Psychologies and Pathologies of Absolute and Relative


Our ordinary sense of time and space appears closely related to brain consciousness, our sense of time being different in dream or vision where we’re more separate from the physical body. Usually, what we’re conscious of in the brain is mostly confined to a narrow part of the present life with little or no vision of distant past or future. People sharply divide time into past, present, future, and often with compression into a dense material now of “eat drink and be merry.” There is usually no prophetic sense, no sense of timelessness, no consciousness of the vast sweep of evolution to disturb the illusion of the material “now.”

There is practical benefit in the sense of timelessness. For instance, the great majority of things we ordinary time-bound types get angry about are as nothing when viewed from sufficient spiritual altitude. It reminds me of the story of a great soul who repeatedly struck a match only to have it blown out by the wind. His friend noticed his extraordinary calm in the midst of this and asked:

“Don’t you ever get impatient?”

“Why should I?,” he answered, “I have eternity in front of me.”

But our sense of the infinite is often not strong enough to release us from bad habits and unhappy reactions to people and circumstances. Moreover, even our spiritual aspirations add fuel to fires of our problems. Whether from spiritual aspirations or more material motives, the relativistic part of us is imbued with a sense of urgency and dissatisfaction with things as they are. We feel “There is no time to lose.” But there is or can be, at the same time, a more serene self, undisturbed by unfolding events; it is self touched by the timeless. In one of his poems Robert Browning writes, “God is in his heaven and all’s right with the world.” Many mystics down the ages have voiced a similar impression. The mystic says, “Time does not exist,” and we have all the time in the world; the practical self deals with urgent issues. We have one aspect of truth in timeless terms and another aspect in the practical relativistic world of time.

Overemphasis on the relative or the timeless yields different pathologies, but health must be in balance. After repeated attempts we are impatient when the match fails to light. It is because we ourselves are not on fire with the realization of the infinite. If we live too much in the urgency of the moment we fail, yet if we are divorced from practical labor and responsibility we also fail. So it seems we must coordinate heaven and earth, the transcendental and the practical–perhaps then to strike a golden mean, to act rightly in the world while in continuity with the infinite.

21 thoughts on “Psychologies and Pathologies of Absolute and Relative”

  1. Being Eternal, Immortal, Immutable, and Ineffable at the same time that I keep time, am mortal, move, and use words to describe Myself is a funky state. Being God, I could be no other way. Namaste and thanks for leading me here.

  2. It seems that your post mirrors the words “be in the world, but not of it”. What are your thoughts on each of us coming to the physical realm from the eternal realm and then returning? What is your feeling as far as the reason we, what some believe, choose to do so? I guess what I am asking you to share is your sense of the meaning, the purpose of life. There is a lot to explore at your site here. We will do so. Thank you for your efforts. Jerry

      1. James,
        The music could be the celestial music that those who experience the near death experience describe. Should I say TRY to describe, as it is, according to near death experiencers, “indescribable beauty”. Much to be learned from accounts of those who had a NDE. You may be interested in the subject at The accounts are fascinating.
        Thank you,

      2. Jerry,

        Yes, I have given some attention to the reports of near death experiences. Have personally spoke with friends and acquaintances who have had them. There are many good video diaries about it on Youtube as well as books. This: is one of the best summaries of it in a scientific spirit.

        I’ve not had a “Near death experience” but rather a “Near life experience” 🙂 which in many ways is correspondent. The life event on which the above “Gift Without Name” post was based took place during an out-of-the-body experience. It was not precipitated by a close encounter with death but by a closer encounter with LIFE.

        Best Thoughts,


  3. A Native American medicine man named Bear Heart once said, “We’re taught early in life to laugh AT ourselves and WITH others. We don’t poke fun at other people, we poke fun at situations where we can all laugh together.”

      1. James,
        Have never spoke personally to any man or woman about their NDE, but it would be interesting to hear how the listening to your friends’ accounts effected them, and you. What was most memorable about your interactions on the subject of NDE? It would seem to be a phenomena that would be of great value for people to be aware of.
        Thank you,

      2. Bob, and another who’s name escapes me, reported they lost all fear of death. Bob, experienced what he called a sacred silence. After returning, he has hypersensitive to harsh sounds. Mary Lu had cancer, went into a comma, “died” was given the choice to return–she was cured of the symptoms of cancer after returning, but then fell back into old habit patterns and cancer returned, sending her back to the light several months later.

        Mary was violently “murdered,” shown her transgressions in a past life and given the choice to stay or return. She chose to return, for her children, had yet more suffering to endure, but did so bravely being more of a “survivor” as a result of her experience.

        I think experiences vary in their depth and intensity but often people are never the same again. Recently came across the case of a worldly millionaire business tycoon who when he returned changed his life entirely; see:

        The people I’ve known who related their experiences all related aspects that correspond to the classic patterns related in the literature on the subject. The site I mentioned above: is a really noteworthy compilation. Page down and read through the 51 title headers to see.

        The issue of changes people undergo as a result of NDEs are addressed in item 31 on the above site: Included there is the note that “Hardened criminals opt for a life of helping others;” if you listen to the video above carefully you will note a case of this involving someone who had been in organized crime.


  4. James,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences and the video. The experience the men, women and children have during a NDE is more important than we may realize. The way the man spoke in the video was the way someone speaking the truth speaks. Others speak the same way; honestly. So it is a real, profound spiritual experience. It is not a coincidence that these accounts are entering the awareness of more and more people. It is divine timing. Perhaps one could explore the possibility of creating a documentary film on NDEs. It would be a blockbuster, bigger than Michael Moore, and change, for the better, the way many people around the Earth look at life.
    I had seen the video before but it is one which should be watched more than once. Kind of like that great book you read once every year…
    Thanks again,

    1. I’ve not see it but there is a DVD:

      “The Near Death Experience: Into the Light & Through the Tunnel & Beyond

      Bruce Greyson, Ph.D, hosts this set of compelling stories told by six people, each of whom went through a near-death experience. Along with more than 8 million other Americans who have experienced the phenomenon, these tales chronicle surreal episodes rich with feelings of peace, love and light. Also, hear from author Dr. Raymond, whose expertise on near-death experiences includes a how-to for visionary encounters with departed loved ones.”

      There are a series of related Youtube shorts by Greyson here:…16391.16391.0.17851.…0.0…

      1. And also a more recent documentary, 2011 DVD:

        “5th Dimension: Near Death Experience

        Various interviews recount the near-death experiences of men and women who claim to have been to the other side … and lived to tell about it. What did they see there? And, more importantly, why did they get to come back?”

  5. James,
    It makes one wonder why the mainstream media hasn’t done reporting on the NDE to match the powerful knowledge which such reporting would impart on viewers. It almost seems they have a reluctance to bring viewers anything resembling the truth; profoundly optimistic reports. Better days ahead… Just heard some advice: Do our best, say our prayers and get some rest.
    Thanks for the information. Appreciate the gesture.

  6. Yes indeed. I will be walking along & all of a sudden I will have a huge grin on my face for no apparent reason, this of course relates to me taking things in physical life way too seriously. Seen as we are who we are at this moment balance is the key.

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