This article originally appeared on the InfinityAffinity.org web site in 1998.
We perceive time
according to the completeness
of our own presence.
The level of Being of a man attracts his life,
and history repeats itself because we remain on the same level of being.
Living Time, Maurice Nicoll
I am going to make a bold statement: Our perception of time is what limits us from moving gracefully into the next phase of human evolution…and it always has. But now we are about to experience a quantum shift in human evolution that will catapult us from being Homo Sapiens to Homo Universalis…a universal species. These have been called the "end times," often misunderstood as the end of the world, Armageddon. Actually, it is just the end of the perception of time as a limiting feature of our collective reality. Really, friends, it is about time!
As a species we have arrived at the point where time is now resolved to the most miniscule increment, so miniscule that it literally disappears from reality at the most fundamental level of our physical being. However, time as we've known it is a very efficient way of keeping track of the many details of our lives. In this sense it is indispensable. In another sense it represents our greatest perceptual challenge. This other sense is our ever-expanding view of who we are and how we fit into the grand scheme of things.
Why is time an evolutionary limit? Simply because it is an illusion. Time is like a magic trick that we’ve been playing on ourselves, only we forgot that we’ve been playing. We’ve become so enthralled with the illusion that we’ve forgotten that there’s something real behind the charade. But before I explain what the reality is behind the illusion, let me make sure you understand that time doesn’t really have a substantive reality like you think it does.
Your body is made of cells, and your cells are made of molecules, and these are made of atomic particles that that are comprised of things don’t seem to behave like they should in a world governed by the laws of time and space. In fact, at the most fundamental level of your being, time and space don’t even exist. Did you catch that? You are made of an essence that is devoid of time and space. How do we gain a "reality" of time and space when our essence is devoid of it? The answer is, of course, that time and space don’t have a reality apart from our perception that they do, and the reality that they take on, is commensurate with our perception of them.
Prove me wrong with time: touch the past; don’t bother trying to touch many years ago, just try to put your finger on five seconds ago. Or try touching five seconds in the future. Now don't get clever and touch a fossil; this is not touching the past, it is touching a grouping of energetic molecular interactions now.
Time, as we’ve been taught to experience it, stretches from the distant past - twenty billion or so years ago when it allegedly came into existence with the Big Bang - to some unfathomable period in the future. We, now, somehow stand poised in the middle of this great expanse and look over our shoulder at things that have been, and off into the distance to contemplate what might be. This sense of time as existing along some sort of linear continuum is incomplete. And while a different understanding of time may not appear immediately relevant, I assure you that it will impact your life in the most profound ways, from the experience of health and wholeness to abundance to active co-creation along exciting evolutionary pathways.
What stops us from realizing time’s true nature has to do with how our brains work. Our conscious minds work quite efficiently by comparing and indexing things in very linear ways. For example, if I were to show you an apple, then an orange, then a mango, you would only recognize them as an apple, orange or mango if you had already seen and identified them, i.e. by comparison with a previous experience, a memory. Further, you would remember the order of the experience of this show and tell because your brain would record the sequence in which I showed you the fruit. These are apparently separate experiences, and your brain puts them into a linear sequence based on a presumption of an arrow of time, from past to future. Along this arrow of time, the apple appeared first (in time), the orange later, then the mango. It might be pretty hard to refute this observation; however, it is your brain that is comparing and sequencing these experiences, the reality is that they all exist now, not in a linear progression in the past.
Time is our way of experiencing things separately, instead of all at once; and in this respect it is quite valuable.
It is the linear processing tendencies of the human brain that limits one from understanding the true, fuller dynamic that time represents. Regardless of how multidimensional and dynamic our lives really are, our brains are constantly trying to fit things into nice neat little card-files, where one is always followed by two, which is followed by three, and so on. While this linear mental processing is quite valuable in many instances, you must leave this kind of thinking behind if you want to enter a new sphere of higher being where time is yet another feature of our multidimensional Self, awaiting to be explored as a new frontier.
One of the greatest justifications for a more mature perception of time is that relegating things to the imaginary land of the past or future deprives us of rich, multidimensional experiences of our own greater being. For example, it is thought that the universe appeared out of nothing 15 to 20 billion years ago. As preposterous as this sounds, it is quite a common belief in cosmology. But if the essence that makes up human bodies, rocks, grass and stars is devoid of the qualities of time and space, how can the universe have had its origin in the "past"? We are looking in the wrong place for our celestial beginnings and we are missing some mighty powerful insights and adventures by forcing our universe into the narrow confines of our perception.
If the doors of perception were cleansed,
everything would appear as it is, infinite.
The illusion of time can also have very personal implications. Having a loved one pass on can feel like an enormous loss, or it can feel like a new relationship with that same person, depending on your perspective of time. You feel it as loss when you think of that person as dying in the "past." You’ll never know of the relationship that you could have with that loved one now if you don’t expand your view and relinquish the linear-thinking stranglehold that you have on reality. By "loosing" this person to the "past," you confine your reality to a narrow strip of consciousness that denies your own fullness of being and the experience now of that person in a new way.
Another common denial perpetrated by time’s illusion relates to childhood trauma. We struggle with emotional scars from old wounds and distance ourselves from healing by placing these traumas in an imaginary past that can’t be touched. That child in us still lives now, and is patiently waiting for us to wake up to this fact. When our slumber is over, we’ll find that all healing is simply the removal of the imaginary separation from our own full being, and that separation is in "time." Looking "back" only causes more scar tissue to armor our hearts because we remain hurt over a "past" that we cannot touch or remedy.
Have you ever wondered why we don’t have eyes in the back of our heads? Why are they only in the front? It is the universe’s way of inviting us to join it in seeking new experiences. It says, "Don’t look back, we’ve been there, done that. That’s old news, just look forward to the exciting new possibilities that are before us now. Join me in a new relationship with the vast energies swirling and congealing in the ever-present now." This cosmic invitation brings us to what time really is. The reality behind time is relationship.
We live in a relativistic universe, which Einstein’s Theory of Relativity so eloquently describes. The sense of relationship is to us like water is to fish. As the material universe precipitates from the Cosmic Mind, it flows from an undifferentiated, infinite field of possibilities, to (apparently) finite actualities embedded in the fabric of the Mind’s substance. Quantum physics calls this fabric "space-time."
In order for something that is infinite to experience itself as something other than infinitude it must, of necessity, create imaginary finite boundaries. We call these boundaries imaginary, even though they seem very real to us, because they are imaginary to the Infinite Mind that created them; the Infinitude remains undivided. Infinity can’t be split up; divide infinity by two and you still have infinity. Divide it by six billion, as is being done on Earth now, and you still have infinity as a whole and infinity represented in the six billion human beings; this is the holographic model of reality. These imaginary boundaries allow one aspect of Infinitude to experience other aspects of its own Infinitude; this is relationship at the macrocosmic level, and it is this self-same relationship that applies across all levels of being.
This leads us to a definition of time and space that is most wholesome and serves as a great foundation for the next stage of human evolution. Guy Merchie in The Seven Mysteries of Life defines time as the relationship of things to themselves, and space as the relationship of things to other things. A few "seconds" have passed since you started reading this paragraph; the relationship of you then to you now, is the relationship of your self to your self (things to themselves), and we call this "time." Relationship is the reality, the word "time" is a concept or a measure that points to or attempts to measure the reality. The fact that we conveniently divide that rich, dynamic interplay of cosmic energies into neat little increments called seconds does not make our reality incremental - spread across "time" - except as our thinking makes it so.
Similarly, the relationship between you and your neighbor - things to other things - is what we call space. Of course, all these relationships are being experienced in an undivided whole, a unity; therefore, "space" cannot be experienced separate from "time." We only talk about them separately for the sake of description. As Carlos Castaneda says in Tales of Power,
The world does not yield to us directly:
the description of the world stands in between.
We can take these new definitions with us when we explore our evolution. The vastness of "time," from the beginning of the universe, the Big Bang, until now is only a measure of our separation in consciousness from our Creative Source. It is a measure of the relationship between the self and the Self, and the arrow of time does not point out to some unknown, foreboding future, but to the brilliant core of our inmost Being.
We can experience personal evolution as the relationship of our lower selves to our higher selves. This is the perennial unfolding of that which is infinitely enfolded by our divine nature, as explained by renowned physicist, David Bohm, in his Implicate Order Theory. Our current self always has a higher nature, as hardly a few moments can go by without us becoming a few moments wiser by experience. This unfolding process is a rich interplay of cosmic energies that far exceed the boundaries of our physical bodies. Sadly, we have squeezed this rich dynamic into a concept called space-time, and consequently limited our own evolution by whatever perceptual barriers are popular for the day. But no more!
Now we can transcend the imaginary limits of time and space and return to wholesome experiences of Life dancing through us. We are not dancers in Life; we are being danced! We can fully awaken to the fact that our reality is infinitely moldable to the consciousness with which we animate it; therefore, we no longer limit ourselves to immature, narrow images of our self and our relationship with the universe. As Emerson once remarked:
Our purpose in life
is to have a unique relationship
with the universe.
We can view our species’ evolution as yet another level of the lower self relating to a higher version of its own self. Ultimately we must allow "time" to just be a convenient way of measuring things in our world, but we must remember that the measurement is not the thing. We stop making silly statements like "I don’t have enough time." This would be like a contractor showing up at a construction site and sending his carpenters home because there aren’t enough inches! Time is a measure, not the reality. We live with such nonsense because we are mesmerized by the report of our senses and we fail to examine forgotten conclusions and worn out presumptions. We perceive these tiny slivers of reality and make them objective facts that serve to imprison us. We are our own wardens, our own shackles and our own prisons. Don’t you think it’s about time to change our minds about things?
Really, isn’t it about time?
Contracting our infinite sense we behold multitude;
expanding it, we behold One.