Time means mind. Time is a projection of mind. It does not exist; it is only an illusion. Only the present exists – and the present is not part of time. The present is part of eternity. Past is time, future is time; both are non-existential. The past is only memory and the future is only imagination; memory and imagination, both are non-existential. We create the past because we cling to memory; clinging to the memory is the source of the past. And we create the future because we have so many desires yet to be fulfilled, we have so many imaginations yet to be realized. And desires need a future like a screen onto which they can be projected.
Past and future are mind phenomena; and past and future make your whole idea of time. Ordinarily you think that time is divided into three divisions: past, present and future. That is totally wrong. That is not how the awakened ones have seen time. They say time consists only of two divisions: past and future. The present is not part of time at all; the present belongs to the beyond.
The first path – the path of self-cultivation – is a time path; it has nothing to do with eternity. And truth is eternity.
The second path – the path of enlightenment, Zen masters have always called the pathless path because it does not appear to be a path at all. It cannot appear as a path, but just for the purposes of communication we will call it “the second path,” arbitrarily. The second path is not part of time, it is part of eternity. Hence it happens instantaneously; it happens in the present. You cannot desire it, you cannot be ambitious for it.
On the first path, the false path, all is allowed. You can imagine, you can desire, you can be ambitious. You can change all your worldly desires into other-worldly desires. That’s what the so-called religious people go on doing. They don’t desire money any more – they are fed up with it, tired of it, frustrated with it, bored with it – but they start desiring God. Desire persists; it changes its object. Money is no more the object of desire but God; pleasure is no more the object of desire but bliss. But what bliss can you imagine? Whatsoever you imagine in the name of bliss is nothing but your idea of pleasure – maybe a little bit refined, cultivated, sophisticated, but it can’t be more than that.
The people who stop desiring worldly things start desiring heaven and heavenly pleasures. But what are they? – magnified forms of the same old desires, in fact more dangerous than the worldly desires, because with the worldly desires one thing is absolutely certain: you are bound to get frustrated sooner or later. You will get out of them; you Cannot remain in them forever. The very nature of them is such that they promise you, but they never fulfill their promises – the goods are never delivered. How long can you remain deceived by them? Even the most stupid person has glimpses, once in a while, that he is chasing illusions which cannot be fulfilled by the very nature of existence. The intelligent one comes to the realization sooner.