Of Time and the River

Every once in a while, when my biorhythms and higher awareness seem to be in sync, I am able to pierce the veil of events that is otherwise known as my life. Stepping aside mentally, watching the flood of sensory data that ceaselessly rushes in, I am witness to the brilliant salesmanship that I perform on myself to maintain my belief that it’s all real. In a word, my world is a-maze-ing!

Not to be presumptuous, but is your world any different? If not, then welcome to another round of dealing with its strangeness. Ours is the riddle of existence, yet unsolved.

Heaven knows, there has been no lack of divine intervention to correct this condition. Ascended masters and their enlightened disciples have often returned to earth on missions of mercy, intending to guide us home to God’s embrace. It is our task merely to crew the worthy vessels they provide, and they, as God’s helmsmen, will pilot us over the ocean of our delusions to the shores of Bliss. But only by fits and fussing, it seems, do we take unto ourselves their wisdom and ways. Frequently we bail out in fear of leaving behind the flustering lives we have known.

An aide to our fears and misdemeanors of habit—in particular our wanton pursuits of sensory pleasure—is our obsession with time. Though we prize and flex our free will, we are, on the whole, slavishly obedient to the rule of the clock. Its advancing hands are reminders to us of desires yet unfulfilled, of distances yet to cover, and of deadlines and pressures that do not abate. Every second marks the loss of whatever was here just a second ago, and except for the pain and suffering that our ignorance demands, we fret over its passing. In moments of higher consciousness, we vow to practice letting go of what is already gone. And then we find another reason not to.

Granted, it serves us to think of time and place, to measure distances traveled, to pause and reflect before pushing ahead. Without this capability we wouldn’t remember birthdays, appointments, important projects, where we parked the car or how to drive it. Still, our reliance on timeline perspective often renders us helpless to break away from unproductive patterns. Instead of striving to develop intuition, we exaggerate the merits of memory, style and routine to give our lives meaning. But what do they mean? Where is the spiritual progress in these worldly fixations?

To make matters worse, memory is merely a form of approximation, less and less dependable as time goes by. Do you really remember yourself as a kid? Chances are, that person belongs to the ages, accessible only in snatches of recollection. Even the immediate past is barely impressive. Who were you a moment ago? Who are you now? By the time the answer comes, there has been a molecular change.

Philosophers and poets have often used the metaphor of a river to represent the miracle of life: ever flowing, never the same. And so it is for us too. It is only in our habit of clinging to the past, or of looking to the future for what is still out of reach, that we succumb to repetition and immobility.

Like the trillions of physical cells that sustain us, we, in our minds, need to keep moving as well. Into the present. Into that placeless place of constant fluidity. Into the liberating experience of non-attachment. When moving in this way, the lure of our senses begins to lose its grip, and we begin to discover ourselves as we truly are, as beings of divine light. This is how we open the door to a quintessential interior world that is blessedly and transcendently un-a-maze-ing.