Beyond time, unborn, undying
Everything that exists in time must also exist in change. The Overself does not exist in time and is not subject to change.
Our bodies are born at some point of time and somewhere in space but their essence, the Overself, is birthless, timeless, and placeless.
Is this benign state a past from which we have lapsed or a future to which we are coming? The true answer is that it is neither. This state has always been existent within us, is so now, and always will be. It is forever with us simply because it is what we really are.
… Inner experiences are all in time, doomed to pass away; but he, the Consciousness behind them, behind the ego’s consciousness, is out of time, hence Immortal.
The Overself has no form to be pictured and weighed, measured and numbered; it makes no movement to be timed and no sound to be registered on the ear drum.
The first step is to discover that there is a Presence, a Power, a Life, a Mind, Being, unique, not made or begot, without shape, unseen and unheard, everywhere and always the same. The second step is to discover its relationship to the universe and to oneself.
At the centre of each man, each animal, each plant, each cell, and each atom, there is a complete stillness. A seemingly empty stillness, yet it holds the divine energies and the divine Idea for that thing.
Wherever they happen to be, in wide-scattered countries, widely different climates, and far-apart centuries, men have experienced this divine presence. What does this show? That it is not dependent on place and hour, not subject to the laws of space-time.
The fact that after awaking the mind picks up the thoughts of the day before, that the individuality connects with the old individuality of pre-sleep, proves the continuity of existence of a part of Self both during sleep as during waking.
Is it not a strange thing that after a night’s dreaming sleep when we may become some other person, some other character during our dreams, we yet wake up with the old identity that we had before the dream? And is it not equally strange that after a night’s sweet, deep, dreamless slumber when we actually forget utterly that same previous identity, we are able to pick it up once more on awakening? What is the explanation of these strange facts? It is that we have never left our true selfhood, whether in dreams or deep slumber, never been other than we really were in essence, and that the only change that has taken place has been a change of the state of our consciousness, not of the consciousness itself.
The knowledge that no two human beings are alike refers to their bodies and minds. But this leaves out the part of their nature which is spiritual, which is found and experienced in deep meditation. In that, the deepest part of their conscious being, the personal self vanishes; only consciousness-in-itself, thought-free, world-free, remains. This is the source of the ”I” feeling, and it is exactly alike in the experience of all other human beings. This is the part which never dies, ”where God and man may mingle.”
The Overself is not in time and consequently has no history. It is, with no beginning and with no end. The intellect which flits from past to future, from one chronological event to another, finds such ideas strange, hard to comprehend, and puzzling.
This is the mistake all too often made by those who ask the age-old questions: they see that every creature’s life has a beginning, so they assume God must have had one too. But the Life-Force which appears anew in every babe comes from God; it has always existed, taking on countless outward forms. God, its source, has always been and never began…
… The cosmos may be annihilated or disintegrate completely but the creative idea of it will still live on in the World-Mind. More, in the same way a man’s body may die and disintegrate, but the creative idea of him will still remain in the World-Mind as his Soul. It will not die. It’s his real Self, his perfect Self. It is the true Idea of him which is forever calling to be realized. It is the unmanifest image of God in which man is made and which he has yet to bring into manifestation in his everyday consciousness.
The new physics finds creation to be a continuous process, which has never had a dated beginning in the past. Its atoms and universes appear and disappear. What does this indicate? That the unspaced untimed No-Thing out of which all this comes is itself the Reality, and the Universe a showing-forth.
At the end of all its adventures, the lower self may indeed have to go, but the indestructible higher self will not go. In this sense there is no utter annihilation of the individual, no complete mergence of it into an all-swallowing ocean of cosmic consciousness…
We may take comfort in the fact that the Overself never at any moment abandons or obliterates the human personality, however debased it becomes. Nor could it do so, whatever foolish cults say to the contrary, for through this medium it finds an expression in time-space.
That which is within us as the Overself, being godlike, is out of time and eternal.
When we come to see that it is the body alone that expresses the coming into life and the going into death, that in the true self there is neither a beginning nor an ending but rather LIFE itself, we shall see aright.
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