Saturday, September 22, 2012

Relative Time, Absolute Change

From the retreat I brought back these notes, from Leigh's lecture on 'time':

We look at impermanence, realizing that everything that arises passes until it eventually ceases to exist. We usually understand this on an intellectual level, but we need to 'see' it. It is so pervasive that we miss it. 
What is now?
What is the past? Just memories.
What is the future? Just fantasies.
The truth is, it's always now, and it's always changing. Time is just our attempt to measure the underline phenomenon of change. Time is an illusion, and a difficult one to navigate. We are always here, now. Our world is ephemeral.
It's all a sandcastle, guys. Every bit of it!

Now, try this practice, as I have:

Try walking without thinking time, and instead just 'see' change. Try being really present for the now. 

Mind blowing, literally!


  1. Abother worthwhile practice is to contemplate a view--say a row of trees or a city street --and ask yourself if it is inside the mind or outside the mind.This contemplation can then be extened to all kinds of visual consiouness including people we meet and actions we seem to be making in the present moment etc.Inside or outside the mind? Always ask this question.

  2. Thank you, Michael! I love Ayya Khema's image of the onion. Peeling the onion until there is nothing left . . .

  3. Thanks for sharing your retreat notes, Marguerite. This reminded me of Padmasambhava's "Self-Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness":

    "... Thoughts in the past are clear and empty and leave no traces behind.

    Thoughts in the future are fresh and unconditioned by anything.

    And in the present moment, when mind remains in its own condition without constructing anything, awareness in itself is quite ordinary. And when you look into yourself in this way nakedly without any discursive thoughts since there is only this pure observing, there will be found a lucid clarity without anyone being there who is the observer. Only a naked manifest awareness is present.
    This is the real introduction to the actual condition of things."

    It is one of the most profound instructional texts I know of to introduce one to this as you say "mind-blowing" state. Your post was a great reminder! :)

  4. Hi Marguerite, I believe, the past, the present and even the future is just a 'now' phenomenon. Time as you rightly say is a concept and man made.

  5. Helpful to me is the idea of navigating between absolute and relative. Time belongs to the relative. Change and 'now' belong to the absolute. We need both.