One of the greatest illusions of the mind is the concept of linear time.
Before elaborating on the concept of linear time, it’s important to understand what an illusion is in this context.
An illusion is and understanding or a perception that is not real or true. You may think that that’s obvious since Google’s definition of an illusion is “an instance of a wrong or misinterpreted perception of a sensory experience” but most people think of an illusion in terms of something visual, in this context it’s about perceiving something intangible like time.
Linear time (from the word line) refers to the way we perceive time where the future is “forward” and the past is “backwards”. In order to “go” forward we need to imagine and in order to “go” backwards, we need to remember. We even use these concepts in our speech when we say things like “I’m looking forward to seeing you again” or “when I look back at my life…”, having unconsciously integrated into our verbal communication the words “forward” and “back” as synonymous in perception for the words “future” and “past” respectively.
It’s an illusion because the past and the future don’t really exist in the physical world. They are constructs of human perception. Can you take someone and show them the past or the future? You can’t because the past and future only exist in our minds. We rely on and take for granted people’s common faculties of remembering the past and imagining the future.
All we are ever truly experiencing is a progressive and perpetual continuum of “right now”. Yes, the “right now” that happened 2 minutes ago is still fresh in your memory. But that’s the only place it is. All there is, was and will ever really and truly be is a progressive and perpetual continuum of “right now”. This is why you may be an adult well in to your 50’s and yet sometimes (or maybe often) you still feel like a child.
And this is not new. Many books have been written on the subject of “being present”. Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” is a classic example.
Why do you think that is?
Why do people buy books and attend courses on how to be present?
It’s because of the illusion of linear time. Linear time keeps most people either in the future or in the past. The future is either thought of with fear or excitement and the past is thought of with either regret or pride. Whatever the case, both keep us away from the present moment.
Why is being present so important? What’s so fantastic about the present moment?
Each time category (past, present and future) carries emotions with them.
Feelings like grief, anger, regret, guilt, shame and pride can ONLY be experienced IF the mind is remembering something from the past.
Feelings like anxiety, fear, nervousness and excitement can ONLY be experienced IF the mind is imagining something in the future.
Feelings like joy, love, gratitude and peace can ONLY be experienced IF the mind is focused in the present moment.
That means that if your mind is not in the present moment, you will not feel these wonderful feelings. What’s keeping you away from being present is being caught up in the past or the future events of your life and for a lot of people this is a very real problem.
Think about how many people are on anti-depressants (past) and anti-anxiety (future) medication. They are so caught up in what could have been or how things should be that the disappointment often results in depression. Once in a state of depression (past), anxiety (future) is often not far away.
The practice of being present is meditation. The reason that meditation is so important to your state of being is because when we meditate, we simply (not so easily though at first) quieten the mind by not engaging in thoughts as thinking is the conscious mind’s activity. As easy as that may sound (and it is after a couple of times) initially it’s difficult since the mind engages with thought instinctively. Once the mind is still, the soul, the spirit, the place where our truth lies, finally has a platform to be “heard” or felt. Only in the present moment.
It’s because the internal dialogue (ego) and the internal, eternal silence both “occupy” the same space (or so it would seem) in our heads. So by merely quietening the one, the other is able to come forth. This is why people get answers to their questions as well as find peace through meditation. The significance of a state of peace from a vibrational perspective is possibly the most underrated state of being. It is the ultimate vibration and thus the ultimate state. Every human being wants one thing in the end, to die in peace. The illusion there is that we need fill our lives with achievements in order to have that peace. We need to do that for fulfilment and we should all strive for fulfilment. But peace is available at any given present moment.
Can you wake up from the illusion of linear time and find your peace in the present moment?
You can. Right now.
Just be ok with everything. Imagine you are going to die in one minute and all you can do right now, is just be ok with everything in your life. All the people you owe an apology to and all the people you think owe you an apology, all the people that owe you things and all the people who you owe things to, all the things you were going to do and never did. None of it is going to happen and all you need to do right now, is let go of everything so that you can meet your maker in peace.
Try it. Close your eyes and try it.