Time plays a significant, influential and useful role in our lives. Our daily routine is time-based and time-bound. The origin, being and cessation of things, objects, events, thoughts and life systems are time-related. All natural, man-made and man-initiated processes take place according to Time and its Passage. In all disciplines of learning Time has a prominent role to play.
We ‘know’ what Time is. Earth spins around itself and simultaneously revolves round the Sun. Based on these movements, day and night are created and the Passage of Time is experienced and measured by us. We have knowledge of the extent of Passage of Time by referring to watches, clocks, various time-measuring devices, calendars, almanacs etc. The awareness of Time through these measures is only a facet of nature Time and is not comprehensive and complete.
Awareness of nature of Time is varied and is not unique. Like the understanding of Divinity, the understanding about Time is multiple. Time has many forms, structures, natures and has been viewed, defined and understood variedly as movement, change or becoming.
We are all leading stressful personal and professional lives with the associated pulls and pushes straining ourselves; sometimes beyond our ability, capacity and capability. We long for calmness to fill in our minds and we have peace of mind. We pray the Almighty for peace of mind. Some of us who do not believe in God have our own ways of de-stressing ourselves. Thus we, the seekers of peace of mind desire and attempt to know the nature of mind and the way to relax. Some of us take refuge in our Protector. We follow the path of spirituality. We listen to (sravana), meditate on (manana) and convert the insight thus gained by contemplation into experience (nididhyasana) about Almighty or Self.
Almighty and Self are synonyms representing Divinity, our original self. Self can also be taken as the natural or normal or original state of mind. We then can know about the Self and merge our self in a chosen quality of the Self. We can get Self-Realization and dwell in it and with it. As part of this we now try to know and be aware of the nature of time, time-flow as past, present and future, and time-transcendence.
It is known to us through our beloved Srikrishnaparamatma that He is both Time and Time-transcendence. Srikrishna famously said: “Aham kaalah asmi” (I am Time).
To realize the nature of time-transcendence we must know about Time-its nature, structure, form and flow. Time is of two kinds: physical and psychological. Time eternally flows transforming seconds into minutes, minutes into hours, hours into days, days into months, months into years, years into decades, decades into centuries, centuries into millenniums and like that. All this is physical time and its flow. We get tuned to this physical time and happenings in it by attaching ourselves to these happenings with an egoistic mind as I, me and mine.
Our tuning and attachment through the egoistic mind creates another time and time-consciousness in us. This creation takes place in the wakeful conscious state of mind and is experienced in wakeful and dream conscious states of mind. This is called psychological time or time-space. The eternal Self (paramatma) transcends both these physical and psychological times and their flows. Self exists in us as prajnanam (Witness) and makes us be aware of physical and psychological times and their passages. During those phases of awareness, Prajnaam as seer makes us experience the respective experiences. We can not stop the flow of physical time.
The psychological time is experienced by us as past, present and future in different phases or conscious states of mind. It creates time-whirlpool in us and spins us in it. Our mental time and its flow is the series of rising and setting of various phases of mind- wakeful, dream and deep sleep - and the acquiring of knowledge, skills, thoughts, feelings, experiences etc., or cessation of thought process happening during those phases. “I, I am doing, it is mine, it has happened to me, I am hurt, I am happy, I am experiencing, etc.,” thoughts, feelings and experiences exist in our awareness and create in us moods.
When we are learning, knowing, these acquisitions create in us experiences and these will from our memory. These memories will be within us in a long-standing way. These memories of happenings though happened long time back in view of physical time flow or passage, get stirred and activated in the present causing happiness or unhappiness respectively. According to these we will get anger, lust, jealousy, arrogance etc,. We get thoughts and feelings accordingly and we will be disturbed in the present. Thus the remembrances and thoughts about past happenings and their impression on us form our psychological past. Because we do not have enough mental strength we can not come out of this past which is just psychological and torture ourselves and live mentally in the past only.
Future disturbs us equally as our past. We fear, become anxious and wildly or romantically imagine about future happenings based on what has happened to us in the past, what we know and experienced. Thus the future which we feel will happen to us, is our mere thoughts in the present as imaginations, doubts, fears or anxieties. Thus when we carefully observe we become aware that both our past and future are our thoughts in the present. If somehow we can manage to arrest these unpleasant thoughts we will easily come out of this vicious circle of yesterday and tomorrow and live in the present.
We need to submit ourselves before Divinity by thought, word and deed. We then offer our self-consciousness and ego to the Lord and submerge our selves in Him. When we do like this, we will avoid the thoughts relating to I, me and mine. These thoughts not only stop but will permanently cease to arise in us. This cessation of thoughts forms is time-or mind-transcendence. By God’s Grace we can transcend the psychological time-flow which exists in us in the form of thought-flow. Mind becomes calm and peaceful when we shed our ego and fill it with the insight about Divinity. Then we can live attributing every thing and happening to God’s will and take everything with equanimity in our stride. Then we have more pleasantness and mind acquires strength to face life.
We will tackle all problems with courage and calmness. We will be rid of thoughts about past or future. We live peacefully and blissfully not getting reminded of ego transcending time. We live in the present. We live in tranquility.