Chapter 10: Here and Now: The Only Time, the Only Place
The first thing about nostalgia, it can be understood only if you understand the nature of the mind. The mind functions like the pendulum of an old clock - it moves from one extreme to another, it never stays in the middle. If the pendulum stays in the middle, the clock stops. That’s exactly true about the mind: if it remains in the middle, the mind stops, and that is the beginning of meditation. To be in the present is the beginning of an immense journey into eternity.
Eternity is vertical, time is horizontal. In time you move from A to B, from B to C, from C to D; it is linear, a line, a horizontal line. The moment you stop in the middle, you don’t move from A to B, your whole dimension changes - it becomes vertical. You dive deep into A - from Al to A2, from A2 to A3, from A3 to A4, and you go on diving deeper and deeper into A - not to B, not to C. The horizontal is no longer there, it is vertical. And the heights of life and the depths of life belong to the vertical dimension. The horizontal means the shallow, the superficial.
Mind is equivalent to time, hence it is not only a metaphor when I use the clock and the pendulum as symbols for the mind, it is literally true. The moment you are out of the mind - that is, you are moving in the vertical dimension - you are also out of time.
A Sufi saying attributed to Jesus is that when a disciple asked Jesus, “What will be special in your kingdom of God?” he said, “There shall be time no longer.”
The disciple may not have ever thought that this was going to be the answer: “There shall be time no longer.” It is not reported in the New Testament - the New Testament has missed many important things about Jesus, but other secret traditions have carried those messages. “There shall be time no longer.” He defines his kingdom of God by that statement - that will be the most special thing about it - no time, timelessness.
Mind is time; the moment there is no mind there is no time. And when there is no time there is no past, no future. Remember, time consists only of past and future; nostalgia for the past and dreams of the future. The present is not part of time at all.
So when you hold the pendulum of the clock in the middle, the clock stops; when you hold your attention, your awareness, exactly in the middle, in the present, mind disappears, time disappears. If you don’t know the art of meditation then the pendulum goes on moving from one extreme to another - from the past to the future, from the future back to the past. That’s how it keeps itself going, that’s how it keeps its momentum.
A beggar knocks at the gate of a Bavarian convent and asks the sister on duty, “Please, do you have any old robes for me?”
A bit ruffled, the sister replies, “But this is a nunnery! We don’t have men in this house and no men’s clothing, of course!”
The beggar apologizes and leaves.