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Are you open to a new idea?

I appreciate everyone's views, especially on matters that are intimate and personal. In this post, I seek simply to explore my own experience in an area that has interested me since I was a boy, and which I sometimes feel is a bit "taboo" in our society.

It can be excruciating, of course,  to let go of an old, familiar belief that perhaps has been drilled into us since we were a child – and perhaps is still being drilled into us, just as it was hammered into our parents and our ancestors back through the ages.

It was very difficult, for example, I'm sure, to let go of the belief that the earth is flat, and accept the radical notion that it is a sphere, basically. Or to let go of the belief that this planet is the center of the universe and accept a drastically different idea of earth's place in the cosmos. And yet these times come, it seems to me, in our evolution -- as an individual or a species -- when we are summoned to participate in a drastic change of outlook.

So it is that I find myself questioning, perhaps more deeply than ever before, the belief that who I am  and who you are is limited to a few short years. That our life is hemmed in, so to speak, by birth and death. That we are timebound, in other words.

Obviously, our body is timebound. It has a beginning, and an end, and nothing I think or say is going to change that. And I would be the first to admit that the fear of death is deeply ingrained in me.

A different notion that is very liberating

But what I also want to admit, in these few short words, is that I experience rising up in me a different viewpoint that is very liberating, and joyful. It is a growing recognition, as I say, that while my body is aging -- is timebound -- I am timeless. My true nature is timeless.

I like to take a few moments now and then, particularly in the evening to meditate on this new way of experiencing myself. And so it was that last night I found myself revisiting a simple little task I used to perform as a small boy when I was evacuated to the countryside in England during World War II.

Picking up fresh milk from a farm

Every morning I used to walk down this Devon lane with a jug in my hands to pick up fresh milk from a nearby farm. I realized, as I thought about this distant experience from my past -- and as I let myself feel what it was like to be that lonely little boy carrying a jug of milk in his hand -- that in a sense it is not a distant event at all.

Who I am now is who I was then, and it is who I always will be. In a sense, it is not a memory at all. True, I have changed, physically and mentally, and grown in other ways too since that time, of course.

But as far as my true nature is concerned I rather think I am the same now – precisely and immutably – as when I was a child. Or when, as a young man, filled with an irresistible longing for freedom, I said goodbye to my parents at Victoria station and boarded a steamer at Southhampton to start a new life in Canada.

Are we timeless, or timebound? What do you think? What do you experience? I'd love to hear from you.

If you enjoyed this post, please share with a friend. I thank those who have contributed financially in the past week or two since I installed a 'support' button on the navigation menu – it helps a ton, it really does, in more ways than one – and I thank each one for your interest and support in my work. Be well and take care.

Picture credit:  sssline

 

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Jane W March 19, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Chris,
I too have been thinking about time, the eternal moment. It has brought me comfort as I consider my loved one who made a sudden transition out of this sphere. In the timeless sense, he is here and never was a time when he was not. The same is true for me and for each one. I can intuit things changing, pathways opening and deepening as I never sensed them in quite this way before. Being present is not always easy in the time bound world, but it is as exquisite as a flower opening. Jane

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Christopher Foster March 20, 2012 at 9:48 am

Jane, thank you and bless you. I appreciate your comment so much. Sometimes as a writer or author you feel a bit vulnerable when you share your inner thoughts or experience on a sensitive topic such as this.
I feel privileged to share your own experiences and thoughts in this area. I do so agree with you. For all the pain, and of course there is pain, there is also joy. We do indeed face a remarkable opportunity in these days.
Again, thanks for your comment. Wordpress, where my blog sits, has been acting very slowly this morning for some reason. Oh dear. I hope I haven’t been hacked… I hope my readers haven’t been having trouble accessing my blog:-) Gotta try to look into it.
Bye for now and I would love to keep in touch.

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Tony Palombo March 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I resonate with you, Chris, in seeing my Self as timeless. I, too, have a keen sense that the past, present and even the future are all contained in the eternally present moment. I am the same today, yesterday and tomorrow.

I even have a sense that one day our bodies will not be limited by time but will be able to travel with us through the many mansions of the Father’s House. Time travel is no longer just a fancy of imagination. We do it in our memories. Why not in our physical forms? That’s my dream anyway. Thanks for sharing your perspectives. I enjoy them very much.
Tony Palombo recently posted..Dawn Of A Golden Age

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Christopher Foster March 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Thank you so much for your comment Tony, it’s a pleasure to hear from you and share some of your thinking and dreams. You raise some interesting ideas indeed. Time will tell, won’t it. I am sure we all possess much as yet unrealized potential.Meanwhile I am most thankful for the friendship I feel with you, stretching back quite a while now. I send love and blessings to you and Bonnie. Be well friend.

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Vlad | simpler life today March 20, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Hi Chris,
Thank you for the post. If this tiny life was all there was, it would be the greatest joke of all time! And while God has a great sense of humor, I personally believe that this is but one among countless journeys that we undertake. I agree that we are timeless beings, created of God. We are not restricted by time or space. And our destiny is to truly experience this universe as we are headed toward our Home.

Take care, Vlad
Vlad | simpler life today recently posted..I Want to Die – How to Deal With Death

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Christopher Foster March 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Dear Vlad, thank you so much. I love your words. Very happy to share this journey with you.

Thank you for your excellent post on this theme and I’ll keep an eye open for the book you mention, ‘Being with Dying,’ by Joan Halifax. Stay strong brother.

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Dr. David Banner March 20, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Chris…I am timeless, no doubt about it! Of course my body (which is just a product of my mind’s beliefs) is time-bound and we all will likely die a physical death. But mystics have talked forever about immortality. What if immortality were just a matter of changing the belief, at a deep level, that we are time-bound?

Love, David

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Christopher Foster March 20, 2012 at 6:04 pm

I think you’ve put your finger on it very beautifully David. Thanks so much for sharing in this consideration. Love to you too.

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Durwin Foster March 20, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Hello again, dad.
I appreciate your meditation here.
For me, the answer to the question of whether we are time-bound or time-less would be “both”. The “real self” is timeless, while my “actual self” evolves through time…and then also declines and passes away.
A really worthwhile activity to inquire into the nature of the self or selves in this way.
Thanks,
Durwin
Durwin Foster recently posted..Think You Have Depression? Here’s What You What You Need to Know . . .

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Christopher Foster March 20, 2012 at 6:10 pm

That is the paradox we each face isn’t it Durwin. You sum it up perfectly. I’m so happy to hear from you again in this way, did I ever tell you I’m very proud of my son?

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Jackson Dunes March 22, 2012 at 9:02 am

😀 As a mother who often tells her daughters how very proud I am of them, I loved reading this! …and yes, I love the original post as well but this was what made my heart sing.

Ellie March 21, 2012 at 7:08 am

Hi Christopher,

I’m so happy I chose to catch up on blog reading today! What you say here makes perfect sense. But I like to see myself as a work in progress, here and beyond.

I think that, whether we like it or not, every event we experience, however significant it seems, contributes in some way to who we are, as you were so beautifully explaining in your post. We are essentially the same from beginning to end, but our experiences compound to help us really become ourselves (funny, then, how children seem to have a better grasp on this than young adults like me).

Living in the present might just be a good excuse (or a psychological mechanism) for us to suppress memories/parts of us that will cause us pain now — a form of self-preservation. What do others think?

Best,
Ellie

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Christopher Foster March 21, 2012 at 9:44 am

Ellie, thanks so much for expanding this conversation in such a unique way. It’s a bit of a stretch for the mind (stretching is good at other levels, why not for the mind too?) but I agree totally. We are very much a work in progress and yet at the same time we remain, as you say, essentially the same from beginning to end.

There’s a lot to think about in your last sentence. The wheels are turning already in me — maybe “living in the present” could make a cool post:-) Love and blessings to you Ellie and keep on keeping on, as they say.

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Christopher Foster March 25, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Thank you Hocine. Delighted to hear from you. I like what I read very much. So many ways truth has made itself known and continues to make itself known. Blessings.

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Christopher Foster March 25, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Diana, many thanks for this. I love your website, by the way. Great job you are doing. Keep it up.

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