We resist our present moment experience by creating time and then escaping into it.
A whole new world opened for me when I read Ken Wilber. Here are his thoughts on time:
‘To move in time, is to create time. It is the mind that, itself in movement, sees everything moving.
Moving away from present experience, the timeless now, we create the illusion that experience likewise moves past us. Our resisting the eternal present reduces it to the passing present, sandwiched between all the experiences we have run past and the future moments we are running to. This keeps us in the past and future mental world. In it, the present moment does not exist, other than seen with the eyes of the past or as a means to the future.’
Ego-mind creates time.
Eckart Tolle, author of ‘Power of Now’, adds:
‘Time creates problems. Having created time, we worry about it. Our problems always concern time:
Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness and non-forgiveness
are too much past and not enough presence.
Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry and fear are too much future and not enough presence’
Time creates fear and desire
In the world of time, we are driven by fear and desire. Fearing and wanting govern our perceptions and interpretations. We lament or hold on to the past, and worry about or strain ahead to the future.
In our actions then, we hold back in fear or chomp at the bit impatiently. This disrupts the natural flow of events and then everything around us, ourselves included, becomes hard and rigid and ‘the enemy’.
I had a tendency to force things into place instead of allowing the natural process. I spent huge amounts of energy on what felt like moving mountains to speed things up, but the results were always disappointing.
When we are ruled by Ego, we try to control our present experience with what we know from the past, projecting that into the future. This brain state is not designed to be creative in it’s thinking. It merely reacts, repeating past thoughts and behaviour patterns.
Here’s an example. I lived on my own in a suburb with high crime rates for a few years. I didn’t have a great start there. During my first night, I woke up to a burglar outside my still curtainless bedroom window. I had a high-tech multiple-layered alarm system installed and stayed constantly vigilant for the 6 years. Then I moved into a more secure apartment complex. Getting out of my car one night in the communal parking lot, I heard a rustling in the bushes nearby and froze, assuming the worst, only to discover my neighbour doing some evening gardening.
We perpetuate time
We keep the past running into the present and future by keeping ‘the old story alive’. When we have a set way of seeing something, (which is really a perception of limited perspective usually based on projection), our experience becomes like a stuck record. We always get to that part of the song and no further – like a thornbush that snags our progress until we untangle ourselves. We can’t take in the new at face value because we see in it only what confirms our projection from the past.
The older generation for example is more set in their ways, while the younger generation sees new possibilities in different approaches.
The more our emotional and reptilian brain-state takes over, the less we have access to Self: the neocortex brain-state – with its expanded awareness. We identify with our narrowed thoughts and emotions so much that we become them and believe that we would stop existing if we stopped thinking. Ego-mind commandeers our ship – the instrument has become the master.
I have noticed a vicious cycle. The tighter I cling to Ego-mind, the more I identify myself with it, the smaller my world, the more restricted the flow of Self power, the greater my sense of disorientation and the tighter I cling to Ego-mind.
The grasping Ego in its cage talks of order yet disturbs it, seeks security, yet destroys it.