Sunday, November 11, 2012

"If I could save time..."

"If I could save time in a bottle,
the first thing that I'd like to do,
is to save every day till eternity passes away,
just to spend them with you..."

Listening to Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle," always made me feel pensive and sad. Would I ever be able to say I'd finally found enough time? For my loved ones, my responsibilities, fulfilling the desires of my heart?

Time was something I needed more of...all the time. I needed more time for study when I was a student. More time for getting projects done at work. More time for being with my children. More time between monthly bill marshall our resources for the next round of monthly bill paying. More time for saying hello, getting my point across, covering my bases, focusing on "the important things," saying goodbye. There was never, ever, enough time.

But, a couple of years ago I came across a Christian Science Sentinel interview conducted by Jeffrey Hildner, with physicists, Laurance Doyle and David Carico, titled "How Can We Master Time? Instead of Letting Time Master Us?"

The interview is time-shattering and brilliant. I felt almost deconstructed and re-assembled while reading it. In it are so many extraordinary insights for one to glean from these remarkable thinkers.  But immediately, it was these truths that were absolutely shape-shifting for me:

"Doyle: Mary Baker Eddy recognized that time is a falsity. It's a delusion. You don't want more of it -- you want to get rid of it. Getting rid of time is on eof the things that relates direction to Christian Science healing...

"Hildner: Einstein...came to believe late in life that time isn't merely relative, or in the eye of the beholder -- time is unreal. I have the full quote here. It's from Einstein's letter to the widow of a friend who had reacently died:

"To those if us who believe in physics, this separation between past, present and future, is only an illusion, if a stuboorn one." (Jim Holt, "Time Bandits," The New Yorker, February 28, 2005, pg. 85).

"Carico: Something that keeps coming to my thought is not to fall into the mistake of accepting a mortal sense of the present as being somehow more real than a mortal sense of the future or past." Reality is timeless, and Mrs. Eddy said

"Eternity, not time,
expresses the thought of life,
and time is no part of eternity."

"The mortal measurement of time includes future, present, past. And it's possible, I think, for the mortal mind to lock on to the present as being somehow better than the future or past; where as, in reality, it's timelessness that we're going after.

"As far as Jesus' expression of that, I'm remembering his statement, "Before Abraham was, I am." (John 8:58) Jesus wasn't saying, "I am a mortal living at this moment in time, who also lived in past times." He was saying, "I'm timeless. Because I'm immortal, I'm timeless." So, when we use the word now, we're kind of limited by language. Now, in the highest sense, means eternity, which includes past, present, and future, all at once."

Okay, I don't know about you, but those insights completely took my sense of time apart, and re-calibrated my understanding of life, consciousness, and eternity.

And it also affirmed an experience I'd had about a decade earlier.  One that brought with it a complete healing of "the past."

I was sitting in church, during our weekly Wednesday testimony meeting. I'd been listening for what I could share gratitude for, when I remembered a healing I'd had as a child.

As the details of that healing began to come into clearer focus, so did attending bad memories of a time filled with terror and sadness. Before long I was shaken, haunted by flashbacks so unsettling I could barely breathe.

When the thought came, "Why do I have to be so haunted by a past I can't do anything about?  And since it's already happened, there's nothing I can do to change it," I wanted to cry.

Then, something pierced the sadness, and I suddenly saw something new. 

I was thinking, and I wasn't thinking in the past.   I was thinking about what I called "the past" but my thinking was very much in present. And if my thinking was in the present-tense, I could decide how I wanted to think about it...right then.

As I sat there, I began to reconsider that very lonely, frightening time of my life. And instead of focusing on the terror I had let characterize my memory of those years, I decided to reclaim individual moments of clarity and strength.  

I recognized that there were flashes of peace scattered through those memories. There were moments of an unexplainable calm...moments that had kept me hopeful -- alive to a future free of torment.  

I decided to embrace these thoughts.  Thought that I was thinking in the present tense.  Thoughts, not memories, as the prevailing truths about that time.

Then I stood up and shared my testimony of gratitude for the sweet healing that had originally urged me to revisit that time in my childhood.

After that night in church, I was never haunted by those "memories" again.

My thinking is never about a past, present, or future segment on a timeline.  When I am thinking...about anything...I am thinking in the present.  And how I think, is defined by my relationship to God, as Mind.  My surrender to Him as the only Creator of my conscious experience is all that defines the eternity of my now...including past, present, and future. 

Whether I seem to be haunted by a terrifying past, melancholic about a lost moment, feeling nostalgic about an experience with a loved one, or taunted by an imagined, or even longed-for future, I am thinking about it in the present.  It is a present thought, and I can choose "who" is the source of my consciousness, and align my thoughts accordingly.

So, back to my original concern about needing more time...I'd like to revisit the sentence I quoted from Doyle, earlier in this post.  As well as a follow-up statement from later in the same article:

"Doyle: Mary Baker Eddy recognized that time is a falsity. It's a delusion. You don't want more of it -- you want to get rid of it. Getting rid of time is on eof the things that relates direction to Christian Science healing...

"Time is the basis of all limitation in matter. It's the basis of the concept of mortality. Mrs. Eddy defines time as:

"Mortal measurements; limits;...
matter, error..."

"And so we have to watch ourselves not to say: 'I need more time. I need more error.  I need more limits...'" 

Like I The last thing I need, is more time...

shared with Love,


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