Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
Religie & Mystiek
Thoughts float by for man – thoughts of a ‘new’ future, thoughts of new times, thoughts of new changes and thoughts of a new life too! These thoughts bear the colour of ‘HOPE’. These thoughts nourish the ego with grandiose expectations. Man looks into the future to do away with the old and to usher in the new! Somehow man is convinced that the new is what he or she is looking for, seeking and searching: the belief that the new is what would make man happy!
Thoughts of a new future, time, change and life are not something new to man. These thoughts have plagued man from primordial times, when man’s mind began to dream! Many years have passed by; generations have changed; yet the ‘NEW’ that would make man happy has yet to arrive! Will it ever arrive? Or has it arrived and man has failed to recognise it? If it has arrived how could it yet again arrive in the future? These thoughts have to be pondered.
Firstly, man must investigate if there could be anything called the ‘OLD’? Is there anything in life that could be ‘Old’ in the absolute sense of the term; old that is independent and separate from the new? If there could be such an old, independent entity, where could the separation point between the old and the new be found? Could man determine such a point? NO is the obvious answer.
It is vital to understand that all that is seen, heard, smelt, tasted or touched as new is how the old appears presently. The new is how the old appears now! Old is nothing but the new now! And the new becomes the old the very moment it is experienced as new!
The old and the new are two sides of the same coin called change! There is nothing existing in life that is new with the old being separate from it. The old and the new are not separate from each other. When such is life, how could there be anything called new: new that is existing all by itself independent of the old? If man wants the new he or she must be ready to accept the old embedded within the new!
The old was the new a moment ago and the new will be old the very next moment. And these two moments of old that was new and new that will be old are not separate from each other, have never been separate and never will be separate from each other. So the dream of something ‘new’ will always remain a dream and never will “new” be an independent entity. If it could be an independent entity then everything in life would be permanent, for new would never become old. Objects would not disintegrate, there would be no need for repair, vegetation would not wither away, animals would never die, and man would never age. There could never be any prospect of growth whatsoever. Life would just be unable to manifest itself. Manifestation would not be possible at all! Life happens, for the old and new are a constant transformation of energy phenomenon! Old is less of new in it and new is less of old in it! Or new is how the old looks or old is how the new looks. Both are the same with different degrees of change!
This constant changing of the old as new and the new as old is very fast. The mind cannot function at such speed. Therefore, it separates the old from the new so that it can function. This is a deception, an illusion, for there can never be anything old or new separate from each other!
Man must understand that life changes and is changing at great speeds, for energy cannot be destroyed for the old to be dead, nor can energy be created for the new to be born! Energy merely transforms from one form to another! When man perceives that life is changing rapidly would he find the need to look for the ‘new’? Man would then find everything in life new, fresh and alive. He would have gone beyond the mind and would function at the speed of change! Man would have no notion of anything old! Spontaneously, at that very moment, every notion of new would vanish too from the mind! Man would have attained a natural state of changelessness for he would have no notion of change - changeless meaning being alive every moment! The moment that is eternal! Man would have no notion of death either, for death is always old! Man can never wish for new death! Man can however wish, dream and imagine a new life but never a new death! By being the changeless man would have conquered death! This body withering away would be perceived as a transformation with no concepts of life or death! Man would have become precious life itself: life that is beyond mental concepts of life and death!
When man talks about the ‘new’, he has actually not spoken of the ‘new’ as something really ‘new’, for the new that man could think of would always have a reference to the old or that, which is dead! Therefore, it is vital to understand that man constantly speaks only about the dead and not that which is alive, fresh and new, for it is just not possible! The new has to be lived and cannot be thought of! Love is connected to life and thoughts are connected to death! Man can only remember the old and the dead and not the new and the alive! If such is the predicament of the mind what point is there in hoping for the new when man can never remember it? The new can only be lived but not remembered! Though man only remembers the dead, these dead are usually objects and events - but as a constant feature.
Man wants to change but never wishes to become new - new that is beyond anything that could be old. But man’s expectations of a new man are once again based on his concepts of old! Therefore, man merely wishes for the same old man but not for something really new! This new man is he or she who does not wish for the new! Or a change! So much for the old, but what about future?
What could future be? Is future a place? Is future time where events happen? Is future real? Is future existing? Could future be visited, examined or merely be imagined? These queries have to be examined if any sort of sanity or peace is to prevail within man. If future is a place, has man ever visited it, trodden on it and lived in it? Such a place has never been found or will be found, for such a place does not exist. If it does exist where could it exist? Man does not know it and, if he or she does not know it, how could it ever be found, for man would never know where to look for future? Though man dreams of future he must understand that he or she could never live in a place called future, for such a place is a figment of imagination of a dreaming mind!
The future is not a realm of time realistically. A rocket could travel from a point in time to-day, go around the world and back again to the same point within minutes. In so doing the rocket would have travelled through to-morrow, visited yesterday and be back once again in to-day - all within a matter of minutes. If to-morrow and yesterday were really 24 hours of duration, could such a travel be possible? If to-morrow was really 24 hours of duration then the rocket would be stuck in to-morrow for that period of time. And the same situation would trap the rocket in yesterday. And since yesterday is dead there would be no chance of the rocket either coming out of it into today or entering it from to-morrow! To enter the past the rocket would need to come to the present initially. But the rocket does not trespass this in its journey round the world. So how did the rocket go from to-morrow to yesterday? And, more importantly, come back into the present from a dead past? There never is a future or a past. All there is is the present now where the rocket was all the time. The change in the intensity of light in the present gives birth to the existence of time called the future or the past. Therefore, one must understand that since future is fictional all notions of new future too are fictional, illusory and non-existent. All there is is the ever changing ‘now’. The now that is new, fresh and alive. If future does not exist, nor the past, could the present exist? What meaning could the present have if future and past did not exist? Hence, even the present is fictional for time is absent in the present. In life all that is present is the timeless ‘now’.
Could the future be real? If it is to be real then it has to be independent, absolute and habitable. But has any man lived in the future? Or even been able to think of the future without reference to the past? This would be impossible, for all notions of future arise from the background of the past! And since past is non-existent as a place or time how could future exist as something real? The ‘now’ is the future. The now is the past. The now is a two-sided coin, one side is the past and the other side is the future, and they are both joined together by the present! Every moment is the past, present and future and they are not separate realms of place.
In the present it is impossible to identify an event or even speak about it in the present. An event is always spoken of after it has passed away as the past! The mind cannot think in the present as the present. It can only think the present as the past or the future. If such is life, it only means that an event cannot exist in the present if it cannot be spoken of as being in the present! This suggests that an event is non-existent in the present. All that is in the present is a rapidly transforming energy! If an event is non-existent in the present how could it have gone into the past? Therefore, an event cannot exist in the past for the event has not existed in the present in the first place. When events are absent in the past how could events exist in the future? Thinking of new events in the future remains only as thoughts and not as actual events in space and time! So what point is there in dreaming of a new future when such a future could never be visited, experienced or lived? When man lives the ever present ‘now’ in total alertness, man would have lived the future in the ‘now’! Man would live the ‘now’ as the future! Such a man would not dream that better times are coming in the future!
Man is governed by time. Time dominates man. Man believes he lives in time. If the hands in the clock are removed and the clock keeps ticking, is time revealed by the ticking? If thoughts did not move would there be time? Since thoughts move in the mind they create time just as the hands of clock create time by their circular movement. If thoughts are time then, for time to be present in the present, there has to be a thought of time in the present. But the present when examined contains only sound but not a thought. A thought exists in the mind and not in life. Therefore, life is timeless and mind is full of time. Time is nothing but transformed sound as thoughts of time, but time as a realistic entity is absent in life! If time is absent in the present how could better times exist in the future? The better times in the future are nothing but better thoughts in the mind! The ‘now’ is without time and the time of the future is just a thought in the mind! If time is absent in life and a change can occur only in time, is it possible for life to be changing in the present? For anything to change would require time! Therefore, life is not changing but spontaneously transforming itself at speeds the mind just cannot register or comprehend.
Man wishes, hopes and desires that better times in the future would bring about changes in life! How could this be possible? A change can occur only in time and, since time is absent in life, how could there ever be changes in the future when the very possibility of a change in the present is impossible, as time is absent in the present! Everything is changing rapidly in the ever present ‘now’. Man can expect a change if change has come to a stand-still. If no change is happening in life, then a change could be dreamt of or imagined. But when life is constantly changing every moment how could an alternative change take place? When life is changing, whether the mind likes it or not, what point is there in wishing or dreaming for a change? What is it that man wishes to change when nothing can be identified in the present as not changing? Changing is nothing but a transforming process of energy. Energy that is life!
Also, why does man wish or dream of a change? He or she does so basically because of being unhappy, dissatisfied, and discontented about the change that is already happening in life! If change that is happening makes man restless, anxious or keeps him in agony, would not any other form of change do the same, for it is change that is the culprit for generating disharmony to man? Is there any way that man could be certain that a particular change would make him or her happy? And if it does, could that change be permanent so that the happiness too could be everlasting? Would that particular change not change too? And what certainty is there that the oncoming change would result in happiness? Would not this uncertainty cause anxiety for man? All because of expectations of better future, better times, better life!
There is no need for change because life is changing every moment. The nature of life is change. The moment man realizes that life is a changing phenomenon he will, at the very moment of total realization, become the ever-changing life. The ever-changing will become his nature. Man will perceive that his or her nature is a constant, changing phenomenon. The ever-changing will be perceived to be ‘new’ with no notion of any change being needed. Man would not dream of better times for, as it is, life would be perceived to be as blissful as it ever could be, for life is changing! This is the new man. A contented man.
With this understanding man transcends into the eternal, changeless state from which the ever-changing life gets manifested as a feast of light and sound.
© Copyright V.S. Shankar, 2005