Enjoying eternity now
INSTINCTIVELY we rebel against the concept of time--beginnings and endings, limitations. Nearly everyone resists the thought of death, as if recognizing it for the enemy the Bible says it is. Almost everybody seems agreed that it is the one great evil in human life that is to be avoided as long as possible. We don't like the thought of good things coming to an end. We all have an inborn yearning for immortality. And why? Surely it is more than the biological urge of an organism struggling to keep its species from extinction. Could it not be that our yearning points to spiritual reality, indicating that eternity is the true state of being? Isn't immortality the actual reality of man as God's offspring? ``Eternity, not time, expresses the thought of Life, and time is no part of eternity. One ceases in proportion as the other is recognized.'' 1 So writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Our Master, Christ Jesus, said, ``And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.'' 2 If a present knowledge of God and His Christ is eternal life, we can live in eternity this very moment. And the impositions of a time-world--the suffering and limitation inherent in a finite, fleshly sense of life--will recede in proportion to our realization of God's ever-present eternity. Some have difficulty accepting the concept of eternity being now. They imagine it as a condition that begins after death and then continues forever. But reason and experience tell us that what has a beginning must also have an ending. The circle is the symbol for eternity, because it shows no starting or ending points. A straight line, on the other hand, no matter how long it is, does have a beginning and an end. It is a symbol for time, for finiteness. If eternity is without beginning and without ending, it must be here now. Though unseen to material vision, it must be the true state of things, untouched by mortality. ``Eternal Mind and temporary material existence never unite in figure or in fact,'' 3 writes Mrs. Eddy. Once we accept that eternity is now, and begin discerning that fact through prayer and daily purification of thought, we can begin enjoying it now. A child has a good sense of eternity. To him only the present has genuine reality. Unburdened by a heavy sense of the past and a foreboding sense of the future, a little child lives buoyantly in the now. We can all become ``as little children,'' 4 enjoying God's eternity now. Though it may be necessary for us to use clocks and adhere to schedules in order to express order in our lives, we can be joyously aware of our true status as immortal beings, living in the eternal present. In this century the totally relative nature of time has become more generally apparent. And in our own lives we have all had the experience of time seeming to be endless when we are awaiting a longed-for event or experiencing something we find unpleasant. We've also been disappointed at the speed with which time rushes by when we're truly enjoying ourselves. People often feel that time has them under its control, rather than the other way around. But whenever we stop listening to the ticking of time and grow quiet, receptive to the things of Spirit, we can become conscious of eternity and of our own true, eternal selfhood as God's image. Eternity has no past or future, but only a glowing, infinite present. Turning our attention away from the stampede of moments, hours, and weeks and becoming receptive to timeless spiritual reality, we grow aware of its quiet music, its wholesome harmony. In this eternal now is no hint of discord; there is only the warmth of divine Love, God, the endless creativity of divine Mind, the exhaustless energy of divine Life, and the harmonious working together of all things under divine Principle's governance. Eternity is what is. 1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 468. 2 John 17:3. 3 Science and Health, p. 282. 4 Matthew 18:3.