The most effective way to explore time I have found so far is exploring it through the sense fields.
How does time appear in each sense field, and in the combination of the sense fields?
How does time appear in sound, sensation, taste, smell, sight, thoughts/images? How does change appear? Do I find past or future there?
When I explore time this way, I find that the only place I find a sense of time is in the mental field. Any sense of time appears through an overlay of images and thoughts. An overlay of images of what has happened, what may happen, and what is happening “now”.
Without this overlay, there is no sense of time in any of the other sense fields.
And when I recognize this, images of past, future and present are recognized as images happening here now. Images of past, future and present happens within and as this timeless now.
The three times (past, future, present) loses reality and substance, apart from as images happening in this timeless now.
And specific instances in past, future and present are also revealed as images happening here now.
If this is not recognized, the three times and their content appear solid, real and substantial. The past and its content seem real, substantial and “out there” somewhere. The future and its content seem real and substantial and “out there” somewhere. And the present and its content also seem real, substantial and “out there” somewhere. Appearing real, substantial and out there, it is easy to get caught up in further stories about the three times, and it is easy to get caught up in hope, fear and neediness around it.
The remedy is to explore the appearance of time through the sense fields. The reality is that any sense of time is only created through overlays from the mental field. And when that is recognized, these images are revealed as images, imaginations happening in this timeless present.
Without noticing this, I scare myself with these imaginations. When I notice it, these imaginations become very useful tools. I don’t scare myself with them anymore.
This may sound abstract if only read, but it comes alive when used as pointers for own exploration. There is a very real shift from taking the three times and their contents as real, substantial, and potentially scary. And to recognizing the three times and their contents as imagination happening in this timeless now, as is everything else. There is nothing outside of this timeless now, because any ideas of anything outside of it are images happening within and as this timeless now.
And the same goes for space. How does space appear in the sense fields? Can I find space apart from as an overlay of images? I find images of space which are used to interpret and organize all of the sense fields. A sound happen, and it is imagined placed at a particular place in space. A sensation happens, and this too is mapped onto imaginations of space. Sight happens, and whatever appears in sight is organized within this imagined overlay of space. It is all happening within this infinite spaceless now, including the imaginations of space and what’s organized in space. It is infinite, without beginning or end in space, free of the six directions, and allows freely for any imaginations of space and practical use of these imaginations.
Timelessness allows for any imaginations of time, imagined organizing of images in these imaginations of time, and practical use of these imaginations.
Spacelessness allows for any imaginations of space, imagined organizing of the sense fields in imagined space, and practical use of these imaginations.
When exploring this, it is good to use all of this as questions and pointers only. Is it really so? What do I find when I explore for myself? Can I find something that does not seem to fit? What do I find when I explore this?
It may be helpful to look for what seems to confirm it, but it is even more helpful – and essential – to look for what appears to not fit, and explore that further and more closely. What do I find?
It is also helpful to take time to stay with what is noticed, open my heart to it, see it, feel it, allow it to sink in, perhaps even find a warm appreciation for it. And later return to these explorations.
- explore in sense fields
- inquire into beliefs
Insubstantiality allows for a sense of substance when these imaginations are (mistakenly) taken as real, substantial and “out there” somewhere.
And an absence of a separate I allows for imaginations of a separate I as a doer or observer, doing and observing.