Unattainable Time, Persistence of Illusion

Unattainable Time

“Time is illusive, that is unattainable. If we try to take hold of it by looking at it from the outside, then we cannot even have ordinary refreshments1. When time is caught objectively in a serialization of past, present, and future, it is like trying to catch one’s own shadow. This is negating eternity constantly. The unatainable must be grasped from the inside. One has to live in it and with it. While moving and changing one must become the moving and changing. Emerson in

Brahma, sings of the eternal as ‘one’ in the changing and moving forms of time:

‘They reckon ill who leave me out: When me they fly. I am the wings; I am the doubter and the doubt. And I the hymn the Brahman sings.’

“Where the doubter and the doubt are one, there is Brahma as ‘the pattern of the eternal nature,’ which is God Himself. When the doubter and the doubt are separated and placed in the serialism of time, the dichotomy cuts into every moment of life darkening forever the light of eternity.

“’Living in the light of eternity’ is to get into the oneness and allness of things and to live with it.This is what the Japanese call ‘seeing things sona-mama‘, in their suchness, which in William Blake’s terma is to ‘hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.’” ~Daisetz Suzuki

Time is Illusive

Most of us take it for granted that time can be conveniently divided into past, present, and future. But when you try to get into detail, things get illusive. Specifically, when you try to define “the present”. I remember reading recently that according to one person, the “present” can be defined as a period of a few seconds. That is because it takes a few seconds after something occurs for our eyes to see it, transmit the images to the brain, get them interpreted, and react. But that seems to limit the definition of the present to human response. What about a computer that can execute thousands of commands in a second? If it just finished executing an instruction, doesn’t that instruction now become the past? In any case, my point is this. As technology has improved we can cut time into smaller and smaller pieces. This is resulting in what is called the present to get shorter and shorter. In addition, it is true that we are not aware of a thing until a second or two after it happens. So we can’t know anything about the present, only the recent past. So the idea of living in the present only is technically impossible. At best, we must live in the recent past. Continue reading “Unattainable Time, Persistence of Illusion”


Eternity is More than Negation of Time

“Eternity may be regarded as a negation as far as human finitude is concerned, but inasmuch as this finitude is always changing, becoming, that is, negating itself, what is really negative is the world itself and not the eternal. The eternal must be an absolute affirmation which our limited human understanding defines in negative terms. We must see the world in this affirmation, which is God’s way of seeing the world, seeing everything as part of the whole. ‘Living in the light of eternity’ cannot be anthing else.

“B. Jowett, translator of Plato, writed in his introduction to Timaeus: ‘Not only Buddhism, but Greek as well as Christian philosophy, shows that it is quite possible that the human mind should retain an enthusiasm for mere negations. … Eternity or the eternal is not merely the unlimited in time but the truest of all being, the most real of all realities, the moat certain of all knowledge, which we nevertheless only see through a glass darkly.’ The enthusiasm Jowett here refers to is not ‘for mere negations’. … What appears to be a mere negation from the logical point of view is really the is-ness of things.” ~D. T. Suzuki

Eternity as Negation

Why does Suzuki say that Eternity is a negation? That is because people who are used to think in terms of time see eternity as an infinite or unlimited amount of time. So in that sense, it is a negation of the limits of time. But that is only how it appears to those of us trapped in the illusion of time and space. In truth, eternity is not really a negation of time, but the status of a place where time does not and never has existed. That may sound like a negation of time, but it really is saying that eternity is reality, whereas the limits of time are the illusion, therefore it is time which is truly negative, not eternity. Continue reading “Eternity is More than Negation of Time”

innumerable atoms

Innumerable Atoms Whirling and Dancing

“’The red brick,’ says Science, ‘is a mere convention. In reality, that bit, like all other bits of the universe, consists, so far as I know at present, of innumerable atoms whirling and dancing one about the other. It is no more solid than a snowstorm. Were you to eat of Alice-in-Wonderland’s mushroom, and shrink to the dimensions of the infra-world, each atom with its electrons might seem to you a solar system and the red brick itself a universe. Moreover, these atoms themselves elude me as I try to grasp them. They are only manifestations of something else. Could I track matter to its lair, I might conceivable discover that it has no extension, and become an idealist in spite of myself. As for redness, as you call it, that is a question of the relstionship between your optic nerve and the light waves which it is unable to absorb. This evening, when the sun slopes, your brick will probably be purple, a very little deviation from normal vision on your part would make it green. Even the sense that the object of perception is outside yourself may be fancy; since you can as easily attribute this external quality to images seen in dreams, and to waking hallucinations, as you do to those objects which, as you absurdly say, are really there.’

“Further, there is no trustworthy standard by which we can separate the ‘real’ from the ‘unreal’ aspects of phenomena. Such standards as exist are conventional and correspond to convenience, not to truth.” ~Evelyn Underhill

Red Brick

It is surprising that Evelyn Underhill wrote this about 100 years ago. She shows an understanding of the realm of matter that rivals the best Quantum Physicists of today. But that is true of many great spiritual teachers and prophets. They often saw a reality that was hidden to material science, and still do in some cases.

So first off, she is telling us that the apparently hard-as-rock and totally solid brick is nothing of the sort. It is revealed to be mostly empty space when sufficiently magnified. And this wad when the smallest particles known were atoms. But now we can even look into the atom and see the subatomic particles from which it is constructed. And when it is magnified sufficiently to do that, it is revealed that the greatest part of the atom is empty space. The electrons and the nucleus of the atom make us far less than one percent of the total size of the complete atom. But it probably isn’t completely true to say that what is between those particles is “empty space”. It is more accurate to say they are areas devoid of matter. They are, however, holding great amounts of energy, as we know from atomic bombs which are created by freeing that energy in the atoms.

Innumerable Atoms Dancing

This is something that most people don’t think about, but should. Underhill is correct in saying that the atoms are whirling, dancing, moving. They are always moving. They never stop moving. If they stopped moving, it would probably be as much of a disaster to us as when they are broken open in atomic bombs.

There is a lesson to be learned here. Look at this on another level. Everything in the universe is constantly moving as well. Planets spin around stars. Stars dance around the center of a galaxy, and so on. Movement is life. Yet too many humans seem to have the goal in life of reducing their movement as much as possible. Some would probably be perfectly happy to sit still forever if it were possible. But that is not how things function in a living universe. In fact, it is probably true that those who constantly move are those who grow or at least have the potential to grow if they move in the right direction. Those who try to avoid moving, or changing, cannot grow. The strength of that red brick is in the innumerable atoms moving within it. When we move, within and without, we make ourselves stronger.

Matter Has No Extension

I think what Underhill means by this is that matter has no reality behind it. Matter is an illusion. That teaching is shared by most spiritual and mystery schools of the past and present. But that doesn’t mean that matter doesn’t exist. It does exist, but it isn’t what it appears to be. The physical universe is, according to the findings of quantum physics, just a great hologram. Since a hologram is just an image made of light, that solid red brick is but an image made entirely of light. Quantum physics also tells us that those atoms, or at least the electrons in them, are only particles when observes. When not observed, they are just waves of potential. That is why light is both waves and particles.

So those innumerable atoms whirling and dancing are really beams of light in a hologram whirling and dancing. And to some degree, the dance they do seems to be determined by us. We might say it is a giant sandbox or Lego set. But before you run outside and try to manifest a Rolls Royce, remember it is WE who generate the universe; a collective we, not each individual. It is the sum of all our thoughts that create the world we see. The thoughts of just one have only a very limited effect on the universe and those innumerable atoms.


Self-Existent Reality and Illusion

“In Meno, Plato, speaking through Socrates, describes color as ‘an affluence of form, commensurate with sight, and sensible.’ In Theretetus he discourses more at length on the subject thus: ‘Let us carry out the principle which has just been affirmed, that nothing is self-existent, and then we shall see that every color, white, black, and every other color, arises out of the eyes meeting the appropriate motion , and that what we term the substance of each color is neither the active nor the passive element, but something which passes between them, and is peculiar to each participant; are you certain that the several colors appear to every animal—say a dog—as they appear to you?’

“In the Pythagorean tetractys—the supreme symbol of universal forces and processes—are set forth the theories of the Greeks concerning color and music. The first three dots represent the threefold White Light, which is the Godhead containing potentially all sound and color. The remaining seven dots are the colors of the spectrum and the notes of the musical scale. The colors and tones are the active creative powers which, emanating from the First Cause, establish the universe. The seven are divided into two groups, one containing three powers and the other four a relationship also shown in the tetractis. The higher group—that of three—becomes the spiritual nature of the created universe, the lower group—that of four—manifests as the traditional sphere, or inferior world.” ~Manly P. Hall

Nothing is Self-Existent

This simple statement may be one of the most important things Plato ever said, and our modern science has finally caught up with him. What Plato is saying here is that when we think we see a tree, what we are really seeing is a relationship between some unknown thing with our eyes and our brain. The eyes see something, the brain interprets it as a tree. But this is just our interpretation of what is there. The modern science of Quantum Physics now tells us that the form of the thing is affected (changed) by the observer. What’s more, they say that at least with some things on the subatomic level, the thing doesn’t even have a form until it is observed, it is just a wave of potential. The scientists are not willing to go this far, but I think that logically, if all things are made up of atoms, and all atoms are made up of subatomic particles, then the rules of those subatomic particles must apply to everything unless someone finds a law that says these particles behave differently when clumped together into atoms. So far, I know of no such finding.

It isn’t that nothing exists without being observed, it is that what does exist is waves of energy with no specific form. The forms we see are those we have agreed upon as representing certain nodes and frequencies of energy. Those forms are part of the Great Illusion we call the physical world. Continue reading “Self-Existent Reality and Illusion”