Friday, May 23, 2008

Time Doesn't Exist

It is somewhat ironic that I of all people write about time. Pretty much all my life I have been persecuted by time, or the lack thereof. I rarely have nightmares, but if I do, it is always the same recurring theme: I study for an exam and there is not enough time to prepare for it and the clock is ticking. Given this backdrop, you can imagine how attracted I am to the often quoted insight that spirituality can supposedly transcend time.

Somehow I associate timing with Taoism. Whatever you do - if you are in the zone - everything falls exactly into place at the time when it is supposed to happen. You just float and let a higher authority take care of things. For some time now I have tried practising this philosophy and I really enjoy it. When things are flowing, you are constantly reminded of the beautiful higher force at work. When they are not, awareness kicks in and you search for the missing link. Recently my watch broke and I didn't bother to replace it. I just took it as a sign to stop with my time obsession once and for all.

God lives in the Now and when it comes to Him, all measures of time and logic just break down. Vivekanand told a story that drives this point home beautifully. The great sage Narada met a man in meditation who had been in this position for so long that ants had built a hill around him. He wanted to know from Narada when he would achieve enlightenment. Further down the road he met another man who was singing and dancing naked around a tree with the same question. When Narada came back from his journey he told the first man that in just four more births he would be liberated. The man was visibly shaken - That long, he exclaimed. When Narada met the second man he told him that in as as many lifetimes as there are leaves on the tree he was dancing around he would be liberated. The man danced even more furiously, I shall have feedom in such a short time! A voice came, My son, you will have freedom this instant.

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