If there is only one life, then only material things can be attained. Then spiritual transformation is not possible. The desire is so big that millions of lifetimes are needed. That is why in the East people live so lazily. There is no hurry because there is no shortage of time. You will be born again and again and again. Why be in a hurry? You have infinite time.
So if the East is lazy and looks so absolutely unaware of time, if things move with such a slow flow, it is because of the concept of many lives. If the West is so time-conscious, it is because there is only one life, and everything has to be attained in it. If you miss, you miss forever – no second opportunity is possible. Because of this shortage of time, the West has become so tense. So many things to do and so little time left – so many desires, and time is always short.
Everyone is always in a hurry, running fast. Nobody is moving slowly, nobody is walking slowly. Everybody is running, and more speed is needed. So the West goes on inventing speedier vehicles and there is never any satisfaction. The West goes on lengthening human life just to give you a little more time to fulfill your desires.
But why is time needed? Can’t you be here and now without time? Is this moment not enough, just sitting near me, no past, no future? – this moment in between, which is atomic, which is really as if nonexistential. It is so small that you cannot catch hold of it; if you catch it, it is already past. If you think, it is in the future. You can be in it, but you cannot catch hold of it. When you catch hold of it, it is gone; when you think about it, it is not there.
When it is there, only one thing can be done – you can live it, that is all. It is so small that you can only live in it, but it is so vital that it gives life to you.
Remember, it is just like the atom, so small it cannot be seen. Nobody has seen it yet, not even scientists have seen it yet. You can only see the consequences. They have been able to explode it – Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the consequences. We have seen Hiroshima burning, over one hundred thousand people dead – this is the consequence. But nobody has seen what happened in the atomic explosion. Nobody has seen the atom with their own eyes. There are no instruments yet which can see it.
Time is atomic, this moment is also atomic. Nobody can see it, because when you see it, it has already gone. In the time that is taken in seeing, it has past – the river has flowed on, the arrow has moved. Nobody has ever seen time. You go on using the word time, but if someone insists on a definition you will be at a loss.
Somebody asked Saint Augustine, “Define God. What do you mean when you use the word god?”
Augustine said, “It is just like time. I can talk about it, but if you insist on the definition, I am at a loss.”
You can go on asking people, “What is the time?” And they will look at their watches and reply. But if you really ask, “What is time?” If you ask for the definition, then watches won’t help.