Monday, January 6, 2014

Is Time Just an Illusion?

We live in a world that seems to run on linear time, from the past through the present to the future. We are convinced that things occur one after another. Since we believe this is true, it becomes our experience. 

Have you ever heard of “the arrow of time”? This phrase was coined in 1927 by Sir Arthur Eddington. It suggests that time flows only in one direction. Certainly, that is how we perceive the passage of time, but is it necessarily true? Could we say that the past and future don’t even exist? We can’t experience the past; we can only remember it. Nor can we experience the future, because it’s only an expectation that we have in the present moment.

We are therefore admonished to live in the present moment as the only time that really exists. But could it be that even the present moment doesn’t really exist? Could it be that time itself doesn’t exist except as an illusion we created to separate the crush of events in our lives. Albert Einstein concluded that the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously and there is no real separation among them. It is just a convincing illusion, he said.

On a number of occasions, I have discussed the passage of time with my spirit guide. My obsession with it seems to amuse him. He reminds me that time, as I perceive it, only exists here in the physical world. He points out that I can alter the flow of time by changing my perception of it. He says that reincarnation does not occur in what we would call chronological order. Rather, we can incarnate at any point in time. For example, we can and do jump from earth’s historical past to the future and back to the past again in successive incarnations. In other words, “past lives” don’t necessarily occur in the past, and “future lives” don’t necessarily occur in the future. In fact, he says, all of our incarnations are happening concurrently. I have trouble wrapping my head around this one, but he tells me to relax and just enjoy my “time” here in the physical world.

Does time really exist?

Perhaps time is just an illusion. Perhaps it “exists” only because we believe it does. In other words, it exists because our beliefs create our reality.

Along with other Eastern philosophers and mystics, Ramana Maharshi said, "Time is only an idea." America’s most documented psychic Edgar Cayce said, “There is no time.” And British physicist Julian Barbour said, “People are sure time is there, but they can’t get hold of it. My feeling is that they can’t get hold of it because it isn’t there at all.”

Certainly, each of us has a different perception of time, and each of us experiences its passage differently. Perceive it going fast, and it will. Perceive it going slow, and it will.

As I often do when I have a persistent question, I turned to A Course in Miracles to see what it says about time. The Course says: Time is not real. It is an illusion. It emerged when we decided to experience separation from God. We have already reached the end of time and are now looking back on our experience in time as if watching a movie. Miracles are defined as a change in our perception. Such a change in perception allows us to experience time differently than we have until now.

Time is collapsing

Spiritual author and teacher Jim Self says that 3rd dimensional linear time is collapsing into a single point of present time. He says time really isn’t accelerating; rather, it’s collapsing. We literally are running out of time to play in the 3rd dimension. He says the 3rd dimension is going away, along with everything that has supported it including our belief in linear time, because we no longer need it for our continued spiritual evolution.

As time collapses, Jim says it is becoming more difficult for us to remember our past experiences. Maybe that’s why last year seems like such a blur to me. I often say, half-jokingly, that I can’t even remember what I ate for breakfast. With the disappearance of the 3rd dimension, we are ascending into the fourth and fifth dimensional levels of consciousness where it’s always present time.

Jim says that we created the 3rd dimension as a “playground” in which to become better creators using our thoughts and feelings. To help us do this, the 3rd dimension has a built-in time buffer. Instead of instant manifestation, a time lag occurs between our thoughts and the actual manifestation of those thoughts in our experience.

What can we do?

Time is the greatest source of stress in our lives, and it seems to be accelerating. How can we cope with it? I will address that question in a sequel to this blog post. ❖

Related posts:
     How the Tyranny of Time Affects Us
     How to Cope with the Tyranny of Time


  1. Great insights on a complex topic Roy, Thanks!!

  2. If you perceive time as linear, as most of us do, there is no present, only past and future. We are all living in between.
    If we acknowledge that we have a vague recollection of the past, why is it so hard for us to believe that we can achieve a recollection of the future?