Living in time and out of time

Mostly we live in time, with a sense of where we have been and where we are headed. Sometimes this sense of our life trajectory is conscious, often it is unconscious, part of the deep conditioning that remains largely hidden to the conscious mind.

Sometimes, less often for most of us I’d say, we live out of time in the present moment, with no trajectory: no past, no future.

What are the consequences of these two modes: living in time and out of time? Is one ‘better’ than the other? Realer? Truer? More likely to set man free? To eliminate suffering? To manifest love?

The choice, self centeredness, was made a very long time ago, and now we are stuck with choice as a technique. Self and choice are not different. We are not talking about the choice, this hat, or that drink, we are talking about a deep psychological condition. Yet when there is no separateness, nature and the walker, beauty and the watching, there is no choice at work. I can live the usual day to day life, and then, attentively, nature, beauty, all that, is there. The questions, How did I get there, When am I there, are not the attentiveness.

Or choice is at work but is not perceived as choice.

As you walk through the woods with no sense of separateness, you still choose whether to turn left or right. No one else chooses for you. The woods don’t choose. It’s you.


Living in time engages thought in the form of memory (past) and speculation (future). It storifies the present moment, provides content and context for it, enables you to see it as a single frame in a moving picture.

Living in the present moment excludes thought or limits it to practical things. There is no storyline present for the self or the world. The present moment is all there is, naked, without precedent.

The usual view is that the past is bad, that ideas and images cloud our clear perception of the facts. The usual view is also that being able to “live outside of time”, is what is needed to set man free… upon truly questioning my motives, and my searching for answers, it seems that any mode of living is a gift. We bring to living, what we bring to life. If we see time as an enemy, against us, then we go off in that direction.

I’m not sure if there is really any need to actively exclude thoughts… I feel that the most true “way of seeing”, is seeing itself. and in that no description is needed, time doesn’t really even enter into it, only as “being it”.

There is the view that the present moment is all there really is, that past/present are thought illusions, and that one can only be free by fully inhabiting the present moment, living outside of time.

But I wonder … how free is a freedom that has no room for living with a sense of past->present->future, which is what most of us do most of the time?

Both are essential. We can’t survive without reviewing the past and projecting a future. But if we can’t reside completely in the eternal present as well, we are too limited to realize where and what we are, what actually is, and we can only continue to operate blindly and unawakened until we are dead.

Are living in time and out of time mutually exclusive?

Put another way: Is it possible to be truly free of time, no being in time or out of time, just … being?

No internal metronome, no grid, no clocks … physical or mental.

It depends on what you mean by “time”. We are always here and now in the eternal present, but it’s an ongoing, unfolding movement - it can’t be stopped or delayed. From this there is no escape, no relief, though it may be possible to live without any desire for escape or relief.

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Whether the “answer” is right or wrong, is just simply-being actually a mystery? another way I can think to ask: Is Reality actually hidden, or is everything already real? I question if reality can actually be taught.

No physical or mental attachments or imaginary foundations, only a notion of being-separate, but knowing only that we seem to know.

The terms ‘eternal present’ and ‘ongoing, unfolding movement’ and ‘stopped or delayed’ are all of time, time sets their context. Ditto for ‘in time’ and ‘out of time.’

I’m wondering if it’s possible to be fully and wholly not of time. Clocks would still tick, sunrises would still alternate with sunsets, things would still age … but the notion of time would have nothing to do with it.

We dance round in a ring and suppose.
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

Robert Frost

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It is a question, what is Living? The animals, plants, rivers, oceans, clouds, all that, is not a mechanical fabrication is it? Living, with the living, is an integrated movement. There is no option. Man makes choices for all kind of reasons, and is content to destroy nature, but that does not mean there is no living, and that living is not choiceless. I wonder why think living is a choice? Don’t we mean this day to day life is with day to day choices. We know all that. Aren’t we looking beyond all that, looking for a life free from conflict?

It is true for most of us in present-day society. As we are not free from our attachments, goals, previous memories of hurt and therefore knowledge.

What is unconscious state of mind? can you explain.

I think it is an art, for living in present and using the knowledge from the past for not repeating the same mistake again. It is not simple as I said, but Jiddu said that one should start with not knowing. Then use the knowledge for tackling the situations.

I see that it is just a state of mind to view the same situation in different aspects.

Past knowledge is important as you said. In some situations, I do feel that I am very limited to realize the situation I am facing.

I think there should be a simple way for seeing things around us even without understanding.:slightly_smiling_face:

Mental activity (thoughts, ideas, images, emotions, etc.) not seen by the conscious mind. I think the unconscious is responsible for a great deal of what we think and do. Meditative work can bring some, but I doubt all, unconscious activity into consciousness.

Yes! An art.

My perception of unconsciousness is like this. When we are in deep sleep, we go unconscious or else if we are sedated strongly we go unconscious. In the unconscious state only dreams will happen, as per my observation.

In this context, may be you are saying about taking decisions with out being aware of the situation as being ‘unconscious’.:slight_smile:

There is a difference in our perception.

We know, logically, that the “simple way” is directly, immediately, but we are operating in a complicated way, the raison detre and the convoluted complexity of which we can’t see without simplicity.

I do agree that we are operated in a complicated way.

I think, simplicity is important. May be I am wrong. :slight_smile: