Time is plastic and changes depending on a person’s state. The perception of time is profoundly subjective, and for this reason it may change at any second, both in terms of the quickening of its flow and extreme slowing down, which can sometimes be very hard to withstand. Time for mystics is different to time for so-called normal people. It is based on the difference in subjective perception of the stream of time, and perception generally.

If you wanted to formulate the essence of the phenomenon of time, then it would be that time indicates the speed of destruction of our world. The time of a human life is objective—it is the time it takes a person to grow old and die. As we count off every new year of our lives, we understand perfectly that we are approaching our inevitable end, when our time will draw to a close. Objectively, time does not heal anything, but it fixes the speed of a thing’s annihilation, and that of any matter. This becomes most obvious when you recall the “heavy” elements of the periodic table—where half-life is the principal measure of their existence. Speed of decay is what the concept of time is most often applied to, although in the conventional understanding it pertains to the duration of a thing’s existence and the course of processes. Although all of this essentially comes down to the same thing.

And if external time is the time of the physical world’s existence and has to a certain degree a constant value, the internal time of a person is almost always changeable. More accurately, it is the sense of time that is changeable, and the subjectivity of that perception has been numerously described by poets and writers. It must be said that speed also plays a central role in internal perception of time. For example, the speed of your mental responses. This is the paradox—the higher that speed, the more slowly time passes for you. As we know, time drags for children, whose internal reaction speed is very high. Over the years, the situation changes, and for adults time starts to rush by, because due to their suppressed feelings, their inclination towards inactivity and habitually avoiding the majority of possible reactions, they slide along the surface of their own inner world like pond-skaters, never plunging into the depths. And time also slides by, and the days tick by like seconds on a clock.

Mystics have a completely different sensation of time. It is like neither that of a child nor an adult. Mystics’ time matches their not entirely ordinary perception of reality. Think of it this way; because of his open Heart, the mystic is connected to the Source, and also to a space that is sensed as an endless infinity. And if you manage to do this, then you will immediately become aware that in infinity there is no time and there cannot be. Time always relates to finite things. In fact it is merely the manifestation of one of the properties of matter that is connected to its non-eternity. And the mystic may plunge himself into a state where there is no time but, after returning, live again within time. It is a strange state, which you gradually get used to, but because of it you cannot take time in our physical world seriously. 

When my Heart was opened, for six days I did not feel time at all. This experience was so unusual I thought I had lost my mind. Day replaced night, the sun rose and set, there was movement happening around me; I went to work and spoke to people, imitating normality, but inside me there was no movement at all. It is quite difficult to properly describe it, but there was this sensation of a complete halt inside. And there was no sensation of time at all. An hour, two hours, two days—it was all the same and did not provoke any sort of sensation or feeling in me at all. Then the situation levelled out and once again I felt the passing of time, but this feeling was now very different to what I had had before.

Time belongs to the material world, and consciousness, for example, knows nothing of time, because it is eternal. Consciousness is our central magnet, which joins together all our various different bodies; it is like the Divine magnet of Creation that turns and holds together all worlds. The concept of time is familiar to the consciousness, but time itself cannot influence it in any way. And this is the paradox of our being—everything that can die, everything, essentially, that we can be in this life—must die. All that remains is the immortal, which, of course does not include the human. And for this reason, only the part of us that is mortal is subject to the effects of time, for time is death’s chief messenger, the symbol for which is the clock, counting down the passing minutes of our lives. That the death of the subtle bodies is sometimes drawn out is a different matter—at this time, possibilities arise for contacting the dead, who tell us about our lives from the other side of the Light.

Mystics’ time is compressed by the number of impressions and different impulses they receive in each unit of time. It is the same thing that distinguishes the awake from the sleeping—their contact with Reality is fuller and their perception sharper. The sleeping have contact with Reality through their dreams, which appear to them in the form of projections, wishes, hopes and different sorts of illusions. But in dreams, as we know, everything is fuzzy and indistinct, the motivations for and the essence of the actions we undertake is not always clear, and in dreams time flows this way and that. For those who are awakened, the speed at which time flows changes and is binary—on the one hand, a day for them may take two or three, and on the other a week may fly by unnoticed. This is also a paradox, as with a lot of things connected to mystics in general. That long, drawn out sensation of time is connected, as I have already said, with a high density of impressions—mainly internal, but also external—that the mystic receives. This density is connected to the higher sensitivity and wider range of perception, which develops in the process of activating the centers, and growing awareness. And it happens that here and now time moves quite slowly, fitting a large number of internal events into small intervals. And the lack of expectations or attachments allows them not to cling to that sensation of time, and because of this, there is in the perception of most intervals of time—for example, “last week”—the feeling that it has passed rather quickly, even though a lot has happened in it. It is quite complicated to describe this paradoxical mode of perception in an accessible way, because the higher the realization of the mystic, the more complex his being and the more forks in Reality he lives at. States become available to him where time completely ceases to have any function and seems not to be there—through submersion in the Heart or entering into full Consciousness, and he must at the same time return to the world in which time plays an essential function—albeit by taking opportunities that appear in Work. This status is also what gives rise to the mystics’ unusual outlook, and their less than serious attitude towards our physical reality—after all, for a mystic it is far from being the only one.

The lives of many mystics are examples of great working capacity. Osho, for example, memorized six hundred books, and indeed others did not just sit there with their arms folded. Partly, this productivity in work is connected to how mystics do not waste their time and energy on the nonsense that people normally waste their time on. Partly, time for mystics has certain mystical properties anyway, and sometimes flows in a slightly different way, enabling them to not only receive more impressions, but also to perform more activities within a fixed unit of time. It is almost impossible to comprehend this, but one may have a lived experience of it. Nevertheless, it is the kind of mystery before which I stop and fall silent, as it is impossible to talk any further of it, due to the limitations of language and the possibilities of communication. Life at the intersection of different levels of Reality is mysterious and, between us, almost everyone will encounter this, because whether they want to or not, even in their ordinary, undeveloped state, they still live on several of its levels. Almost everyone will encounter the mystical phenomena of Being if only once or twice in their lifetime. But most people either ignore these phenomena and quickly forget about or try not to think of them, or give them a significance that they do not objectively have. Both of these serve to hold onto their dreams, hopes and wishes. And also to not think of how all the time in your life is being wasted in vain.