get pretty deep in the esoteric, but I admit, for my part, I think there's educational value for anyone, spiritualist or not. In an earlier post, the subject of time and evil came up. The topic of evil as such isn't out of place on a blog that occasionally deals with human miseries like war, murder, torture, and rape. The relationship of the moral concept of evil is entirely necessary in some ways to making sense of history. I think that different cultures have had different perspectives on the externality of the existence of evil versus the "devil within", but a common strand is causality: people beget actions that beget consequences that produce suffering.
This is a linear way of looking at the experience of time. Wrongs accumulate. Historically, we sit astride a mount of blame and are headed for a wall of guilt.
There's another way of looking at it, though. Satayana said those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it; Faulkner said that "the past is never dead--it's not even past." In some ways, the perception of linear time, both as an individual, and as to the accretions of history, aren't really valid. Humans seem to make the same mistakes over and over because our perceptions are very limited. And our perception of linear time itself?
There is reason to dispute the existence of linear time. Relativity, I think, put the bung in that one, for the science-minded. If the measure of time is relative to the position of the observer, then consider the astronomer viewing a star collapsing light years away that must have occurred centuries before, but he or she could only experience now? The concept of "now" becomes a bit fluid, then. Instead of viewing time like Zeno's arrow, with its points of flight all in a row, it might be more appropriate to see all activity as more like plots on a grid (or like Indra's net of jewels) with each point referencing forwards, backwards, and laterally in time/space.
This concept is new-ish as physics concepts go, but in the mythology of antiquity, the connection between yesterday, today, and tomorrow as being all one thing doesn't seem to have been novel, at all. The Greek goddess Hekate, who dealt with magic and paths and doorways and new beginnings, was sometimes depicted as a maid, a mother, and a crone--occupying different life stages at once. The Roman god Janus had one face to the past, and one face to the future. The Akeru lions of Egypt also faced to the future and the past, and in the Book of the Dead, it is written: I am Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, I have the Power to be Reborn..."
The eastern concept is less linear, still. The Wheel of Dharma is depicted as a cycle. The stillest part of a wheel is the axle. In meditation, sometimes I imagine being the axle--the fixed point within the wheel, able to view reality along each spoke. That fixed point is where one might be at any point (whether it be in a selva oscura or day 39 in the wilderness or a convenient three day weekend--you know, in media res) where you just look around and get perspective on all the things. Sometimes one can get outside of oneself that way.
With that thought, then, I think I have a good intro for Formerly Amherst to pick up.