Nashbramhall
Learning & Teaching Fellow (retired)

THE PARADOX OF TIME





On the surface, the present moment is " what happens." Since what happens changes continuously, it seems that every day of our life consists of thousands of moments in which different things happen. Time is seen as the endless succession of moments, some "good," some "bad." Yet if we look more closely, that is to say, through our own immediate experience, you find that there are not many moments at all. You discover that there is only ever this moment. Life is always now. Our entire life unfolds in this constant now. Even past or future moments only exist when we remember or anticipate them, and we do so by thinking about them in the only moment there is; this one.



Why does it appear then as if there were many moments? Because the present moment is confused with what happens, confused with content. The space of now is confused with what what happens in that space. The confusion of the present moment with content gives rise not only to the illusion of ego.



There is a paradox here. On the one hand, how can we deny the reality of time? We need it to go from here to there, to prepare a meal, build a house, read this book. You need time to grow up, to learn new things. Whatever you do seems to take time. Everything is subject to it and eventually " this bloody tyrant time," as Shakespeare calls it, is going to kill you. we could compare it to a raging river that drags you along with it, or a fire in which everything is consumed.



I recently met some old friends, a family I had not seen in a long time, and I was shocked when I saw them. I almost asked, " Are you ill? What happened? Who did this to you?" The mother. who walked with a cane, seemed to have shrunk in size, her face shrivel ed like an old apple. The daughter, who had been full of energy, enthusiasm, and the expectations of youth when I last

saw her, seemed worn out, tired after bringing up three children.

Then I remembered: Almost thirty years had passed since we last met. Time had done this to them. And I'm sure they were just as shocked when they saw me.



Everything seems to be subject to time, yet it all happens in the now. That is the paradox. Wherever we look, there is plenty of circumstantial evidence for the reality of time - a rotting apple, our face in the bathroom mirror compared to our face in a photo taken thirty years ago - yet we never find any direct evidence, we never experience time itself. We only ever experience the present moment, or rather what happens in it. If we go by direct evidence only, then there is no time, and the now is all there ever is.



Courtesy,,

Sheeba.


18th September 2009 From India, Coimbatore
Thanks Peer,
A nice piece. Here is a link to more of such things.
Self-Appraisal - An Inspiring Story!
Here is another poem on the topic of Paradox of time.
- The Paradox of Time <link updated to site home> ( Search On Cite | Search On Google ) both found at
the paradox of time - Google Search
Have a nice day.
Simhan
A retired academic in UK
18th September 2009 From United Kingdom
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