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..:: Temporal Perception ::..


Alan Schneider


              Most of us have a sense of the existence of time, and the passage of time as we undergo the experience of life. Yet, this condition remains elusive to our experience – it cannot be seen or heard or otherwise directly perceived, but rather is sensed as the duration of our experience through the brain’s record of memory. The linear sequence of our memories is encoded in time – we “know” that certain experiences preceded others, and were in turn followed by successive experiences. In some cases, individuals feel that they also have recall of similar chains of experience from past lives, also linearly encoded as a general rule, and some individuals also claim to have glimpses into personal and cultural “future” events. All of this is still encoded in the time perception that seems to be flowing past the object observer I call “me”. 

            And we have all heard the expression “Father Time” at some point or other in our lives. In Hindu tradition, the passage of time is referred to as “The Dance of Shiva (the destroyer God)”, and in Western astrology, the Lord of Time is considered to be the Planet/God Saturn – often described as “the Stern Teacher” of the Zodiac.  As one considers these observations, the impression is formed that the essence of time is linked to destruction, specifically the destruction of the physical organism that carries and sustains consciousness in this continuum of experience.  In terms of the physical sequence of the senses, we seem to exist in a “bubble” of time that defines and delimits our experience of the world. However, like most conditions, the manifestation of time and temporal experience changes dramatically as we travel the Planes of Ascension. For the Logos, there is no experience of linear time – the “I Am Presence” exists beyond the limitations of the physical body which holds us in time perception. This mode of existence cannot be understood from the perspective of the ego, itself subordinate in every respect to linear logic and thought processing. It can be “understood” from the perspective of Ascension, by relinquishing the social conditioning that constitutes the ego, although the term “understanding” is not quite an accurate description of the level of perception involved! Let me try to share this with you...  

            I have made occasional reference in these articles to my full Ascension experience of 1997. What I have never attempted to do before, and will attempt to do now, is describe what I have come to believe is the enabling experience that empowered all that followed on those days. I have not done this because I simply did not have the verbal tools at hand to make the attempt, and am not at all certain that I do now, but the Logos dwelling within wishes me to make the attempt. 

            On Christmas Eve of 1997, I had begun to meditate in the fashion I continue to be familiar with as the Buddhist Mindfulness technique, a simple but very effective method of relaxing into trance by focusing on the breath with the eyes closed. I must reiterate at this point that I had been intensively studying the Tetragrammaton for months preceding this event, and had been focusing on Ascension practices and philosophy as well. I passed rapidly into what I thought at the time was only a moderately deep trance, but suspect now was an extremely altered state of consciousness.  I did not immediately notice that the ceiling of my apartment had apparently disappeared, revealing the starry night sky in a splendorous display. In fact, this is a clear indication that my ego had completely become dormant – I thought nothing of the fantastic and “impossible” nature of my perception – I had no thoughts at all. Then, the most remarkable series of perceptions took place in my consciousness. I initially felt as though I was being lifted out of my body and up into the universe. My consciousness simply drifted up and away. 

            The next perception is truly impossible to describe, but I must make the attempt. It was as if my entire conscious perspective on everything simply opened up like a flower blossom coming into full bloom, and I literally stepped outside of the “mind” that I had known, and called myself, into the whole universe! At some point, I had started counting out a simple sequence of numerals in my meditation, and in that incredible instant went rocketing out beyond the end of the sequence, beyond the end of any sequence of creation, and perceived infinity, went beyond infinity into pure non-dual experience. Now, that’s what I call a trance! At some point in the course of the experience, I had the vision of the Mystical meaning of the Tetragrammaton, as revealed by the Shepard awaking in his tent, that I have described in Samadhi. I now believe that I remained in more or less deep trance for at least two days, including Christmas Day, 1997. I was able to conduct my affairs as always, but my consciousness was occupied elsewhere.  

            It is significant that my awareness of time also completely dissolved along with the perception of the numerical sequence that I, for some incomprehensible reason, had begun to recite to myself. It was like being completely ripped out of all normal perception of the things that we take for granted – space, time, gravity, the body, personal sense of self, everything, and being delivered to another completely new and radically changed reality, not merely an altered state on consciousness, but an altered state of being.

            We seem to be the prisoners of something in this life of apparent constriction and limitation, but what is the enclosure wherein we are bound? It is easy to say “I am trapped in my body of flesh”, but that “body” is merely another perception taking place in my “mind”. It is equally easy to say “I am trapped in my Karma”, and this is still another mental perception of a subject-object relationship – “me” and “Karma”. And I can say “I am trapped in my bubble of time”, which I call my lifetime, but this still leaves the subject-object paradox intact – “me” and “my lifetime”.  If these were merely verbal quandaries, it would be convenient to dismiss them and move on to other things, but we live in our perception, and if that perception is fundamentally flawed, we have big problems at hand. I am convinced that the subject-object dichotomy constitutes a major flaw in perception that we learn to practice from our culture – it is neither intrinsic nor inevitable. It is heavily conditioned from early childhood, however, and very difficult to modify for that reason.  It would appear, to all apparent intents and purposes, that what we are “trapped” in is our perceptual conditioning.  

            In fact, Yoga refers to this conditioning as “The Mind Trap”, appropriately enough, and is devoted, at least in spiritual Yoga practice, to liberating the intrinsically valid human consciousness from it, through postural and social deconditioning, and the practice of the Yoga Lifestyle as described by Patanjali. Now, a very interesting discovery is frequently made during the practice of spiritual Yoga – we find that we are attached to our “Mind Trap” by more than social conditioning – we are attached by the desire for objects, and object gratification. This phenomenon seems to be rooted in the sense perception of the physical body and its many appetites. This is why Patanjali advocated the practices of austerity and renunciation as integral to the Yoga Lifestyle – they tend to curb the physical obsession with gratification.  

            This observation is very relevant to our discussion of time. Why? Because we expect the march of time to provide us with ongoing opportunities to experience sensory gratification, or, at the very least, symbolic ego gratification! But, with the harsh advent of old age, the transitory nature of gratification becomes increasingly apparent. It is no wonder that the elderly so often feel cheated by life – they have customarily spent all their days in the Mind Trap, never knowing that their condition could at least be questioned. Even questioning reality, and the social authorities that hold the Trap in place, is a powerful tool for mental liberation. The most effective liberation approaches begin training the mental process to recognize the Trap in its many variants from early childhood on, and present countermeasures known to be effective in combating it. In my opinion, the single most effective countermeasure that can be initiated by anyone, in any condition, at any time, is meditation.  

            Meditation reveals the superficial nature of our sensory condition for the transitory manifestation that it is, by neutralizing the ego that reinforces that condition. What I experienced in Samadhi was the true state of consciousness – non-dual integration with the Totality of Creation. This is what we all are, if our conditioning can but be set aside for an interval, if we can, in fact, step outside even the concept of “an interval” happening in “a location” at all. It requires great sacrifices to do this, but the benefits are well worth it, for we all must dance with Mother Kali through the Gate of Destruction at the end of this life, and no activity prepares one for this inevitable passage more effectively than meditation. 

            So we have a choice – on one hand, the comfortable, familiar world of our temporally defined conditioning, and, on the other, the frequently harsh acknowledgement of the Truth of Consciousness. The first seems to be filled with the possibility of gratification, but will leave us unfulfilled eventually. The second is openly austere, but focused on the reality of physical existence, and the means to relieve as much suffering in that existence as possible. The wisdom of Meditation and Yoga offers what real hope can be found in this life of transitory phantoms and lingering delusion, and that is a substantial hope. We need only heed the call of Truth, and take the first steps along the Path of Enlightenment!


                                          - With Love, Alan -

                                  (CR2007, Alan Schneider)


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