In the West, we’ve been taught that time flows in one direction only; that the future is always ahead of us and the past is always behind us. This is monochronic time, which flows linearly. But time doesn’t just fly like an arrow, it also turns like a wheel. Nonlinear time, or polychronic time, is considered sacred. Here the future seeps into the present to summon us, and we can change events that have already occurred.
The main operating principle of linear time is causality, or cause and effect, in which the past is always spilling into and informing the present. But when we perceive time as turning like a wheel, the main operating principle is synchronicity, or the serendipitous occurrence of events. What we call coincidence or chance is as important an operating principle as causality is.
The Laika believe that the chance occurrence of events, such as how two people happen to run into each other serendipitously, is just as significant as their cause, or why those two people were in the same place at the same time. Synchronicity allows for future causation and is more interested in the purpose and meaning of an event than in its cause.
So, if time does indeed flow in more than one direction, then the future can be reaching back into the past and beckoning us to it as much as the past is pushing us forward. The Laika know that the cause of a present event may actually lie in the future. When you wake up late, then hit all the red lights and miss your train, it’s not because the universe is conspiring against you. Instead, recognize that you’re operating in sacred time and that the universe is actively conspiring on your behalf. It either makes sure that the train leaves three minutes late because you need to get on it, or it makes sure you forget to set the alarm, or that you hit every red light, because you’re not supposed to be on that train.
If we perceive time in this way, we don’t become irritated and wonder, “How could I be so stupid as to miss that train? Why do I have such bad luck?” Our stress is reduced tremendously because we trust that both good and bad luck are part of a larger plan.
To master time, we let go of the idea that effect follows cause, and step into the stream of timelessness. That doesn’t mean we’re unable to keep the commitments we make to show up on time for others; rather, it means that we’re in such perfect ayni (right relationship with the universe) that we always appear at the right moment.
By mastering time, we give the universe the opportunity to do what it does naturally, which is to conspire on our behalf. We let go of the belief that we have to manipulate the world around us and take charge in order for life to work out. In sacred time, the future as well as the past is available to us, and everything is happening at once.
Eternity is an endless sequence of moments; infinity, on the other hand, is a place both prior to and after time – before the big bang and after the universe again collapses. It is outside of time itself. In this place of infinity, you can influence events that occurred in the past and nudge destiny. Here, the future is compelling you as much as the past is. You may never know why you missed the train or ran into someone you used to work with as a result, but you’re aware that these events have a meaning and even a reason for occurring. You trust that your understanding will follow your experience instead of preceding it. No matter how confusing or uncomfortable the moment is when you miss that train, you accept and surrender to it, knowing that great things come to those who trust Spirit.
Learn more about mastery of time in my book, The Four Insights.