The unity of being and becoming is the heart of the path. If they are split, there is no way out and no way in; there is no path. Being represents our relationship with the now; becoming, our relationship with our future. That future is not a projection of our hope that things will finally change, but a future that constantly comes unto us, taking us through time into the deeper dimensions of the now.
There are those who refuse to engage in the process of becoming, who refuse to evolve. They believe that to be is enough because they don’t have the eyes to see how shallow their realization of the now is. Such people have no relationship with their future, and if we do not have a conscious relationship with the future, the future will not come unto us; we block it by remaining disconnected from the process of becoming, growing, evolving, changing and transforming. We are the boat that bears the nectar of our innermost self, carried by the river of time that flows ceaselessly into the ocean of our destiny. We honor the boat, the river and the ocean. Because we cherish the river – being completely attentive to its flow and currents, to its readiness to change its course in any moment – we are in harmony with its purpose. We know its purpose as our purpose.
What is the being dimension of the path? It is not merely our connection to the now, as the place in-between the past and the future. Above all it is our connection with that which fills the now with meaning – our existence. We value not only what we become but who we are, and because of that we are constantly becoming the deeper dimension of who we are.
It is common in spirituality to have a shallow concept of time, to not see its value. Time is the precious, living, moving substance of reality, the very essence of creation. The Zen master Dogen coined the term ‘being-time’. He understood that being is time. It is not still like frozen water; it is still like a great river that flows imperceptibly and with absolute totality into becoming. And yet from the standpoint of the absolute, time stands motionless like a mountain rooted in the unchanging ground of being. In Zen this is expressed as ‘the river is still, the bridge is flowing’.
Time is the universal gold if we are able to see its value. For most people time is just passing by. They are not one with time; they are victims of time, bystanders looking fearfully at how time is deceiving them, stealing their youth, their hopes and leaving their soul naked in face of an inevitable death. And yet it was not time that deceived them: they deceived themselves by not living time, by not entering the river of life. What time brings ever again is constant change, but we refuse to change. We refuse to decode the meaning of time. We hold onto our illusory concept of stability in the desire to freeze this change, like taking a picture of something that is already going away, receding into the past. We are not living time, we are wasting time.
What is the value of human life? How much are those few years of our existence worth? We have been thrown from an unknown place into this strange reality, having no idea why we exist. The only thing we seem to care about is how to survive, how to resist the process of dissolution – to resist time. Does this really have to be the story of human life? Are we victims, puppets of some bizarre providence, or have we chosen to enter the stream of time for a higher purpose? Are we willing to take responsibility for our existence?
What is the essence of time? What is the essence of becoming? It is the same as the essence of being: the precious substance of our existence, the light of our pure nature, the knowledge I am. This I am is being and is becoming. It is unfolding and opening to the mystery of itself like a flower to the morning sun. To know time and to know timelessness is to know oneself as the innermost subject to the mystery of life.
To consciously begin the process of awakening is the highest creativity of the human soul. What higher substance could we create than our own self? To create is not to make things but to open the space for them to be born, for them to emerge from the seed of their potential. We are impregnated with our soul. We are that soul waiting for her birth and we are the midwife that helps this new life to enter our existence.
The more we realize our pure nature, the more we become one with time. There are two dimensions of time: conscious and unconscious. Unconscious time is disconnected from its timeless source: it flows into creation but it does not flow into the uncreated. Our consciousness is the vehicle of time, the apparatus through which time becomes conscious of itself. Without time we could not know that we exist; knowing that we exist, we know time. Through our awakening, we not only internalize our consciousness, we internalize time. Through our surrender, we surrender to the source of time and enter the dimension of real time. Real time is one with existence and evolution; it flows into its source, into the original heart of creation.
Meditation is the unity of being and becoming. By understanding this we can solve the paradox of the coexistence of sudden and gradual concepts of enlightenment. Enlightenment is not something static; it is not a point of culmination. It is the never-ending unfoldment of truth. However, if we are disconnected from being, we are disconnected from the truth of the now; we keep seeking something ahead of us. This means that our path bears no connection to reality and has no force to yield spiritual transformation.
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