We mostly think of time as something that passes, moment after moment, marking one event after the other in a sequential order. The older we get, the more we seem to become aware of this, as if slowly but surely our time is running out. Yet we have all probably experienced moments, however brief, when time just seemed to drop away or didn’t exert any of its usual limitations. And Zen practice can deepen this exhilarating experience. If we are fully present – right here, right now – time stretches out in all directions simultaneously and seamlessly includes past, present, and future. There is nothing other than this very moment and it travels with us wherever we go. We see that our usual conception of time is an illusion and we are reborn into a new and exciting life, where we can meet all the Buddhas and ancestors, and be enlightened by all things.
Still, trees wither, and flowers fall. Even the Buddha himself died at some point. Although time is an illusion, we have to live with it. And that happens to be a lot easier if we recognize our timelessness – in fact, it takes away unnecessary fears and gives us a deep appreciation of the fleeting moments of our human existence. So, it is of great importance to discern the timeless as well as the temporary, the non-linear as well as the linear quality of our life.