“When you consciously use time to do something divine, you are entering into divine Time which means timeless Time. When you are consciously thinking of something divine, immediately eternal Life comes and shakes hands with you. Each moment you want to go upward through aspiration, the eternal Time also becomes your friend.”
—Sri Chinmoy, from Transformation-Night, Immortality-Dawn
I got into my car in Rhode Island at 6:50 pm, showered and dressed in a sari for a meditation function starting around one hour later in Queens, New York, 180 miles away. I prayed that if it was God’s Will that I might experience my own taste of timeless time in order to arrive in New York more quickly than usual. If thus blessed, it would be as if I entered into a time warp or that time itself slowed down while I drove. It had actually happened enough times previously that I knew it was entirely plausible. Therefore, I put it out to the universe, meditated for a minute before leaving, put my key in the ignition and got on the highway heading south to New York City.
While driving, I purposely didn’t look at the illuminated clock face inside the car and just concentrated on feeling eager, willing and inspired to share a meditation function with my spiritual brothers and sisters in Queens inside the soul-elevating surroundings of a place we call “Aspiration-Ground”.
Ordering up a time warp? Timeless time? Time is a subject pondered by philosophers, scientists and theologians alike. The question of time begs some of the greatest issues people ever confront. When was the beginning of creation? Can it be measured in years? Does God exist above and outside time? What is Eternity? What is time itself?
Before I became a spiritual seeker, I viewed these notions as the realm of physicists or famous philosophers and my own conception of time was much more pedestrian. I viewed time as a captive of the clock and never imagined a world outside the regular sequence of time as measured by that self-same clock.
As I practised meditation with my spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy, I began to experience time in a way that seemingly defied the clock. Time started to seem more fluid than linear. Time was something that could be stopped, bent or warped. This phenomenon manifested in my life primarily in the time it took to travel between locations.
I often go by car between my home in Rhode Island and Jamaica, Queens, New York - a hub of community for the Sri Chinmoy Centre meditation group to which I belong. Because this distance is only several hours away by car and it always renews my inner life with inspiration and sincerity, I average a trip to New York about once a month. I even have a regular place to stay once I arrive and I enjoy attending meditation meetings and other Sri Chinmoy Centre activities there in Queens.
The average shortest time for the 180 mile trip by car is usually 3 hours. Many times it takes longer than 3 hours depending on the volume of traffic, accident delays or the need to make short stops along the way. And then there are those times when it takes less time than ought to be imaginable, let alone possible. Sometimes this familiar trek to New York and back seems to expand and contract time in a manner that facilitates an easy commute convenient for the itinerary and obligations waiting on either end.
As recently as a month ago, I decided to make the trip to New York even though I was traveling alone and not leaving Rhode Island until shortly before the Saturday evening Queens meditation was scheduled to begin. I rarely go to New York on weekends when I work 9-5 on a Saturday such as this one but it included a Monday holiday. The trip would still last a couple of days even without a full Saturday included.
Circumstance favored me and while I did not drive like a speedster, I was able to make the entire trip without any stops, major interruptions or traffic slowdowns. I sailed through the Throgs Neck Bridge toll, exited off the Grand Central Parkway and successfully found a place to park around the corner from Annam Brahma, a vegetarian restaurant run by Sri Chinmoy’s students. I stopped the car and meditated for a minute, offering silent gratitude for the ease of the journey.
As I walked into Aspiration-Ground, I looked at my wristwatch—it was exactly 9:30 pm. I had arrived at a meditation function in progress and as it turned out still far from finished for the night.
I purposely chose not to do the math right there and then but I knew without a doubt that I had been blessed with an answer to my prayer. I had entered “timeless time” and made it to New York in an amount of time that should have been impossible unless I had been speeding the whole way at a breakneck pace. I knew that rather than speeding hurriedly down the road I had just merged into a flow where it is possible to step outside normal clock time.
My heart was awash with gratitude as I stood outside a glass door to a tent through which I could see an audience of seekers sitting in the dark while a meditation video played on a large portable screen. Out of deference to this meditation segment in progress, I waited until it finished to enter the tent. Once inside, my inner being danced in a current of spiritual intensity inextricably connected to this place where I have attended countless meditations in the last 25 years.
While I will never be the one to easily explain lofty philosophical concepts about time or the layperson’s approach to the real meaning of E = mc2, I do know first-hand that time is not as straightforward as the clock makes it appear. In my own life, the transformation of time into something magical and flexible is linked to eagerness, willingness and aspiration. These qualities open a door to a manner of time that transcends ordinary perception.
Sri Chinmoy speaks of this different kind of time in the following selections from his writings:
“There are two kinds of time. One is earthbound time and the other is eternal Time. The earthbound time is what we have created, but eternal Time cannot be created. It is within us and without us. When we live in eternal Time, we cannot separate one second from another second. When we live in earthbound time, we know that it is one o’clock and then it is one minute past one. They are two separate minutes. But in eternal Time, we cannot separate the minutes or hours. In eternal Time one o’clock, two o’clock, three and four o’clock are all together. This is the difference between eternal Time and earthbound time. We can see the present, past and future perfectly housed in eternal Time, and this eternal Time we can easily possess when we are Self-realised.”
—Sri Chinmoy, from Transformation-Night, Immortality-Dawn
“Time is limited, energy is limited, opportunity is limited, capacity is limited—everything is limited. But the moment we go deep within, we feel that we are freed; we are enjoying Heaven-freedom. When we meditate we soulfully establish an access to something unlimited, ceaseless, eternal and immortal. It is only through proper meditation that we can free ourselves from the limited time that has been assigned to us. There is no other way. In sublime, deep, profound, high meditation we see that there is an eternal Time, which is without limits and without sections, and we can grow into the very current of that ever-flowing eternal Time.”
Eternal Time without limits as a place where the present, past and future reside together feels quite out of my league at first glance. Then I stop and remember—2 hours and 40 minutes door to door from my house to a meditation function 180 miles away without any logical external explanation. 2 hours and 40 minutes. Yes I do believe in a kind of spiritual magic called timeless time.
Drawing from illustrated poems by Sharani