In the common analysis of time it is naturally accepted as being linear – after all that is how we appear to experience time. One moment following the next in a constant never ending fashion. The theory that it may well be nonlinear generally never comes into the equation with any degree of frequency. And even when it does – it is held to the far reaching realms of cutting edge science. So – what does non-linear time mean for us in practical everyday terms?
Nonlinear time – as with linear time – is all about perspective. Normally we watch one point followed by the next, each second a step along a straight path. The only manner in which each point is connected is by the step which precedes or follows it. In a nonlinear perspective, each point is connected by the nature and the texture of the event that particular point contains.
An event from the past influences the present. These two points are connected – not by linear steps – but across time, they are essentially of the same aspect. These points in time touch each other – they are linked directly, despite the gulf of time in-between them. Each point at which these event link is in essence the point of experience.
Traditional perspectives perceive each point as a separate link. Cause and effect so-to-speak. A nonlinear perspective sees the event as a single occurrence. People often claim that it is easy to see how the events unfolded with hindsight. However with a degree of awareness it is often possible to perceive these events with foresight. Especially with the consideration that such events are generally nonlinear in nature.
The mind is actually quite adept at functioning in this manner – how often do your thoughts follow an entirely linear pattern? Dreams also often play out in a nonlinear fashion, they make sense to the dream-mind but upon waking the mind attempts to unravel the dream – placing it in a linear context. Of course then the dream no longer makes any sense.
As with studying or analysing everything else the one common factor that is repeated not taking into account is the human point of observation as the measuring instrument; we are the point of experience through which events flow. This is why perception is such a powerful thing – it enables us to view reality according to what the building blocks of our perspective dictate. And understanding our perspective is a very large aspect of what all manner of spirituality and meditation is actually about.