I feel that the most interesting question that I have ever heard continuously from many people is…
“Where did time go?”
After all, time is what completely shapes our experience as human beings.
The past, the knowledge you have gained, and the experiences you have gone through have shaped how you view the present.
With that being said, the knowledge that we have gained, and the experiences that we have been through are an extremely limited scope of what is truly available right now for every human being.
What this means is that if the past is all we know, then we don’t truly know the present.
Let’s assume that you take the human experience to be directly related to what life means.
Now reconsider that question through the lens of what you take life to be.
“Where did Life go?”
From a logical mind perspective, it makes sense. More times than I can count, I’ve previously asked myself or others where did time go?
Time seemed to be moving at an exponential rate, and it was really depressing to contemplate really just how fast life is moving by, we are getting older, and how short life really is.
We keep moving year by year, month by month, day by day, taking care of our responsibilities, paying our bills, going to work, going to school, enjoying the weekends, rinsing, washing, and repeating.
When we wonder where life went, it is painful. It essentially reminds us that nothing lasts forever, and one day, we will inevitably be faced with the eternal unknown. (Death)
THAT IS assuming we take life to be based on our experiences within time.
Here is what I mean.
When you can understand something intellectually or based on knowledge, it does not mean that you can understand it by knowing it.
Intellectually understanding something means your mind’s ability to analyze, interpret, and grasp a worldly phenomenon.
Say you want to go skydiving, but first, you want to know all about it.
So, you ask many people who have gone skydiving what it was like.
“OH BOY!” they tell you.
“It was the most thrilling experience I have ever gone through. The sheer anticipation of a free fall next to the clouds!”
You watch videos, read books, read more experiences, and by the end, you know ALL about skydiving, intellectually.
But until you have gone skydiving, you will only know about skydiving intellectually. Once you take the plunge, physically speaking, will you KNOW what it means to go skydiving?
Rather than it being what your mind understands, it will be what your body knows in its direct experience.
In a similar manner, the mind understands that the only constant externally is change. And that the only thing that does not change is change.
We understand this on an intellectual level, as we use the figure of speech that “Time sure is flying” but there still seems to be something missing.
If there was not something missing, then that statement would never have to enter our psyche ever again.
Here is why…
If you take a look directly in front of you right now, you will see that because clock time is passing you by, that change is happening right in front of your eyes.
Change is not something that is occurring, occurrences happen periodically and can be measured.
Change itself cannot be measured, that is the same every perception on earth, and thus, it cannot be defined by being fluid as a characteristic, but rather by being fluidity itself.
It’s like a river that continues to roll downstream that never started and will never end.
But because your perception is born from the past, this present moment situation seems stable intellectually.
Yet, all of your experiences that arise in and out of it are completely unstable in some form or fashion.
Our present moment situation is changing right before our eyes, even if it doesn’t look like it to the mind.
The mind thinks in terms of patterns, logic, and cause & effect for survival purposes.
This is absolutely necessary for survival because, without some reference point (knowledge), we would not survive physically for very long.
Our projections to the future based on the past are often right in terms of doing what is necessary to pay the bills on time and take care of responsibilities.
The projections to the future based on the past that are right are our own best friend in terms of survival and our own worst enemy in terms of life.
So, why is it that we are missing this change that is right before our very eyes?
Why is it that we know that change is a constant intellectually, but we cannot actually see it consistently?
Here is why.
Until we know what DOES NOT change, will we be able to see clearly what does change.
If everything in the world was the color yellow, we would not know what the color yellow is because there would be no other color to compare it to.
We only know that yellow is yellow because we know the colors green, blue, orange, and so forth. They are different colors, thus, we can compare and distinguish them from one another.
So, until you KNOW what does not change, will you actually be able to see right now that your current life situation is a constant flow and a constant change.
Just like if you want to know skydiving you must actually go, and if you want to know life, then you must actually KNOW.
And the only real way to know life is to know what does change.
The intellect only knows things through its labels, and if all its labels are changing, so, things change, but presence does not.
So when I say…
The period means the end, in the words of Bugs Bunny,
“That’s all folks!”
What it means is that life is already here, and because it’s not changing, it’s already complete.
According to the mind that is constantly projecting the future, it does not seem that way. But because all of our experiences are fleeting, whatever seems to be will not be for much longer.
Presence is knowing that you’re here, not because of your knowledge or intellect, but because you can feel the present on a biological level.
Would just knowing and being an expert intellectually about skydiving have a direct effect on your brain, nervous system, and cells the same way actually jumping from about 20,000 feet would?
The obvious answer is no.
The reason why we don’t know where time is going is that time isn’t going anywhere because it never truly started.
Not according to life, which is.
Clock time is real according to the external. We follow it for practical and logical reasons, but when clock time starts to take over the intellect, it then becomes psychological time.
Where according to the mind, the past and the future are the most important things in our lives. This becomes very painful.
In our life situations, but NOT life, though.
Our life situations are how our present moment situation is taking form, but life itself has no form.
But because knowing, being, the present has no form, that is why it does not change.
It has been said that what you cannot see, taste, touch, smell, or hear is the most impractical.
But because presence is here unchanging, unwavering, and you cannot see, taste, touch, smell, or hear the unseen. It is THE MOST practical.
Not the most practical intellectually, but the most practical, in terms of stable, always, untouched, and unaffected by anything externally.
The reason why you can notice change is that you’re noticing it from what does not change. You.
It means silencing the intellect, the thoughts, the past, the future, and just being.
You don’t have to wait to be here. In fact, you cannot wait to be.
Waiting cannot prolong what is, but it can prolong you from life, from the knowing of what is.
Just as presence allows you to notice what changes, silence is what allows you to hear your thoughts.
My buddy Demetrious and I were having lunch the other day, and there was a ton of noise in the background of our conversation.
I told him that without the silence of the mind, we would not be able to notice any noise.
Because there would be nothing but noise. Nothing but chaos, stress, anxiety, and tension.
But even in your most silent, serene presence, the external is still going to change.
Even in your deepest stillness, the walls of your house are continuing to rot, the roads are still going to break down, fluctuations of pain/pleasure are going to arise, and you are still going to be in the process of dying.
The moment you are born is the moment you begin to die physically, with each and every breath, you’re getting older and closer to official death.
In some of my deepest meditations, I could literally feel my body dying. It is only a tragedy to the intellect that there is death, but to life, it is the most beautiful.
Imagine for a moment if you lived forever, physically speaking.
Just like if everything was the color yellow, you wouldn’t know the color yellow, if you lived forever physically, you wouldn’t know what life is.
If you lived forever physically, you would have nothing to compare it to, and thus, it would be an identical reality to having never been born on this earth.
Because we have been born on earth and we will die, it is what allows us to be here and to be present with the coming and going experiences, and precisely at the same time with what never came and will never go.
So to answer the question…
“Where did life go?”
It never went anywhere, it’s always been here and always will be.