In traditional spiritual models, time is often regarded as a villain, the primary nemesis of students of awakening. And indeed it has been correctly emphasized by teachers—both historical and contemporary—that the doorway into sacred Now cannot be unlocked in either the past or future. It is surely obvious that in order to achieve an awareness of the present, one must necessarily be focused on the present. Also, even in simplest human terms, many people come to view time primarily to represent the inevitable movement of life toward atrophy and the dissolution of death. From either of these views, the temporal progression can hardly be regarded as a friend.
One vital aspect of the spiritual journey, however, involves the reinterpretation of all things that have been perceived by the student in a negative light into a positive experience. In a sense, awakening is not the rising up into Nirvana, but the translation of earth into Heaven, or perception into Reality. In the world of perception and time, the Reality of all things is buried beneath the perceiver’s personal evaluation. In this way we are actually blinded to Reality by our own judgment, which seeks to divide everything we see into one of two categories—“good” or “bad.”
In Truth, all things are actually neutral. We make them seem good or bad depending on our view of them. It is therefore not the things of the world that need changing in order for Nirvana to be achieved, but our evaluation of those things. This includes the passage of time.
I would like to offer you a new vision of time that has the power to transform it from your enemy into a friend. This new interpretation includes two parts:
- Time does not bring death. In order to understand how time can be viewed as beneficent, it is necessary to experience yourself as you really are. What you are in Truth does not age. Your true Self is deathless. It cannot be attacked, injured, or changed in any way, by any force—including time. When you identify with It, you will realize that time is harmless.
- Time is like a river that flows through you, continuously cleansing you and removing all of your past mistakes, along with everything you have judged to be harmful, valueless, painful, or negative in any way. Time will sweep all this debris away and into the oblivion of the past, where it will disappear into nothingness so long as you do not choose to cling to its reflection in the mirror of your mind. All of your mistakes and pain no longer exist. The flow of time has removed them all, and made you free of them now.
Be thankful for time, then, for it can as easily be a friend as a foe. Only your decision holds the power to determine which it is for you. Choose with wisdom.