Joy, wisdom and time

Earlier, briefly, I was sad, thinking what did I do to deserve this? (I don’t feel that way very often.) But also, what did I do to deserve the joy and wisdom that has come from it too? The joy and wisdom of being able to see how unimportant most things are that we think and worry about. The joy and wisdom of being in the present, with my self, with the others I love. The miracle of how so much of my body works, and the ability and time to tune into that, and to how everything, everything works together.For me now I must simultaneously keep striving, and take it easy on myself. That is the balance. And know that the balance is always there, anyway. The balance is always happening. Part of my sense of the present is the sense that all time is eternally present. This is from TS Eliot’s Four Quartets. Here is the start of the first quartet, Burnt Norton:

‘Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.’

When I searched for these words, I also found a Wikipedia article,, which talks about J.W. Dunne, who wrote about these ideas in 1927, and is probably TS Eliot’s source. I’ll have to find out more about him. I know that some physicists also study this concept now. I read a New Scientist article which discussed how, in physics, there is no reason why time cannot flow in any direction, and that it must all be simultaneous. The linear perception of time in consciousness, it is suggested, is an evolutionary mechanism making it possible to co-ordinate physical consumption of food and existence in three dimensions. If we did not have this linear perception of time, we couldn’t eat, because we wouldn’t be able to see exactly where our food was, if we could simultaneously see its ‘time track’ for even the previous or subsequent moments with the same sense of reality. You can see the start of this article at  

If all time is eternally present, why should the future be anything to be afraid of?


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Filed under Philosophy, Quotes, Reading, Spirituality

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