PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
It appears from this that we neither live in a ‘past’ nor in a ‘future’ and that our ‘present’ is an image in mind – a concept – like that of the Equator separating the North and South hemispheres, which does not otherwise exist. As long as we objectify our space and time dimensions, regarding them as independent of ourselves, it’s clear that we could never recognise ourselves for what we are. If we could distance ourselves from our belief in the factuality of Space/Time, we might live from Mind. This could also explain why it is difficult to disidentify from the ego because we are anchored in our phenomenal world by our idea of Space/Time. So, Enlightenment or the Awakening to No-self must be the simultaneous disassociation from ego and Space/Time and this is confirmed by many of the pronouncements of the Awakened Masters. A list of some features or qualities of what is known as Enlightenment appear in the later page: “Enlightenment". If time ceases in the enlightened state, its absence ought to feature in the list. Let’s note some of these:
• Living is in the moment – neither past nor future have significance or are dwelt on.
• There is a continuous state of Now so neither beginnings nor endings are possible.
• There are neither events nor happenings because starts and stops are not perceptible.
• This moment is the only reality that is being experienced – all else is seen as an abstraction and a mental construct.
• All needs and wants stop with the cessation of any sense of time.
An interesting insight into the nature of time is the fact that scientists have found that it takes about half a second or 500 microseconds to become aware of what we have perceived. This is to do with the complicated channels in the brain, utilising chemical and neurological connections that require time to complete the process. This means that we only cognise what we perceive after the event has happened – in other words, we live in the past. From that we deduce:
• That what we regard as the present is in fact in the past when we know it.
• There is, therefore, no present that we can know as such.
• In fact, we are living in the future that we can never know as such until it is in the past.
• Since we are living in the future without being aware of it, nothing that we imagine we can do in the already passed ‘present’ can have any effect whatever on the ‘future’ in which we are already living, since whatever we think we are doing in the supposed present must necessarily have been done in the unalterable past when we do it.
It would appear that animals, with a simpler apparatus that is not encumbered by the process of cognition, perceive almost instantaneously. The event and their perception of it are as one; that would seem to reinforce what was said earlier about the manifestation and its perception being one ‘event’. We humans need the half-second to register what we have perceived. Our ability to be self-aware and to cognise what we perceive comes with the price of a substantial delay in the perceiving process that firmly establishes our cognition in the past, after the event.