Eternity is vertical: it moves into depth and into height. Just think of the cross of Jesus: that is a symbol for time and eternity. The cross is made of two lines, one horizontal on which Jesus’ hands were nailed, the other vertical on which his body was nailed. The cross represents the whole phenomenon of time. The horizontal line is history, politics, the mundane life, the world of events, the world of facts. The vertical line is the world of truth, not of facts. The vertical line is the world of absolute reality, of God, of nirvana, of meditation.
Whenever one starts moving into the vertical world, one simply goes beyond time. Then there is nothing new, nothing old. Truth only is.
Time, the horizontal line, consists of two things – past and future. The present is almost absent. You never become aware of the present – or have you ever become aware of the present? – because the moment you become aware, it is already past. You always become aware of the past.
For example, this moment: if you become aware of it, the time that is taken by your becoming aware is enough to make it past. The moment you say, “Yes, this is the present,” it is already gone. You cannot even utter the word now, because when you have uttered it, it is no longer now. The present that you think exists in time is almost nothing. It is sandwiched between the past and the future. The past is big. Look backwards – it stretches and stretches, and on and on. It seems to be beginningless. And so is the future very big – it goes on stretching ahead of you, on and on, endlessly.
Between these two big phenomena, past and future, your present is just a sandwiched atomic moment of which you cannot even become aware. The moment you know it, it is no more there; it is already gone. You only become aware of the past. So time consists of past and future.
Eternity consists of the present. Then what we call “present” is nothing but the spot where eternity crosses time, where eternity penetrates time. There is a way to move into that eternity: that’s what meditation is all about.
Meditation is a drop into eternity. That’s why all techniques, all methods of meditation, insist: don’t be too obsessed with the past, let it go; and don’t be too infatuated with the future, let it go too. Slowly, slowly withdraw yourself from past memories and future projections. The past is no more, the future is not yet; both are non-existential. To remain in the non-existential is to remain in misery, because existence is bliss, sat chit anand – it is truth, it is consciousness, it is bliss. Non-existence is untruth, unconsciousness, misery; just the opposite. And we live in the non-existential.
Just watch what goes on inside you: either you are thinking of the past, the nostalgia of the past – your beautiful childhood, or your youth, your love affairs, and this and that – or you are immersed in the future – what you are going to do tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow. Either you are drowned in the past or you are drowned in the future. That’s why you are not. That’s why you yourself have become a falsehood. You are too concerned with the false, and that concern makes you pseudo. Withdraw yourself from the past and the future.