The Radiance of Now

The Master must have known that his words were frequently beyond his disciples’ comprehension. He spoke them nonetheless in the knowledge that a day would surely come when they would take root and blossom in the hearts that heard him.

One day he said: “Time always seems too long when you wait – for a vacation, an examination, for something yearned for or dreaded in the future. But to those who dare to surrender to the experience of the present moment – with no thought about the experience, no desire that it return or be avoided – time is transformed into the radiance of Eternity.”

Anthony de Mello: One Minute Nonsense
Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, Anand, India. 1992

Krishnamurti made a clear distinction between chronological time and psychological time. Chronological time is the time measured by clocks and calendars, what we refer to by minutes, hours, days and years. This convention of time and its division into units is necessary for day to day living.

Psychological time belongs to the realm of the mind. We refer to the past and future, what has been, what may be and what ought to be. This is the time that Tony is referring to in his story.

As long as we live by psychological time, we are the prisoners of the past and future neither of which in reality exists. What is there is the now, this moment of awareness. There is great freedom in the understanding of the significance of time, its unreality and its impact on us.

All of us, except for the genuinely free, carry our past with us. Many of us live there with the consequences of guilt, nostalgia, hurt feelings and so on. We live in the future hoping perhaps for the repetition of the pleasurable experiences of the past and the dread of the repetition of painful ones. So many of us are affected by what psychologists refer to as unfinished businesses, namely those experiences that were incomplete in the past and still affect them in the present. Most of us are hardly aware of the influence of the past on us. Many of us not only build castles in the air but we also live in them.

In recently years there has been a great deal of interest in the power of now and the freedom and transformation that it brings. Many of us now recognize the level of bondage that time involves and extent of freedom that is available to us.

Reflecting on the new year someone wrote: “Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols.’’

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