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Series II - Chapter 24 - ‘Time And Continuity’
THE EVENING LIGHT was on the water, and the dark trees were against the setting sun. A crowded bus went by, followed by a big car with smart people in it. A child passed rolling a hoop. A woman with a heavy load stopped to adjust it, then continued on her weary way. A boy on a bicycle saluted someone, and was intent on getting home. Several women walked by, and a man stopped, lit a cigarette, threw the match in the water, looked around, and went on. No one seemed to notice the colours on the water and the dark trees against the sky. A girl came along carrying a baby, talking and pointing to the darkening waters to amuse and distract it. Lights were appearing in the houses, and the evening star was beginning to sail the heavens.
There is a sadness of which we are so little aware. We know the ache and sorrow of personal strife and confusion; we know utility and the misery of frustration; we know the fullness of joy and its transiency. We know our own sorrow, but we are not aware of the sadness of the other. How can we be when we are enclosed in our own misfortunes and trials? When our hearts are weary and dull, how can we feel the weariness of another? Sadness is so exclusive, isolating and destructive. How quickly the smile fades! Everything seems to end in sorrow, the ultimate isolation.
She was very well read, capable and direct. She had studied sciences and religion, and had carefully followed modern psychology. Though still quite young, she had been married – with the usual miseries of marriage she added. Now she was footloose and eager to find something more than the usual conditioning, to feel her way beyond the limits of the mind. Her studies had opened her mind to possibilities beyond the conscious and the collective gatherings of the past. She had attended several of the talks and discussions, she explained, and had felt that a source common to all the great teachers was active; she had listened with care and had understood a great deal, and had now come to discuss the inexhaustible and the problem of time.
“What is the source beyond time, that state of being which is not within the reasoning of the mind? What is the timeless, that creativity of which you have spoken?”
Is it possible to be aware of the timeless? What is the test of knowing or being aware of it? How would you recognize it? By what would you measure it? “We can only judge by its effects.”
But judging is of time; and are the effects of the timeless to be judged by the measurement of time? If we can understand what we mean by time, perhaps it may be possible for the timeless to be; but is it possible to discuss what that timeless is? Even if both of us are aware of it, can we talk about it? We may talk about it, but our experience will not be the timeless. It can never be talked about or communicated except through the means of time; but the word is not the thing, and through time the timeless obviously cannot be understood. Timelessness is a state which comes only when time is not. So let us rather consider what we mean by time.
“There are different kinds of time: time as growth, time as distance, time as movement.”
Time is chronological and also psychological. Time as growth is the small becoming the large, the bullock cart evolving into the jet plane, the baby becoming the man. The heavens are filled with growth, and so is the earth. This is an obvious fact, and it would be stupid to deny it. Time as distance is more complex. “It is known that a human being can be in two different places at the same time – at one place for several hours, and at another for a few minutes during the same period.”
Thought can and does wander far afield while the thinker remains in one place. “I am not referring to that phenomenon. A person, a physical entity, has been known to be in two widely separated places simultaneously. However our point is time.”
Yesterday using today as a passage to tomorrow the past flowing through the present to the future, is one movement of time, not three separate movements. We know time as chronological and psychological, growth and becoming. There is the growth of the seed into the tree, and there is the process of psychological becoming. Growth is fairly clear, so let us put that aside for the time being. Psychological becoming implies time. I am this and I shall become that, using time as a passage, as a means; the what has been is becoming the what will be. We are very familiar with this process. So thought is time, the thought that has been and the thought that will be, the what is and the ideal. Thought is the product of time, and without the thinking process, time is not. The mind is the maker of time, it is time.
“That is obviously true. Mind is the maker and user of time. Without the mind-process, time is not. But is it possible to go beyond the mind? Is there a state which is not of thought?”
Let us together discover whether there is such a state or not. Is love thought? We may think of someone we love; when the other is absent, we think of him, or we have an image, a photograph of him. The separation makes for thought. “Do you mean that when there is oneness, thought ceases and there is only love?”
Oneness implies duality, but that is not the point. Is love a thought process? Thought is of time; and is love time-binding? Thought is bound by time, and you are asking if it is possible to be free from the binding quality of time. “It must be, otherwise there could be no creation. Creation is possible only when the process of continuity ceases. Creation is the new, the new vision, the new invention, the new discovery, the new formulation, not the continuity of the old.”
Continuity is death to creation.
“But how is it possible to put an end to continuity?”
What do we mean by continuity? What makes for continuity?
What is it that joins moment to moment, as the thread joins the beads in a necklace? The moment is the new, but the new is absorbed into the old and so the chain of continuity is formed. Is there ever the new, or only recognition of the new by the old? If the old recognizes the new, is it the new? The old can recognize only its own projection; it may call it the new, but it is not. The new is not recognizable; it is a state of non-recognition, non-association. The old gives itself continuity through its own projections; it can never know the new. The new may be translated into the old, but the new cannot be with the old. The experiencing of the new is the absence of the old. The experience and its expression is thought, idea; thought translates the new in terms of the old. It is the old that gives continuity; the old is memory, the word, which is time.
“How is it possible to put an end to memory?”
Is it possible? The entity that desires to put an end to memory is himself the forger of memory; he is not apart from memory. That is so is it not? “Yes, the maker of effort is born of memory, of thought; thought is the outcome of the past, conscious or unconscious. Then what is one to do?”
Please listen, and you will do naturally, without effort, what is essential. Desire is thought; desire forges the chain of memory. Desire is effort, the action of will. Accumulation is the way of desire; to accumulate is to continue. Gathering experience knowledge, power or things, makes for continuity and to deny these is to continue negatively. positive and negative continuance are similar. The gathering centre is desire, the desire for the more or the less. This centre is the self, placed at different levels according to one’s conditioning. Any activity of this centre only brings about the further continuity of itself. Any move is time-binding; it prevents creation. The timeless is not with the time-binding quality of memory. The limitless is not to be measured by memory, by experience. There is the unnameable only when experience, knowledge, has wholly ceased. Truth alone frees the mind from its own bondage.