Does Time Really Pass?
Or do we pass through a space/time continuum?
We have the same attitude in this respect as with the daily solar cycle. We say: the sun rises / the sun sets, when we know very well that this is not the case. It is the Earth that rotates around the sun and on itself. To say the sun rises is a convenience. It’s an old and persistent tendency to consider everything from our own point of view. Changing the wording without changing the point of view would make no sense, and would bring more confusion than enlightenment on the subject. So change your point of view, but only if it is worth it… if people understand each other better, for example.
Understanding each other better, we would learn, little by little, to tolerate each other, to appreciate each other, to help each other. There would be less conflict. It would be a place where self-interest is not the focus. A place where we know that we are all moving around the same center of light-force, a sun that shines on everyone and everything.
The problem is that this vision of things is a perfect utopia, born of our imagination; it is very beautiful and attractive, but unattainable. So, do we give up? Do we continue to watch the sun rise and set? Do we continue to say that time passes? Do we continue to have hobbies?
When I’m in a spiritual panic, like this, I take the Tao Te Ching. If I had to take one book to a desert island, it would definitely be the Tao Te Ching. This is a treasure of spiritual teaching condensed into 81 chapters, none of which exceeds 200 words. Yet, nothing is missing. I recently reread chapter 14:
“Look at Tao, you don’t see it / Listen to Tao, you don’t hear it / Touch Tao, you don’t feel anything / Above, it’s not light, below it’s not dark / Going to meet it, you don’t see its face; following it, you don’t see its back / Formless form, it’s indeterminate, eternal, nameless / It’s by practicing Tao that one can regulate present existence.”
This is quite perplexing. Obviously, Tao is a mystery. It escapes all our codes and modes of perception. But it is by practicing it that we can regulate the present existence. Lao Tzu does not use the conditional: “Practice Tao and you will regulate your existence!”. What you see, what you hear, what you touch, your certainties, your beliefs, all this is just your point of view. You watch time go by, from your point of view. It’s like two cows grazing peacefully in a field, and they see the High-Speed-Train go by. The first one says to the other one: “Moo, I barely saw the train go by; it’s crazy how fast time goes by!”. And the other one answers: “No, it’s the speed of the train that has increased”. During this time, the passengers of the HST (High-Speed Train) are not necessarily aware that the train in which they are seated is travelling at 320 km/h, i.e. twice as fast as conventional trains. Time has not changed. Just like space, we have broken it down into artificial units that we have invented from scratch.
This being said, does it really change anything to say that it is not time that passes but that it is us who pass in time? Will the fate of humanity be impacted? Will I understand my fellow (wo)men better? Well, I think so. I even have the intimate conviction of it. We live in a field of information, the field of life and experience of humanity. When you visit the cave of Lascaux, in Dordogne (France), or the site of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, or the temple of Abu Simbel in Egypt, you are touched by the same emotion, because the sense of the sacred in man is not subject to space or time. It is instantaneous, immediate. This is also why the Tao Te Ching rings as true today as it did yesterday: “Attach yourself to the great idea, and the world will move forward, effortlessly, in peace, serenity, abundance. Music and good food attract the passing traveler, and he stops. But what comes from the Tao does not flatter the palate, because it is tasteless. One looks at it, but that is not enough to see it; one listens to it, but that is not enough to hear it. If one has recourse to Tao, one cannot exhaust it. Tao Te Ching, chap. 35.
The Tao is the expression of the sense of the sacred, which one or more men and women have gone to find in their inner garden, and which they have put back into the field of information of humanity. When I extract myself from the submission to space/time, I stand in front of the door of the treasure room. All I have to do is enter. There is no need to be afraid of the sacred. The sacred is already within us, invisible, inaudible, untouchable, inexhaustible. And every time a man, a woman, a child, enters this treasure chamber, the consequences for his fellow human beings are unsuspected and incalculable. I am also deeply convinced that, since 1968, a window of this treasure chamber has been opened for the world, and that the world disorders of all kinds that we have been experiencing since then are the consequences. In the same way, 2000 years ago, on Mount Golgotha, it was not a window, but a great door, that was opened for humanity by Jesus of Nazareth.
Whenever such an event occurs, there are 3 main types of reactions:
- “Close that door! It’s drafty!”
- “Come on, let’s go in, I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long!”
- “Boh, let’s get on with it; pass me my vest!”
Repulsion – Attraction – Neutralization, the 3 magnetic aspects of our life field.
If every morning when you see the sun appear behind the hill or the buildings, you say to yourself: “I am on the Earth, I am moving, and I greet you Sun”, it will not be the same thing as if you think: “Well, come on, it’s time, I have to get up or I will be late”.
This sun is also at the center of the treasure chamber, the sacred chamber of humanity. Our societies, our constructions, our philosophies, undergo the wear of time. Even God has aged! But time and space have no hold on the sacred. The sacred is unwearable; the sacred is timeless. And if it is not time that passes, it is us who pass in time; it depends on our point of view: in the solar abode of the sacred, or in the well of space/time? It is not the same thing.
“Without going through the door, we know the Universe; without looking through the window, we see the path to the sky. The more one goes out and away from oneself, the less one acquires self-knowledge. That is why the holy man arrives without moving, names without looking, and accomplishes without acting.” Tao Te Ching, chap. 47.