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Monday 13 January 2014

The Illusion of Time

One of the big puzzles in life is the illusion of time. Everyone accepts that there is a past, present and future. 

We constantly look to the 'future' to provide for us all the things that are not in our present, or NOW. However the more we work at being present, the more obvious it is that any future is just an illusion.

The reality is that we experience a succession of "NOWs". A good analogy is that of a film going through a projector. Each static picture changes slightly but the changes take place smoothly and minutely on the screen of NOW so that we only see a continuous, but moving, picture. We cannot alter the past.

The Persian poet, Omar Khayyam, expressed this beautifully in his Rubaiyat: "The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it" The one thing that you can do regarding the past is to change your relationship to it. Once again, you can only do this in the NOW. Rather than carry the burdens of past mistakes or hurts, it is not only possible, but highly recommended to come to terms with whatever is affecting you and preventing you from having the calm enjoyment of your life in the NOW. 'Coming to terms' with the past simply means to either deal with it, or accept it, as Eckhart Tolle tells us in The Power of Now.

The big deception is that change will happen in the future. Let me ask you; have you ever done something in the future? I thought not. Yet this thinking is how most of us run our lives. So just what is it that prevents us from living in the present? In order to control us, our ego must keep us either in the past or the future. Or distract us by seeking to 'protect' us from whatever it perceives as danger, or divert our attention from the present by means of entertainment, curiosity, comparisons, opinions etc., etc.

Have you noticed that the daily news is almost always BAD NEWS? The ego is heavily invested into BAD NEWS. The present has no place for the ego. The ego has no place (or power) in the present. Because the ego has such a strong, and commanding influence over our lives and everything we do, we have to really struggle to maintain presence - at least at the beginning. As Lester Levenson tells us, our main task is to drop the ego. The act of Releasing is to become present to whatever problems trouble us. By becoming present to them, we lose our fear of them and are then able to deal with them, or accept them.

Either way we have found inner peace. The mathematical genius and philosopher, Albert Einstein, said "Time is an illusion". But in truth it's only an illusion to those with a degree of presence. To all others it is just 'business as usual'. With presence, we are still tied in to the illusion, but are aware of the illusion. That is the difference. And for a little light-heartedness: Douglas Adams of The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy said: "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly".

Gerry Davis-Rice

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