Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thought proceeds in a line, while the real world does not. Thought is sequential, successive, one-dimensional, while the real world presents itself as a multidimensional, simultaneous pattern of infinite variety. Thought presents us with the convincing illusion that the world is multiple, separate and independent things existing out there.

As everybody knows, you can’t think of even two or three 
things at once without being thrown into confusion, and so, to introduce some measure of coherence and order, the thought process, with the help of memory, strings out all the separate bits of attention along a line which it creates for that very purpose. This line of successive bits of narrowed attention is nothing other than time. In other words, time is nothing more than thought’s successive way of viewing the world. But by habitually viewing everything in this linear, successive fashion, we arrive at the conclusion that everything proceeds in a line. Everything, however, does not proceed in a line - it happens simultaneously - every-where-at-once. The sun is shining, your heart is beating, birds are singing, the kids are playing, your lungs are breathing, the dog is barking, the wind is blowing, crickets are chirping - these phenomena do not proceed one after another nor follow one another in time - they are all happening everywhere at once, no before, no after. Reality does not proceed in a line, it does not proceed in time, it has the whole of its existence simultaneously.

The whole notion of succession, of one 
thing succeeding another thing in time, depends directly upon our process of memory. Memory creates an illusion of the past, and we generate a vivid sense of time and that we are somehow moving through it towards the future. The whole idea of time depends upon the notion that, through memory, we know the actual past. But, strictly speaking, we are never directly aware of a real past at all, we are only aware of a memory-picture of the past, and memory exists only in and as the present.

You are not looking at the real past at all. You are looking at a present trace of the past. From memories you infer that there have been past events, but you know the past only 
in the present and as part of the present.

In remembering any past event, you are never aware of any actual past at all, but only dim pictures of the past, and those pictures exist only as a present experience.

The same holds true for the 
future as well, because any thought of the future is nevertheless a present thought. We know the past and the future only in the present and as part of the present. Thus, the only time we are ever aware of is Now. There is only a Now that includes memories and expectations. It is out of this that we conjure up, out of this present moment, the vast illusion called Time.

When memory is no longer imagined to be a real knowledge of the 
past, but is instead understood to be a present experience, it can been seen that this present moment contains all time and is therefore itself timeless, and that this timeless present is Eternity itself. Eternity exists in its entirety right now. The universe and all things in it are being created Now. God is always creating the world now, this instant, and it is only to creatures of time that the creation presents itself as a series of events, or evolution.

Think of the past - that is a present act; anticipate the future - that is also a present act. Any evidence of a past exists only in the present, and any reason to believe in a future also exists only in the present. When the real past happened, it wasn’t past but present, and when the real future arrives, it won’t be the future, it will be the present. Thus, the only time of which we are ever aware is the present moment, this moment, which contains all time, is itself timeless, which is Eternity. All time is now. Time is a vast illusion. Eternity is not everlasting time but the real, indestructible, timeless present. The present is the only thing that has no end.
~ Ken Wilber, from ‘
The Spectrum of Consciousness’