Humanitiy’s Relationship to Time

Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 112 | March 01, 1963


Greetings, my dearest, dearest friends. Blessings for every one of you. Blessings for your work on this path.

Every living organism experiences visible changes, which represent milestones in its process of growth. When I speak of a living organism, I do not refer only to an individual. A group like this is a living, growing organism, because it stands on a healthy foundation, enabling many more individuals to cultivate their growth. Every one of you who participates in this work contributes to the inner growth of the group. Many of you are doing your very best to grow out of confusion and error, and thereby you contribute. Some of you also help through outer actions, each in your own way.

Such help and contribution is of great value, and the cosmic forces thank such people in their own way. Our thanks — if we may call it that, for lack of a better word — take the form of particular blessings not easily and instantly recognizable. Their reality is perceived only in deep meditation. These particular blessings are coming forth tonight to all friends, both present and absent. Universal, divine gratitude truly exists, my friends. May all of you who are helping with inner and outer assistance feel the reality of these blessings. Everyone has a different possibility of contributing toward the growth of this “body of truth,” but it is the facing of your self in utter candor that represents the principal contribution which ensures the continuance of this group on its present healthy foundation.

The growth of a living organism cannot always be measured by outer signs. This holds true for groups as well as for individuals. Anyone with an open and sensitive mind can perceive growth and inner health, even if, at times, there are no outer changes or obvious manifestations. However, there are times when an outer change is noticeable. This is such a time. The fact that we are now housed in new quarters represents a milestone. Divine blessings go forth to all of you who made this growth possible; the new venture is blessed. Whenever milestones are passed in the growth process of an organism, the inner reality can be sensed by all who have contributed toward it by their actions and by their work of self-confrontation. May this be the case now. May you all be flooded by a wave of hope and security that you live in a benign universe in which you have nothing to fear.

Tonight I should like to discuss a new topic, humanity’s relationship to time. This is, indeed, an important subject. My words will be very helpful, if you take the trouble of pondering them and trying to apply them to yourself. What I will say may at first seem utterly inapplicable to your personal lives because of its abstract, philosophical and metaphysical nature. But if you have patience, and try to follow the deeper meaning of my words, you will soon see that they do have a very practical application.

Human existence on earth, in the dimension of the earth and its atmosphere, is bound by time. I explained on a previous occasion that time is a creation of the mind. Without the mind, time does not exist. In your dimension time, space, and movement are three separate elements of reality. When humanity reaches a higher degree of consciousness and with it an extended dimension, time, space, and movement begin to integrate more and more, until they become one. However, it is an error to believe that the next higher dimension is timelessness. There are many extended “times,” if I may use this expression, in the higher realms of being, long before you reach the state of being that is timeless. As yet it is impossible for humanity to fully grasp this. The best you can do is to sense this truth occasionally.

Time is a very limiting existential modality. It is a fragment, cut from a wider and freer dimension of experience. The limited fragment, called time, is at the disposal of human beings so that they can grow, fulfill themselves, experience, and reach happiness and liberation up to the limit commensurate with this dimension. To the degree they fulfill their potential through inner growth, their life will be a dynamic and full experience within which the limitation of time will not be a hardship.

At this point, because it has so much bearing on this topic, I should like to interject once again that it is possible to be on a path of self-development on the whole and nevertheless miss many an opportunity for growth. How many times does it happen that you find yourself in a negative mood without learning the deep lesson behind it, or seeing its significance for your innermost being?  Instead, you simply wait for the mood to pass by itself. You will be exposed more and more often to such periods of depression, anxiety, uncertainty, and disharmony, and if you do not pay attention to them, finding the inner cause will become more difficult. In these instances you do not utilize time well and it becomes a burden and a source of conflict. If you use each such growth opportunity for going to the root of the negative incident or mood, you will experience deep understanding and liberation. Then the exhilaration and trust in life and in yourself that you now experience only occasionally will become a more permanent state. Then you will be at one with the time element of your dimension, thereby organically growing into an extended time dimension.

Listlessness, depression, impatience, nervousness, anxiety, tension, frustration, boredom, apathy, and hostility — all these emotions and many others — are in the last analysis a result of unutilized time. If you don’t do the utmost possible to understand yourself and dissolve inner conflict and confusion, you cannot avoid the negative emotions that are unleashed when time goes by unutilized.

To those of my friends who have experienced liberation from such emotions with an influx of strength and inner joy, feeling that they are at one with life, I say:  you can repeat this experience whenever you do not shirk the effort of looking deep into yourselves until you discover the origin of all the negative emotions. As you recall these times of liberation, you know that they were always connected with such efforts on your part. And to those of you who have not, as yet, had this experience, because you may be too new on this path, I say:  it can be yours if you do what is necessary.

You may ask what bearing these reflections have on your relationship to time. If you analyze each negative emotion, you will find that it conflicts with the limited fragment of time at your disposal. This may be a very good meditation exercise and well lend itself to deeper exploration. Constructive, realistic, and positive feelings do not conflict with time, because time is utilized as it is supposed to be.

The vague knowledge that the time at your disposal is limited in this earth-dimension creates a special tension. You, therefore, strive to get out of this limitation of “time,” straining as a dog pulls at its leash. Time holds you in its grip and you feel imprisoned in a fragment of reality. The unconscious still has a memory of the great experience of timelessness and tries to find its way back into a limitless freedom. This can be done, but only by accepting and fully utilizing the fragment you call time. Then the transition into freedom will be an organic flow with a minimum of conflict. Or you can, of course, resist by straining against the transition and not utilizing time in the way I describe and all true spiritual teachers point out. Then inevitably conflicts and tensions arise.

All truthful spiritual, metaphysical, or philosophical concepts, ideas, or postulates have their practical application to psychological attitudes. This is how you can realize and corroborate any truth given to you.

Let us now discuss the particular conflict that human beings have with time. Each one of you has the possibility of finding out the truth of what I say, provided you take the necessary steps of self-investigation. As I have already indicated, human beings strive to reach a freer dimension of time. Translated into practical life, this manifests by striving toward tomorrow. If you observe yourself closely from this particular viewpoint, you will find it to be true in so many instances. Sometimes this is quite obvious because your thoughts are on the surface; at other times it permeates you as a vague general climate and is therefore not easily recognizable.

People strive toward the future mainly for two reasons:  you do not like the present and hope for something better from the future; or else you fear a certain aspect of life and want to leave it behind in the past. Your vague hopes for the future and the unpleasant, unfulfilled state of the present are your reasons for straining away from the present and into the future. Thereby you avoid living in the now. If, however, you were to explore within yourself the reasons for your unfulfillment and the difficulties which cause you to strain away from them, you would be capable of living in the now fully, meaningfully, and dynamically, deriving all the many joys from each moment that you now overlook. If each moment were truly lived to its fullest, you would already reach an extended dimension of time, while still remaining in this earth-dimension. The truth is that only by fully utilizing the dimension you live in can you outgrow it. Experiencing everything that each moment of time contains will stop you from straining away; you will thereby automatically find yourself flowing into the next time-dimension.

As always, awareness is the first step. So, do become aware of your inner striving away from the now. You will then find that you struggle against the now because you have not really found and resolved the causes that make you strain into the future. Such investigation will give you the best inkling about one side of humanity’s conflict with time.

The picture is entirely the opposite on the other end of the conflict. Human beings fear the future while they strive forward into it, because the future also means death and decay. While they strain into the future, hoping for fulfillment, they simultaneously stem against the tide of time, desiring to stop its movement, or even go backward into youth. People want two impossible things:  the fulfillment of the future in the past or, at least, in the present. This wish generates two contradictory soul movements:  one strains forward, the other holds back. Needless to say, the soul suffers from tension, a useless and destructive waste of energy.

Some time ago I discussed the fear of death, which is an integral part of the conflict with time. Fear of death causes a backward movement opposed to the natural movement of time which is a steady, harmonious flow. If you can feel into its rhythm, you will be in harmony. You can do so by being in time in the only meaningful way, using each moment and incident for growth. Not straining away from the future, you will not have to fear it. Not pulling away from the present, you will utilize it well, so that it will not seem desirable to strain away from it. This is being, even if it is not yet the highest state of being. It is the state of being commensurate with the dimension of time you live in.

Once in this state, you follow the natural flow. The wave of time will bring you naturally and gracefully into the next extended dimension, which you fear so much because you cannot yet prove its reality. Your very haste, on the one hand, to get into the new dimension, and your fear of the unknown, on the other, are reactions to what seems so uncertain to a part of your personality. With these reactions you restrain the natural movement and create tension, setting your soul forces to work in opposing directions. The result is stagnation of growth, as well as lack of the full experience of each “now.”

After you determine the subtle, but nevertheless very distinct inner double motion, you will find a psychological value in understanding the nature of the emotions and attitudes responsible for the contradictory soul movements.

If you strain forward you do so because in one way or another you do not want to recognize certain functions in your particular life which could be improved. Somehow, you let opportunities slip by. I do not speak of outer opportunities and fulfillments, although they may often be a final result of missed inner opportunities for growth and unfoldment of the soul — for the resolution of inner conflict and dissolution of inner error.

The daily review I advocate is one of the best means toward living each day and each hour fully. I venture to say that all my friends who work so diligently on this path have, at least occasionally, experienced the special peace that is full of the spark of aliveness, as dynamic as it is peaceful, after having recognized in all its depth a distortion or a negative attitude in themselves. If all the benefit contained in the recognition has been derived from it, then this wonderful feeling of aliveness is bound to manifest.

That the recognition itself may be very unflattering and disillusioning about oneself, and at times even painful, will not diminish the great experience once the recognition is complete. On the contrary. This may furnish the best proof of the truth of my words. Also, you may use the peaceful experience as a yardstick. Whenever a self-confrontation does not, in the end, produce an uplifting experience, you have not found all that is to be discovered. This knowledge should not make you impatient or tense, but rather help you to understand that you are hedging the truth in some way. You do not wish to see all there is to see.

The awareness will open you up so that you will eventually derive the maximum experience from each particular incident. You will cultivate the inner will to face and understand in yourself all there is to confront and comprehend. Then you will experience the exhilaration of having fulfilled yourself to the utmost at this moment. Then you will no longer tug at time in diametrically opposite directions.

Have you ever thought, my friends, why it is that, after an unflattering or painful recognition — provided you go to its very depth and do not stop halfway — you experience such a dynamic state of harmony and aliveness?  It is so only because, at that moment, you have fully utilized what is given to you, the fragment of time at your disposal. When you are listless and depressed, or in any way unhappy, the material is there, right in front of you; you are right in it, but you are blind to it. You do not focus your attention on it. You merely try to get out of this “now” without utilizing it. That is the forward movement which also causes your fear of growing into death — which is actually a threshold of life. Therefore you hold back while you also push forward.

Fear of death exists in many forms and shapes. I do not wish to go into more detail on what I said on this subject before, only that any spiritual or religious belief, if it is superimposed from the outside and not experienced inwardly, is as much a part of the fear of death as a violent protestation of unbelief. They are but two different sides of the same coin.

The only way to experience the flow of time that knows no interruption, that brings you into extended dimensions, is to utilize each living moment in the manner you learn to do on this path. Then you no longer deal with concepts which you adopt or reject, which you agree or disagree with. An inner experience comes into being that makes you realize that the present matrix of time is only one facet of another matrix of time; it is but a fragment of a bigger piece. This, in itself, brings the knowledge that death is but an illusion. Death is merely a manifestation of transition into a different dimension. However, such words can be meaningful only if you make the experience of their reality possible. For that, this pathwork gives you ample opportunity.

When you reread this lecture, you may come across passages that are not quite clear to you. In your discussion groups you will have the opportunity to clarify them further, provided you take the effort of searching together for what you wish to understand on a deeper level. Participation in the discussions is essential, for otherwise my words will remain only words — and that is not good enough.

Are there any questions now pertaining to this topic?

QUESTION:  You say that once one leaves this dimension of time one enters another time which involves unification of space, time, and movement. Will you please clarify that?

ANSWER:  Yes, I will try. In your dimension, time and space are two separate factors. I give you a practical example:  you find yourself in a certain space, you require time to get there. In order to bridge the distance, movement is necessary. So, movement is the bridge that combines time and space. In the next dimension, where there is a wider fragment of what you may call time — which is still far from timelessness — movement, time, and space are one. In other words:  you are in one space. You think of the space you wish to be in. The movement required to bridge the distance is your thought. It is of a shorter span of time and motion. Thought, which is movement, brings you into another area of space, regardless of the distance, as measured in your dimension. Do you understand that?

QUESTION:  Yes. But it brings two questions to mind. One is:  Can this happen on earth?  And two:  I saw a TV program recently which explained that in outer space, as we know it today, this adjustment via movement through time and space takes place, so that the time changes according to the rate of speed you are travelling in space. I don’t quite understand it.

ANSWER:  To bridge distance with thought is not possible on earth with material means. The spirit, the psyche, is, of course, capable of experiencing this. In fact, it experiences it constantly, only the waking brain is rarely aware of it. The physical body is incapable of the experience because it is made and adjusted to the limited dimension in which a separation between time and space exists, and the bridge between these is movement.

As to your second question:  When material and technical means have been invented to leave this dimension, an inkling of this factor becomes accessible to material brain knowledge. But whether or not the discovery is understood in its profounder meaning, depends, of course, on the individual, on the capacity and willingness of people to understand. I might add that the technical knowledge that brought this cosmic truth into your material world — the same truth that I approached here from a different angle — is a consequence of a general, overall readiness of this earth-sphere to grasp higher truth. If, in spite of its possibility for growth that brought such higher truth into its grasp, humanity still does not learn the deeper meaning from it, it will stagnate with all the destructive results of such stagnation. It is exactly the same process with an individual. A person who has potential to grow but does not utilize it will be a more troubled soul than the one who may actually exert less effort in the direction of individual development, but is closer to the given potential. This explains why it is impossible to judge and compare.

To get back to your question:  The technical discoveries are one way of helping humanity to acquire a broader awareness. But if a technical discovery does not lead to broader and deeper understanding, such discovery will not only be useless, it will turn destructive. The constructiveness and benefit of every discovery depends on whether or not humanity as a whole understands spiritual and cosmic law on a deeper level than before such a discovery was made. If this happens, it will help humanity to produce greater inner freedom, faster growth and development, and therefore outer peace and justice in increased measure.

If history is observed from this point of view, it will be found that every earth upheaval that humanity has experienced is a result of broader knowledge used without the proper understanding. The links between new knowledge in certain eras and the subsequent upheavals due to ignorance of the real meaning of the knowledge could be established if historians undertaking such a search were, themselves, in a fully growing life-process. New knowledge is not necessarily and exclusively of a technical nature. It can be an influx in art, philosophy, or any realm of experience. The links are not immediately visible, but they are there. It might be an interesting study for a historian who has the inner equipment to see what first seems obscure, but stands out clearly once one’s attention is focused in the right direction.

What you mentioned in your second question is the same in technical terms as what I explained in philosophical and psychological terms.

My dearest friends, be blessed again, every one of you. May these words not merely pass through your brain. May they, indeed, give you the incentive to listen deeply within yourself in order to gain a little distance from yourself. Just by gaining more objectivity, you may become more at home with yourself and feel more at ease with life in this fragment of time, so that you may utilize it fearlessly, neither straining toward the future nor stemming against it. Therefore you will be in harmony with the flow of time. Thus, gradually, through the discoveries about your innermost, hidden attitudes and emotions, you will find yourself flowing with the wave of time, in harmony with it, living each now to the fullest. May all of my good friends — those who are present and those who are absent, those who are new, and those who are hesitant, those who may contemplate to begin a new way of inner life — may you all find your real self and thus eventually overcome the barrier that makes you tend to the visible manifestation, while being blind to what causes it.

Be in peace. May you find the strength and the reality that I try to help you find. Be blessed. Be in God!