As with everything else, time is perceived differently from different views…
Small Self Identification
When we are exclusively identified with the small self, it is perceived as something that is coming towards us and left behind us. We live on this thin knife’s edge called the present, and the past and future are vast and in some ways as or more important than the present. We are caught up in – and take very seriously – thoughts and ideas, which allows us to experience the past (memories) and future (hopes/fears) as quite substantial and real. We also have ideas about the present, which we take as quite real and substantial. In both cases, we kick up enough dust so we experience the present through thick filters of thoughts and abstractions. We are not fully here, with what is.
Nature of Mind
When we awaken to the nature of mind – to ourselves as the Witness and space & awareness – we find a ground outside of the small self. A ground that is distinct from time, allowing that which is in time to unfold within itself.
All experiences – the sensations, emotions, thoughts and behaviors of the small self – arise within space & awareness. We experience the present as all there is, and see clearly thoughts for what they are – useful abstractions of the present as it was and may be, but nothing more than that. We don’t take them very seriously and they do not appear very substantial. This allows us to experience the present more fully, with less thought-created filters.
We experience time as an always changing Now. There were past Nows and will be future Nows, but they are always only experienced as a Now. Nothing exists outside of the present, so it is a shame to get lost in thoughts about what used to be and will be. And this Now is always new and fresh, always different, always completely unique. This present will never return in the same way. We realize that if we are lost in thoughts and take them for real and substantial, we create a filter which does not allow us to fully experience this Now. When we are lost in thoughts about the past, future or the present – it takes us away from fully experiencing this Now, which is all there is.
When we come to the nature of mind – to the Witness – we are always with what is. The always changing Now. Sensations, emotions, thoughts, behaviors arise here and now. There is no need to get lost in it, just allowing it to unfold within space & awareness.
From the perspective of the largest whole – from God, Existence – it again appears a little different. We embrace all of Existence, – the absolute and the relative, that which is distinct from time and in time. All what is in time is unfolded before us, as a vast tapestry – from the beginning through to the end of time. And this allows for both of what the small selves are so concerned with – free choice & predestination. There is choice as it all unfolds, but it is also appears “predestined” as all time exists simultaneously from this view.