’re not crazy about the present and we hope the future might offer us something better. Or second, there is some aspect of life we fear and we want to leave it in the past. So we have this fuzzy belief in a happier future coupled with some dissatisfaction or annoyance about the present that causes us to avoid living in the Now.
We’ve got to learn to fully milk each moment for what it can teach us. This is where the rubber meets the road. If we were to explore each difficulty fully, instead of straining away from them, we would be living each moment to the fullest. Plus, it’s only by fully utilizing the fragments of time we are given in this dimension that we can outgrow them. Experiencing everything, then, and not straining away is the way to automatically flow into the next time-dimension.
In this directive to live in the Now, great confusion arises regarding using our time to reflect on the past or to plan for the future. As with everything, there is A) what we do, and B) how we go about it. B is scads more important than A. So we can think about the past in a constructive way to help us understand ourselves and our present problems better, and this will help us resolve them so we are better equipped to live in the Now. Or, if we prefer, we can run in circles and hold onto the past, thinking about it in a destructive way; we can sit around blaming fate or some other shmuck for some unpleasantness in our life; we can just be haters, preoccupied with resenting the past. It’s up to us.
Same for the future. We may, on one hand, take responsibility for our future in a flexible way that doesn’t fixate on it. Or we can hang out forever in some hazy future tense that never quite becomes the Now. Or when it does, the disillusionment is tremendous; this isn’t how we fantasized it would be.
No, it’s not impossible to experience happiness in the Now, but to do so we need to not run from whatever is unwelcome in the present. This could be fear, doubt, self-dislike, resentments or loneliness—whatever it is, it’s all fair game for further exploration. But whenever we’re busy running from what’s disturbing, we can’t be present for whatever might be beautiful in the moment.
For example, let’s say we have a tendency to worry. We think, “My goodness, if I face my worry, I won’t be able to be present in the Now.” So we run from it. Instead we could try saying, “I am worried about thus-and-such, and even though I know it is irrational, this is how I feel. I feel worried in this moment.” Then a relaxation can happen because we are being present with the worry. We will still have the worry, but it will feel less disturbing, which will create some space for possibly understanding the worry and proceeding from there.
Our misunderstanding is that we think we shouldn’t have the worry. In that moment, we are not in reality; we are not present with what actually is. This is the problem—not the worry. We think we must first free ourselves of our problems before we can live in some faraway spiritual land of the Now. It doesn’t work that way. And it never will.
We are mistaken when we believe that living in the Now means we live in a state of bliss and beauty. We want blissfulness when in fact unblissfulness is still in us, but we don’t want to acknowledge it. If we live our unblissfulness though, it will be much less unpleasant—if we really enter into and don’t play evasive games.
We are not separate from Now, unless we separate ourselves. Our Now is what we feel at this moment. Five minutes from now, we might feel something different, so our Now will be different if we are in the dynamic flow of our feelings. The more truthfully we face ourselves, the more real time will be for us. This doesn’t require some special time-travelling ability, we just need to learn to be present with what we think, feel and experience now.
We can start by admitting that we don’t want to face our current unpleasantness, if that is what is present in the moment. Just be fully with that. This isn’t something only spiritually evolved people can do—rather, it’s the doorway to becoming spiritually evolved. No special gifts or stunts are required.
Ironically, since the ability to be in the present is naturally already in us, it is easier to summon the present than to go through our usual elaborate efforts to evade the Now. It’s just that we have trained ourselves—over hundreds and hundreds of Earth-years—to jump out of the present moment. This is actually quite a feat that is a much more difficult procedure than being with what is.
So where do we start? Awareness is always the first step. Once we see that we do indeed struggle away from the Now, we’ll realize that we haven’t yet found the reason why. Our investigation will give us an inkling about it, but we must realize there’s also an opposite side to this conflict: we also fear this future we are striving for, whose hallmarks are death and decay.
So we are simultaneously straining toward the future while we want to stop the movement of time and even go backwards into our youth. Needless to say, the soul suffers from tension when it gets caught in this useless tug-of-war that wastes so much energy.
Fear of death opposes the natural movement of time, which is steady and harmonious. If we can feel into this rhythm, we can come into harmony with it. And even though we may not yet be in the highest state of being, we will be in a state of being which is a match for the dimension of time we are in. Then we just follow the flow. This wave will carry us naturally and gracefully to the next dimension of time—the one we fear so much because we can’t prove it is real.
Our haste, on the one hand, to get into the new dimension, smacks up against our fear of the unknown, sending our soul into opposite directions. The result? Stagnation of growth and more veering away from the fullness of Now.
If we can locate this tugging in diametrically opposing directions, we may be motivated to unearth the nature of it. What particular functions in our life could stand to be improved? If we jot down notes about our inner experiences throughout the day, we’ll start to make recognitions that can lead to reigniting our full spark of aliveness. That the recognitions may be unflattering and disillusioning—maybe even painful—won’t diminish the great experience of dynamic peace that follows. On the contrary, it might prove the truth in these teachings.
If self-confrontation does not, in the end, lead to an uplifting experience, we are not yet at the end. Don’t get impatient or tense, but rather notice that somewhere, somehow, we’re hedging the truth. When this happens, we’re just not wanting to see all there is to see.
Why does it happen that after a painful or unflattering awareness—provided we go all the way to its depths and don’t stop halfway—we experience such a state of aliveness and harmony? It’s because in that moment, we have fully used the fragment of time at our disposal. Whenever we feel listless or depressed, the material is right there in front of us, overlooked; we’re smack dab in the middle of it but we are blind to it. We don’t focus our attention on it—we merely try to get out of this Now without using it. That’s the forward movement that pushes us pell-mell into our fear of death.
So if we want to experience an uninterrupted flow of time that leads into extended dimensions, we have to use each moment as described. Then we’re not talking about concepts we might accept or reject, agree or disagree with. We’ll have our own inner experience of realizing that the present matrix of time is just one fragment of another greater matrix. Glimpsing this will, in itself, bring the knowledge that death is but an illusion; it’s a transition into a different dimension.
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