2019 is here. Whether you celebrated that fact or not, the new calendar year has begun. We have officially agreed that our planet is starting a new cycle of 365 days. Our birthdays are a more personal 365 day kickoff with best wishes and many happy returns of the day (with hope it was not an unhappy day). Time is invisible and yet it rules our daily lives.
As I have written before, the Greeks named the God of Time, Kronos, which we spell Chronos; from which we derive the words, chronology, chronicle, chronic, synchronous, etc. This god was a not exactly a nice entity in that he consumed his children, but he did have a grandson named Kairos. Kairos represents an entirely different sense of time, or actually, ‘no time.’ Kairos represents NOW, in which our sense of past and future is subsumed. He appears not as a moment in linear time, he just is; timeless.
Jesus used the word kairos as meaning “in God’s appointed time,” which is unbounded and unlimited by human thought. Hippocrates used kairos to mean “the right use of treatment at the right time by which healing occurs”, using intuition, not just the application of the science of his time. As a culture defined by space and time, we agree that time marches on in a linear fashion from the past, through the now point, and beyond into the infinite future. It is difficult to contemplate any other way of existence.
For me, as I delve into Silence, I experience the foundation of being in Kairos. There is no split between Kronos and Kairos; they more and more appear to me as one and the same. That is, my world- bound sense of time is created out of ‘no time’. In that way, they are not separate at all. This amazing universe baffles scientists as they have not yet pinpointed the reality of matter. The more quantum physicists name smaller and smaller molecules that comprise an atom, the more it appears they don’t actually exist as ‘things’, only as energy. We have known for a while that the observer affects whether we see a molecule as a particle or a wave. Niels Bohr, a Nobel prize winner in physics, said, “If quantum mechanics hasn’t primarily shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet. Everything we call real is made up of things that cannot be regarded as real.”
R.C. Henry, a professor of physics and anatomy at Johns Hopkins University said, “ The Universe begins to look more like a great thought rather than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. Get over it, and accept the inarguable conclusion. The universe is immaterial- mental and spiritual.”
My own explorations in questing deeper are heartened by knowing that centuries of mystics are affirmed by modern scientists. By consenting beliefs, humans have largely ignored the ‘inarguable conclusion’ and insist that time and space are the inalterable foundations of our lives. Many believe in a singular god that a created it just that way. Scientists ignore what does not fit into their predetermined assumptions. The inexplicable mysteries and gaps are plugged in with the idea we just have to keep investigating everything from dark matter to the placebo effect until we find proof of what we have decided, must be so. This flies in the face of most scientific inquiry. Asking deeper questions threatens too much of life as we know it, rendering ‘getting over it’ very uncomfortable. That singular entity of God is also assigned responsibility for mysteries because His ways are unknowable. For me, an unknowable, limitless god is a religious name for awareness or consciousness.
It seems that time is, and is not. As I join my elders here at Kendal we all find that time seems more and more illusory. And we still pay our taxes ‘on time’. Aging naturally affords a slowing down of activity and invites more being. My meditation classes here are slowly expanding with people who find support for the benign process of the dissolution of who they were, for how their identities of ‘doing’ keep downshifting. They are atheists, Christians, Jews, Quakers, and a few Buddhists. We sit together, invoking stillness. We are finding, each in our own way, the taste of inherent love, peace, creativity, and quiet joy in plumbing Silence, a path to the effervescent foundation of being. Kairotic awareness does not shift and change. It is for me a refuge; an endless plenum of still spaciousness in the chaotic splendor of daily life.