Thursday, March 31, 2011



One of the loneliest aspects of time is transience. Time passes and takes everything away. This can be consoling when you are suffering and going through a lonely, searing time. It is encouraging to be able to say to yourself: this too will pass. The opposite is also true: when you are having a lovely time and are really happy; you are with the person you love and life could not be better. On such a perfect evening or day, you secretly say to your hear: God, I wish this could continue for ever. But it cannot; this too comes to an end. Even Faust begged the moment to stay: 'Verweile doch, Du bist so schön,' i.e. linger awhile, for you are so beautiful.

Transience is the force of time which makes a ghost of every experience. There was never a dawn, regardless of how beautiful or promising, that did not not grow into noontime. There was never a noon that did not fall into afternoon. There was never an afternoon that did not fade towards evening. There never was a day which did not get buried in the graveyard of the night. In this way transience makes a ghost out of everything that happens to us.

All of our time disappears on us. This is an incredible fact. You are so knitted into a day. You are within it; the day is as close as your skin. It is around your eyes; it is inside your mind. The day moves you, often it can weigh you down; or again it can raise you up. Yet the amazing fact is: this day vanishes. When you look behind you, you do not see your past standing there in a series of day shapes. You cannot wander back through the gallery of your past. Your days have disappeared silently and for ever. Your future time has not arrived yet. The only ground of time is the present moment.

In our culture we place a great and worthy emphasis on the importance and sacredness of experience. In other words, what you think, believe or feel remains a fantasy if it does not actually become part of the fabric of experience. Experience is the touchstone of verification, credibility and deep intimacy. Yet the future of every experience is its disappearence. This raises the fascinating question: is there a place where our vanished days secretly gather? As the medieval mystic asked: where does the light go when the candle is blown out? I believe that there is a place where our vanished days secretly gather. The name of that place is Memory.

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