What is one of the most limiting ideas that our physical senses report to us? The idea of time. "Time! Where's it going? I can't hold onto anything, try as I might: what I won; how you felt; the way she looked; the things I love..." Like the torrent of a strange river that vanishes from view as it rounds an impassable bend in a shadow-filled gorge, what is past just disappears, leaving only memory in its wake, itself subject to the ravaging passage of time. "I'm without power here! I'd better turn myself around and start looking in the other direction -- better look ahead to the future --but wait a minute, I don't believe in what will be so much anymore because tomorrow never really comes... only more of its empty promises."
Virtually all of us are living in a moment in which everything (seemingly) is flowing out in one direction that we can't quite get our hands on before it's gone -- and by the same token, everything else in our life appears to be on its way -- only whatever that's to be is not here yet!
The flow of time from our point of view is like a run-off stream from a brief rainstorm hitting a dry desert floor. The sands swallow its water without leaving any evidence of it ever having been wetted. Our life's experiences lie in the sand of what we call the past. The moment they're gone, they are gone. We can observe people all the time desperately digging through what was, hoping to put their hands onto the life they knew that's no longer in sight. They are digging in the desert, trying to find those brief, passing waters that once refreshed their lives.
When the digging is too painful or unfruitful, these same people try turning around to face a hopeful future: "Maybe I'll find what's missing by looking in this direction." Everything in one direction is temporary, passing, fleeting -- gone. Everything in the other direction -- hasn't yet arrived.
We live in now, but our physical senses report to us this undetected, perfectly present moment as a kind of unreality -- an untouchable medium through which all things flow, but in which we can get our hands on nothing, including ourselves. Everything we're looking for in life is ultimately a search for something through which we can come to know and hopefully possess ourselves. But where are we looking for "I"? Aren't we always wondering, "where did it go?" "He did love me!" "Oh, she's changing!" Or, "Wait, I'm sure it's coming!" That "I" is never real, never remains permanent for us, because the sense of "I" is always connected to that which has just passed, or to that which may be coming.
On the other hand, isn't the definition of eternity something that has no beginning and that never ends? Listen to this wonderful new (but ancient) idea. Everything that ever was or ever will be... already exists. When God created the heavens and the earth, the entire thing was made complete from beginning to end. In Ecclesiastes we are told: I know that whatsoever God doeth it shall be done forever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it."
In God's world, all already is; it is an established creation with all possibilities. The past, present and future are not in time because they are eternal creations. But within our present level of awareness -- that limited consciousness granted to us through our senses -- there is this sense of the movement of time.
Our whole life is about trying to get hold of something that's coming or to hold on to something that's already gone, so that we meet everything and relate to all events from a sense of passing time -- a sense of self that includes our feelings of loss and the hope of gain. All our relationships are based in this one pervasive and often painful idea.
But now we are learning who we really are is and always has been a part of the eternity that God created in the beginning, and that all of our past and our future was made in the beginning. Who we really are cannot be lost. It is within our power to understand another remarkable passage from Ecclesiastes: He hath set Eternity in the heart of man.
Your spiritual work, step by step, is to begin the deliberate process of bringing new ideas into the present ideas you have of yourself -- new ideas that actually show you the limitations and suffering inherent in the ideas you've been unconsciously living from. You don't have to look to anyone else for your sense of "I," nor in the world's opinion of you, nor in any other place you've ever mistakenly looked for it.
Begin by noticing what you are connected to in the moment -- and then consciously bring into that relationship the new idea that everything is already done. Yes, it's done. And if there is anything in you that resonates with the idea that you can't make yourself into more than what God has already done, then you have a seed of something timeless, and you can begin to let that idea have its life within you.
Repeatedly bring yourself back to yourself and then, from within this present self-awareness, realize that instead of being connected to that "you" that is always struggling to get something, hoping to become someone, trying to resolve things -- surrender yourself to the understanding that the whole issue of who you are is already resolved. Let go and know that life is complete, timeless, and so are you.