In part one of this series I showed how science has defined and understood time and the implications of that. In part two I showed how systems of faith have been defining and have understood time in a very similar fashion to science, and the implications of that. Today, in our conclusion, I will explore what a timeless existence means for each of us and some ways we may begin the process of widening our boundaries of feasibility once our juxtaposition to time is accurately appraised.
If the conclusions of both science and faith are true, then some measure of timelessness must be attributed to our human experience. From a purely scientific standpoint, “timeless energy” is the bare minimum conclusion that each person is essentially a bundle of trillions of energy atoms, whose energy existed before us and whose energy will continue after us in one form or another. Any quantum discovery, though cloaked in science, is ultimately ontological and spiritual (non-empirical).
In systems of faith, the energy, or light goes deeper. It possesses a consciousness, from which we draw our own consciousness. A consciousness, like a mind, makes decisions, possesses design, intention, and power to perfectly fulfill such intentions. This consciousness in one sense is unknowable, but in another sense is knowable and somehow in relationship with humanity, and is said to “dwell” within, imbue with power, life, spirit/breath, and share intention with us. From this energy we all come, and back to it we all go as the narratives all tell us.
Seeing is the first step in reworking our locus within time. Jesus and many other spiritual teachers talk a lot about seeing as qualitatively different means of perceive the world. For example:
“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5)
The word “diablepheis” literally means to “through look” or as we might say, to “see through” as a way of seeing clearly. It’s pointing us to perceiving more than the act of seeing. This kind of seeing is possible even for blind people. This is a prominent teaching is the scripture and used constantly in discussions about how a person is to perceive or “see” the Kingdom of God.
I add this layer of biblical reference because we must use the same sort of “sight” when talking about time and experimenting with it. Relocating oneself in time, or in timelessness, or in another time is essentially a byproduct of perceiving the kingdom. If we can accept that there is a timeless aspect of our human experience, to the same degree we become able to join, and rejoin the timeless moment which contains all moments. If the timeless part of our human experience is actually the most lasting and therefore the most REAL part, then who can say that a punctuated moment or experience within this timelessness is somehow not real, or made up in one’s imagination, or just a daydream of some kind? Let’s not forget, as I showed last week, that dreaming is an experience with timeless reality as evidenced by our need to re-orient back within time upon waking.
Punctuated Time Travel?
Describe an event from your past. Start to piece together the details from memory. The first thing you’ll realize is that you don’t remember everything, in fact we only remember small bits of all the information we took in at the moment. See yourself as a visitor to that moment, or become conscious of the thought, recognizing you are not the thought but the seer of it. Some events leave an imprint and we can still feel them. What we felt then was more profound, but we still feel it now. How is that possible? Is memory powerful? Or is memory simply the timeless aspect of our humanity that still remains within the eternal moment? If this “visitation” is described as in the present moment, then is the description depicting right now or the now back then? And how do we discern them if the timeless reality is the more real reality? If you would have had consciousness of that moment to focus on the “now” as it happened, it would only have been exprienced as now in all senses. As you revisit the now with this consciousness, the experience is still only “now” but apart from most of our senses, like seeing. But as I’ve shown, perceiving is by far superior to mere seeing. It may take a minute to sort this out, but remember it can only be done in a non-linear, timeless sphere of being. Otherwise, it will be categorized as a daydream.
Revisiting an event of our past experience is only the beginning. Both future and past events that we did not experience are also possible in the timeless now. Again, this isn’t me being weird, it is merely the implication of what science and faith have been saying for centuries. It may feel weird or odd at first because we have been so stuck within linear time, we’ve never considered other realities. Below are four examples of living within or from the timeless aspect of our humanity:
- Meditation and Prayer. If this wasn’t obvious, then perhaps you need to go deeper with your spiritual practice. The experience itself is designed to free our minds unto a joining or rejoining of the eternal moment, or what many call divine union.
- Communication with the dead. At first this seems shocking and may be something people of both faith and science do not believe is possible. Hebrew scripture depicts king Saul using a medium to summon Samuel from the dead (1 Samuel 28:15). However, in a more broad sense, a person who dies cannot be forgotten from God’s perfect wisdom and since that is the place from which all people come, it is the place to which all people go. Thus any communication with God, must also necessarily include those who have been and always will be eternally present with God. There is a distinction between God and all people, but there is not complete separation.
- Nostalgia. As I alluded to this earlier, some nostalgia goes beyond memory and allows a punctuated experience of the now, even if that now is in the past or future. This is not totally encompassing, but possesses enough “nowness” to experience something in addition to what is in our immediate presence.
- Daydreaming. For many of you, this is precisely the type of experience which invalidates any claim for timeless experience. This will be hard to see so long we remain locked within empiricism as the only means of reality. Let me try an stretch the boundaries here a bit. Suppose you are on a road trip and you are awake and driving down the road. A few hours into the drive your mind begins to drift into a “daydream” whereby you are revisiting the past or imagining the world in the future somehow better than it presently is. Perhaps you are envisioning a project for the house, a new business or ministry, maybe you are imagining an upcoming performance, speech, or event. Something within this daydream or idea pulls you deeper into it and you begin to experience an emotion which is associated with it. Maybe it’s excitement, melancholy, anger, or anxiety. You regain your attention to your drive and realize, a considerable amount of time has gone. You don’t even remember driving. Were you “spaced out” or were you in another time or place?
In all these experiences, someone could observe us having these experiences and even measure us with a clock. Doing so would seem to prove we went no where, or did nothing, but that we were simply here all along. This is true only as far as it goes. We are only locked in time so long as our bodies are living as objects in the world. However, our being, our mind, our soul, while not mutually exclusive to our bodies, our essence is neither coextensive. That part that doesn’t exactly overlap with our physicality, the being which a surgeon could not remove and put in a jar, is in fact timeless and strives to live, as far as it can, in a timeless way. Thus these everyday experiences, while common, are not insignificant. Rather these punctuations of our timelessness are echoes of our true ontology reverberating off the architecture of our physicality and creatureliness. If you will at least concede this point, then this will serve as a huge gateway of discovery and awe.
In the end, the very end, death is our final bow to linear time, after which our timeless being our soul is reunited but not lost in the timeless eternal present or Presence. The promise of the resurrection claims we will regain a “perfected” body which is fitting for an eternal life and completely redeemed world. Therefore it seems to me, that those who struggle to differentiate from their corporeality within this exploration, are those who should most earnestly pursue the promise of the resurrection and explore how such a thing is possible. It’s amazing to discover that the two aspects of physicality and spirituality have been coexisting in things we deem as normal all along.
This is a grace not to be missed. For it reveals that while so many of us go through life skimming over the obvious depth or reality right before us, it also ensures none of us can go through life with any certainty that God cannot exist.