In this world of ‘multiple realities’ a semblance of sanity can be provided by classifying the world into ‘relative’ and ‘absolute’ categories. It is no surprise that, if we embark on this path, we find that while the ‘relative’ bucket is overflowing there is very little in the ‘absolute bucket’. However, ironically, almost all our life is spent wading through the ‘relative’ bucket.
Some of you might be thinking and rightly so -Is there anything at all in the ‘absolute’ bucket? This is the greatest mystery and perhaps the only real one we ought to solve!
Scientifically, spiritually and metaphysically I would not be far from the truth if I stated that we all (including everything around us) is part of the same star-dust. Everything primarily developed from the same matter and is governed by the same basic laws. This is ‘perhaps, the basic truth that unifies the universe. So far, so good. But, unfortunately, life isn’t so simple. What complicates and contradicts and contravenes this unifying truth is our ‘relative’ bucket which is full of what we call ‘experiences’. Understanding one’s existence through one’s experiences is tricky business. It can be done and has been done. However, it is very difficult to share or emulate this. You can’t experience someone else’s experience. The best you can do is be a part of it.
How do we then get out this tangle of ‘relative’ buckets and experiences? The ‘enlightened’ ones find it easy to share this path of revelation with others. But, unfortunately, those who have not reached there yet, find it difficult. They may believe in it, they may pretend that they understand and experience it but the reality is that you ‘don’t get it’ unless you get there. And getting there is quite absolute. Either you get it or you don’t. There isn’t a middle ground.
We have still not answered how best to get out of the tangled mess. I think, from a scientific, spiritual and metaphysical perspective our best bet is TIME. Time is like a connecting corridor between the relative and absolute and we need to understand time to transcend the relative.
TIME is one of the biggest mysteries in the universe. Time, in the way that we use it, was created by us to bring order and clarity to what would otherwise appear like CHAOS. The way we perceive and use time generally, it is not much more than a concept. A concept that is so omnipresent and ubiquitous that we believe in it as if it is the absolute truth. Is it?
We shall explore. It needs to be a steady and patient journey. It’s about TIME!
Let us start with some examples:
1. It takes about 8 minutes for light from our sun to reach us i.e what we see is the sun about 8 minutes back. Let us presume that from the start of the universe (the big bang or whatever we want to call it) up till now is X years and light would travel a distance of X light years (or a distance Y) during this time. From a scientific perspective an object which is X light years from us would be ‘just at the beginning of the universe’. Theoretically speaking if we had a machine good enough to ‘see’ over such a distance we could see ‘the big bang’ going on now. What that means is that all across the universe, everything from the start up till now, is all happening at the same time. What’s more what will ‘happen in the future’ is also happening right now somewhere.
I did warn you that time is a very ‘relative’ concept!
Are we any wiser? Perhaps. Are we more confused? Definitely. But that is good. Confusion (or lack of clarity) is the fuel that hungry minds like yours and mine have for breakfast.
Let us look at TIME through another example.
2. Traditionally we divide TIME into the past, present and future. The past, as demonstrated in the above example, is in the present. In a strange way, the present is actually in the past. Let me explain how. The ‘present’ comprises what is happening around us and how we perceive and experience it. By the time we see, hear (or experience in any other way) anything in the so called ‘present’ it is already in the past.
We are beginning to understand how poorly we understand TIME and that to me is a good beginning on our path to understand the world.
We have discussed how relative the past and present are and that it is not easy to define the ‘present’. Understanding and defining the ‘future’ in terms of time is even more tricky.
Let us look at some possibilities.
1. Going back to the ‘big bang light years’ away celestial body if we had a device to watch that body from here and all the way through, we would be watching a scene from whenever ‘time ‘ began all the way to now. In such a situation past, present and future would lose their meaning.
2. Could TIME be a sensation that our consciousness has been programmed to perceive? Like our eyes see colors and our ears hear sounds and our fingers feel textures, could our mind be perceiving time as a sensation? What we perceive is quite relative and as such we perceive time that way as well e.g. when we see a red rose we perceive it in that way because our eyes and brain are programmed to perceive it as red and so on. For a creature with a different set of visual apparatus and brain it may be totally different. This means different entities could perceive the same things as different and maybe perceiving different things to be the same. The same could be happening with time.
3. What if TIME rather than being a programmable perception is actually an ‘event’ or a ‘process’? What’s more, the moment we observe TIME we change it. We thus have a collage of TIME which has been CREATED by each individual observer and is thus unique to them. This then is our CONSCIOUSNESS.
4. Most of the matter in the universe from the smallest to the biggest is in a form of oscillation or some form of periodic motion. Could ‘life’ be one phase of this oscillation manifest through a physical body and other phases only perceptible through other manifestations or from other vantage points?