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How was your day tomorrow?
How was your day tomorrow?
Was it pleasant? Stressful? Just another typical day?
“But tomorrow hasn’t yet occurred,” you say.
So you say.
But it has. Tomorrow is just as existent as yesterday.
The laws of physics describe what is known as an eternalistic universe. Which means that every point in space and time are equally real.
Consider this: you have a close friend who lives six thousand miles from you. Let’s say you are in South America and your mate in Europe. Would it be strange to hear your friend describe events around them in Poland while you lounge in your São Paulo apartamento?
Of course not. We have no issue contemplating different points in space as co-existent in reality. It makes no difference if those six thousand miles are east, west, north, south, or even up / down. In fact, it could be a quarter million miles - between astronauts on the moon and Mission Control on earth. Every point in space is as real as every other.
But time? Why do we experience time differently? Why does it seem that time to the “left” (what we refer to as the past) is very different from time to the “right” (our sense of the future)? Furthermore, why does it seem that time to the left was real but is no longer, while time to the right is unreal and completely imaginary?
After all, the laws of physics make absolutely no distinction between time in one direction or another. It is only our experience of time that leads to such quirkiness.
Our struggle with the idea that tomorrow is as real as yesterday has nothing to do with neural limbic limitations. The brain is perfectly capable of perceiving time similarly to space.
No, the real reason we don’t experience a universal temporal equality is because directional time serves a very specific purpose: it synthesizes emotion.
Every emotion we experience is dependent on linear time. You cannot have fear without a future. You cannot have guilt without a past. Sadness, happiness, boredom … all functions of the past and/or future.
More to the point: directional time makes judgement possible. Without a past and future, there is no judgement. And that is why tomorrow seems very different from yesterday. We made linear time in order to judge.
Every situation, every person, every thing - we assess as good, bad, indifferent. Every emotion we experience is a form of judgment acted out in our body.
As we read in A Course in Miracles:
Time is a trick, a sleight of hand, a vast illusion in which [past and future] … are different and can be told apart. (W-pI.158.4, T-27.VIII.1)
Thus all pain, all fear, all guilt … everything we consider “negative” - has one and only one source: the belief in linear time. The belief that tomorrow is separate from, and different than, yesterday. The belief in a “flowing” of time, as if it were some sort of unidirectional river.
Time is no river. No more than space can flow.
Time, like space, simply is. Yesterday is. Tomorrow is as well.
So if we want to escape from all pain, then we’d be well served to revisit our deeply entrenched beliefs in time and our need to judge. Letting go of judgment immediately unlocks the bondage of time imprisonment. And leads to the most extraordinary sense of peace.
Our tomorrow is exceptional because, just like yesterday, we chose glorious freedom. And once we step out of the chronological grip of judgment, that fact becomes apparent.
Join me in Thursday’s class where we’ll explore the nature of time, and practices we can learn to transcend its seemingly malevolent tick, tick, ticking. I look forward to seeing you then.