For most people, the twowords “timeless” and “eternal” seem roughly the same. They spell the end of clock time, and for many religious believers, Heaven is eternal, a place where time goes on forever.
Whatever you think about it, time coming to an end isn’t a pleasant prospect, because the clock stops, so to speak, when we die. But there are problems with all of these concepts, and if we really go deeply into the subject, time is very different from what we casually accept.
Each of us normally experiences three states of time: time ticking off the clock when we are awake, time as part of the illusion of having a dream, and the absence of time when we’re asleep but not dreaming. This tells us that time is tied to our state of consciousness.
We take it for granted that one species of time – the one measured by clocks – is real time, but that’s not true. All three relationships with time -waking, dreaming, and sleeping – are knowable only as personal experiences. Time in fact doesn’t exist outside human awareness. There is no absolute clock time “out there” in the universe. If you go to the finest level of Nature, to the vacuum state from which the quantum field emerged, the qualities of everyday existence, such as sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell, no longer exist, and there is also a vanishing point where three-dimensionality vanishes, along with time itself.
What lies beyond the quantum horizon is purely a matter of mathematical conjecture, yet one thing is certain. The origin of everything real is beyond the reach of time and space. The realm that is the pre-created state of the universe can be modeled mathematically as being multi-dimensional, infinitely dimensional, or non-dimensional. Once the everyday four dimensions vanish, any kind of mathematical explanation is open. So it must be accepted that time came out of the timeless and not just at the big bang. Everything in the physical universe winks in and out of existence at a rapid rate of excitation here and now. The timeless is with us at every second of our lives.
Because the timeless can’t be measured using a clock, so it makes no sense to say that the timeless is with us “at every second.” Instead, the timeless is with us, period. This world is timeless. There is no need to wait for death or Heaven to prove that eternity is real. Once you grant that the timeless is with us, a question naturally arises: How is the timeless related to clock time? The answer is that the two aren’t related. The timeless is an absolute, and since it can’t be measured by clocks, it has no relative existence. How strange. The timeless is with us, yet we can’t relate to it.
Clock time has no privileged position in reality. There is no reason why it should be elevated above dream time or the absence of time in dreamless sleep. Clock time is just a quality of being awake, like other qualities we know as colors, tastes, smells, etc. Without human beings to experience these qualities, they don’t exist.
Excerpted from Deepakchopra.com. The 70th birth anniversary of Deepak Chopra will be observed on October 22