THE ETERNAL PRESENT
I sweep through the infinity of time like a ray of light
coming to land on a speck of dust that is solid and therefore visible.
Thus, do I enter time and become finite, yet remain in the infinite light as well,
transformed as both light and dust,
one not more than the other.
From: Star Poems
Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy
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There is no time but for those who move in three-dimensional space in physical bodies that appear to be separate from each other. Without the experience of separation, there is no distance between one thing and another and therefore no time that it takes to traverse that distance. This is what it means to say that one lives in the ‘eternal present’ – that there is no distance in time or in space between one thing and anything else.
The understanding of the ‘eternal present’ is difficult to grasp for those within three-dimensional reality because it involves separating from an identity that involves having a physical body. After repeated incarnations, often of great number, this becomes very hard to do. Without the physical dimension of awareness, however, there is an expansion that becomes increasingly possible into ‘all that is’. With this expansion, the subject of one’s consciousness which is the self, and the object of one’s consciousness which is ‘the other’, are no longer two separate things but one. It would be as if one could experience oneself as a self and simultaneously as a leaf, a grasshopper, a bird, a rock, another light-being, etc. The experience of oneself does not separate one from the experience of another’s being, whether animate or inanimate.
The ‘eternal present’ allows consciousness to become one with all that is and there are gradations or steps toward attaining this degree of universal awakeness.
The first step involves taking down the barriers of prejudice and judgment that exist between the self and others so that greater union with all that is perceived as not-self is possible.
The second step is to realize that the ‘I’ that one identifies with exists within a larger ‘I’ that is the universal ‘I’. This transition in awareness involves the understanding that one is part of something else, something greater, and that one has never really existed apart from it or been alone.
The third step is to realize that one is co-existent with all that is and that all that is can be broken down into discrete entities by labeling ‘this’ and ‘that’, and distinguishing ‘this’ from ‘that’, but such labeling actually distorts the reality that everything is One.
Finally, there is the stage of experiencing past, present, and future as one, and also of experiencing all locales as being the same place with different faces. The experience of oneness, then, evolves from these different gradations of experience, and at its summit becomes the perception of the ‘eternal now’ or the ‘eternal present’. It also becomes the perception of being ‘here’ and ‘everywhere’ at the same time.
The path toward realization of the ‘eternal present’ is the same path that takes the self toward a deepening of spiritual life and toward a dis-identification with the limitations of physical, time-space experience. This needs to happen while incarnated within a body in order for the experience to become complete. Though time between lifetimes is spent outside of a body, this time is not a time of full-consciousness since the physical is missing and therefore the whole person cannot become one with all. Rather, part of the person, the spiritual part, can become more unified with the rest, but only for a period of time. It is part of the plan for Creation that souls will learn to bring their fully-created self into the conscious experience of the ‘eternal present’ which is God’s being, and so the learning must be done primarily during the lifetimes spent within the physical realms.
Beyond this, it is necessary that a soul learn to distinguish true willingness to serve the good and true from false willingness that is based on glamour and on pride. There are many ways to pursue a spiritual path but the paradox that both Buddha and Jesus articulated in different ways, is that one has to let go of the desire for attainment in order to attain that which is truly valuable. Put differently, one has to become unselfish about the spiritual goals one pursues in order to become truly spiritual. This lack of grasping and the willingness to set all before God establishes the inner relationship which allows God to set all before the soul.
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