Is Time For Real?

 "Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is." - Eckhart Tolle, Author and Spiritual Teacher

"Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is."
- Eckhart Tolle, Author and Spiritual Teacher

 

Understanding time

If an alien client landed on your doorstep, how would you explain the concept of time? Would you show the alien your time toys?   Bring out a watch, calendar or sundial? It is seemingly easy to use physical objects to describe time.

No one would argue that humans have developed ingenious ways to measure and track time. But there is more to time than numbers on a dial. Time has wrapped itself around our senses, imaginations and emotions. It's as if we ask ourselves: If I were not standing in this certain place at that certain time, would the ending be different?  Is time on our side or running away from us?

Over millennia time has been a source of universal confusion and debate. Westerners view time as logical and fixed. Our perspective centers it around money and single tasks. In cultures such as Italy, Spain and Arab countries, time focuses on supporting relationships. In the Asian East, time is cyclical like the seasons of life and nature.

And what about the idea of past, present and future dimensions? If cultures can’t agree on a common definition of time - and humans can’t figure out whether or not it’s multidimensional - why is time so important?  

Albert Einstein concluded that past, present and future exist simultaneously.  Why? Because he saw the plain truth: Time is relative. Time cannot be separated. Great spiritual teachers such as Jesus and Buddha also believed that time is an illusion. They wholly understood the way of the ego, and its insistence to create a fear-based reality on earth.

Think about it. Most of us live and die by a schedule. At the beginning of the day we feel overwhelmed by who or what takes up our time. At the end of the day we feel like failures if we didn’t get everything done. Time establishes obligations, identities and realities which cause more suffering than celebration. Do we spend more time cherishing people and sunsets or agendas? Do we walk with regrets about the past? Do we invest in the future believing we have plenty of time? Why is it more socially acceptable in our culture to be busy rather than calm? 

A Spiritual Understanding

If time is illusion, what then is real? Spiritual teachings offer two great lessons to help us walk away from time and into flow:

Now is a state of being.

Throughout our lives we hear sayings such as: “She’s running from her past.” “He’s in a race against time.” “Time is standing still.” The spiritual practice of life is based on maximum doses of enrichment, inspiration and creativity. Are we capable of knowing when we’re in such a state? Of course! We can either use our imaginations to take us there or have an actual experience of bliss like watching a sunrise, receiving kindness and being held with love. 

If you reflect on moments which generated a full heart, a clear mind and lighter spirit we instantly feel better. Why? Because we were living in the present. Time cannot occupy the same space as peace, love and joy. Peace, love and joy shift us out of time and into a place of blessings.

Eternity means forever.

In eternity we remain in the constant presence of the present moment. Nothing holds us back and nothing lies before us. Without the disruptions and distractions of time we are free. Eternity loosens the bonds of control and attachment to what our egos deem as relevant. 

An eternity mindset also lets go of one of the scariest human experiences: change. When we live in flow we allow change to happen without over-analyzing every angle and every solution. Instead of viewing change as a big monster - how about embracing change as a sacred teacher? It is up to us to decide whether change is temporary (a spiritual mindset) or go with the temptation of attaching ourselves to it with our thoughts and senses (ego mindset). 

Exercise

What is your mindset these days - is it time-driven or flowing? Check off which statements apply most to you. If the majority of your answers are in the time mindset imagine ways to move into flow.

Time

Time is about structure, focus and pressure.               
Believing in time limits me.       
Time ages me.                          
Time judges my every move.  
Time sets me up for failure.    
Time dictates my life.           

Flow

Flow is about accepting my life as it unfolds.
Believing in flow expands my spirit.
Flow inspires timelessness.
Flow empowers me.
Flow sets me  us up for miracles.
Flow celebrates life.