The Art of Understanding Time
Notes About Our Relation to Eternity and Karma
Carlos Cardoso Aveline
What we know as present moment is never separated from time eternal. There is nothing isolated in the Universe. The shadows of past and future events surround us, and they influence us in many ways. They are effective keys to happiness, if we learn intelligent ways to look at them.
Accurate or not, images of that which was and of that which may take place inhabit our soul and consciousness. They contain unlimited lessons and potentialities, for life is cyclic, and that which was will be again, in a renewed way.
For anyone who desires to learn, the shadows of past and future events must be intertwined with the light of reason, so that they do not get too opaque. Any dense shadows of different moments in time threaten the creative flame of the present. The most important aspect of our Karma is that flame: its shine means that we are always sowing karma right now.
Learning to understand time is an art in itself; and it is both contemplative and practical. The process never ends of expanding one’s knowledge about past, present and future - and about the seeds of freedom offered by these three aspects of Duration.
When a wider view of Life emerges, the preparatory progress towards victory gathers strength and momentum. As soon as we understand our previous defeats and become responsible for our dreams and images about the future, preparations for a much larger victory accelerate.
Real progress begins with detachment as to all unessential factors. At any epoch, there must be easy and nice days in life, and difficult ones, too. It is wise to be humble about the pleasing things offered by karma, and brave, and patient, as to the painful ones.
While the suffering passes, its teaching remains. A feeling of gratitude for the opportunities to learn entitles the pilgrim to see life as a whole. Thankfulness enables him to perceive that our planet is but one and vast classroom for all beings on it. Thus the pilgrim learns to live in a more harmonious accordance with the One Law of dynamic equilibrium and justice. However, the dynamics of life is probationary.
As we start to walk towards a noble goal and seek for an altruistic wisdom, we soon know that making progress means facing various sorts of danger. We also have several kinds of protection, and three of such “shields” deserve being examined here as examples of our positive potentialities. Their order can change according to temperament and circumstances .
1) Purity of Intention
A major protection is our clarity of intention. In theosophy, purity implies a noble and elevated substance, which is free from its opposites.
Yet the pilgrim must know his purity of motives is never absolute, because intention has as many levels of consciousness as himself.
The lower levels of intention are personal and exist under the influence of ignorance, both individual and collective. The degree of purity starts relatively poor and small. It gradually expands as ignorance is destroyed by the combined fires of goodwill and discernment.
2) The Practice of Selflessness
The second shield for the pilgrim is his daily practice of altruistic actions.
That works as a mirror for his soul. Observing the development of our best efforts in “common” life, we can more accurately assess our own intentions. Real motives show themselves in daily life and through small incidents. Seeing what makes us happy or unhappy is usually revealing as to the main inner focus of our mortal soul.
3) Seeking for Wisdom
A third protection along the path is the aspiration for that transcendent, impersonal knowledge about life which belongs to all.
Trying to obtain spiritual or philosophical knowledge for oneself is tantamount to desire to be the owner of a wisdom which - precisely because it is universal - can belong to no one.
The Pilgrim’s Road is Time
To say that the pilgrim walks along the road is to accept that human life ceaselessly renews itself in every aspect.
The road we cross is Time, and ultimately the Pilgrim is our own higher self, or spiritual soul.
Since all life undergoes a constant, silent transmutation, no pilgrim should expect too much of a stable routine in his personal existence. He must be always alert, and vigilance is but one of the lessons to learn as he walks along the path.
The landscape in human consciousness changes, and every factor in it also changes. All existence is transitional. Old structures fall apart or are left aside, in society as in the human psyche. In order to replace them, one must build better realities, starting from abstract planes, and taking into consideration that everything is cyclic. One must first sow and then protect that which was planted, persevering for quite some time before the harvest comes.
The main task is to learn, to observe, and to understand. Blind actions are worse than useless, but they cease to be blind when we open our eyes and accept learning from our mistakes. One must say No to nice illusions and attractive forms of leaving Ethics apart. The beautiful traps are the most cruel.
Truth remains, while falsehoods tend to disappear into thin air.
As the wheel of law and life moves to another cycle, its center remains undisturbed. The duty of every pilgrim includes concentrating his mind, heart and actions on that center, and not so much on the spectacular but passing images which animate the world of effects, and of appearance.The Art of Understanding Time
In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, whose priorities include the building of a better future in the different dimensions of life.
E-Theosophy e-group offers a regular study of the classic, intercultural theosophy taught by Helena P. Blavatsky (photo).