The Fragmented View of Time From the Perspective of the Mind of Ignorance

Our time sense is primarily conditioned by our reliance on the physical senses and the impressions provided by them.  For most people, this means we live a series of impressions which are real to us for the moment, but fade into a past which is no longer alive to us, other than through the faded lens of memory, and which themselves quickly give way to the next moment’s impressions without us having a clear sense of the future to which our lives are tending.  The limitations of our physical mind and senses means that we do not experience in a real sense the continuity of past, present, and future as one unified field of existence, indivisible from one another and connected intimately to one another.

Sri Aurobindo notes:  “This is because the mind in the Ignorance lives in the moment and moves from hour to hour like a traveller who sees only what is near and visible around his immediate standpoint and remembers imperfectly what he has passed through before, but all in front beyond his immediate view is the unseen and unknown of which he has yet to have experience.  Therefore man in his self-ignorance moving in time exists, as the Buddhists saw, only in the succession of thoughts and sensations and of the external forms present to his thought and sense.  His present momentary self is alone real to him, his past self is dead or vanishing or only preserved in memory, result and impression, his future self is entirely non-existent or only in process of creation or preparation of birth.  And the world around him is subject to the same rule of perception.  Only its actual form and sum of happenings and phenomena is present and quite real to him, its past is no longer in existence or abides only in memory and record and in so much of it as has left its dead monuments or still survives into the present, the future is not yet at all in existence.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 25, Towards the Supramental Time Vision , pp. 857-858

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