Look at this hourglass that I’m holding in my hand. An hourglass is the symbol of the passage of time but also of death. When the last bit of sand falls to the bottom, your time will be over and you will die. But this hourglass can teach you much more about life and death than that, and in this episode, I want to show you its full message.
As you can see, this hourglass consists of two bulbs and a neck that connects them. As time flows, the sand in the upper bulb flows down into the lower bulb without stopping. At the time of your birth, all the sand is in the upper part, while at the time of your death, none of it remains there, all sand is collected in the opposite end.
The sand particles represent your individual life experiences, every bit of sand is one moment of your life. But you can’t experience your full life in just one moment, your experiences are always momentary, floating from moment-to-moment. This is what the neck of the hourglass symbolizes: you can only experience one moment at a time.
It’s also quite obvious that the lower bulb stands for your past, as it contains all the sand that passed through the neck, all the things you already experienced. And the grains of sand in the upper part contain your future: everything that’s still ahead of you, but is sure to come. The neck is the most important part: the present moment, the small gap between past and future.
Your consciousness can only ever be in this small gap, you can’t travel to the past or to the future, life is always only happening in the here and now. The problem is, that your mind is almost never in the present moment, and that’s how you’re missing your whole life. The past is just a memory, the future is only a fantasy, and only the present is reality.
Most of the time, you want to be either in the past or the future, but almost never in the present. You wish to go back to the past either because of regret or loss, and you wish to go ahead into the future either because of fear or desire. But the past is gone forever, you can never bring it back, and the future will come whether you think about it or not. Your life is only ever happening in the present, so don’t get lost in your memories and fantasies, because you will miss it!
Welcome what comes, let go what goes. Can you imagine what would happen if the hourglass didn’t want to let go of a “good” sand that passed through it, or didn’t want a “bad” sand to approach its neck? Then the whole hourglass would become stuck, dysfunctional, and you could throw it in the bin. The essence of the hourglass is to allow the sand to pass through, and your essence is to allow life to pass through you.
I’m not telling you to flow with life. I’m saying let life flow right through you. Don’t get attached to certain things and experiences, and don’t desire them either, because that creates all the suffering in your life. Your task is not to freeze time but to let it flow, and you can’t freeze life anyway, because then it becomes death. Just like the hourglass can’t stop gravity, you can’t stop time either.
The future is full of possibilities when you are born, and as you go on living, some of it becomes reality, part of the present, and in the next moment it becomes the past. The past is the container of impossibilities, because the same moment never returns. Reality never repeats itself, the same grain of sand can never flow through the hourglass twice. That’s why longing for the past is both frustrating and futile.
And it’s good that it is so. The transient nature of experiences gives them their beauty. Everything in this life is completely unique and unrepeatable. What lives lives for the very first time, and what dies dies forever. Embrace every single experience, because it is the first and last time you experience it. Love your life without limits, exactly because it is so limited.
Yes, it’s sad that everything is impermanent, but it’s also beautiful. If the world was set in stone, the whole world would be just a big tombstone. Only something that is dead doesn’t change. The world is alive exactly because it’s changing all the time. Change is equal to life, and when you try to resist change, you also resist life itself, and you will feel less and less alive.
Whenever you move away from the center of the hourglass, whenever you move up or down, into the past or to the future, you lose your balance. Your mind pulls you away from your True Self into the ego, you stop simply witnessing your life without attachment, and start grasping onto things. But the sand of time is slipping out of your hands, and the more you want to catch it, the quicker it slips away.
What you perhaps don’t know yet, is that time exists only in your mind. When you don’t think about the past or the future, they cease to exist. Then only reality remains, then you are fully in the present moment. And then you will realize that in this very moment, there is no concept of time. It’s not that time stops, it simply disappears like it never was. When you want to stop time, you create it, and when you let it flow, it seems to stop.
Now, let me show you a trick, the last message of the hourglass. Normally, you want to grab life at the wrong place, you focus either on the future or the past, either on the upper or the lower bulb. But if you move your fingers exactly to the center, if you pay attention only to the present, you grab the hourglass precisely at its point of balance, and you can easily turn it around.
Now the hourglass is horizontal, the sand stopped flowing, and time stopped with it. Before, it was a symbol of impermanence, and now it has become a symbol of eternity. And this is the trick to finding your True Self, to experiencing reality, to living in the eternal now.
If you want to know more about death from a spiritual but down to earth perspective, you should read my book: The Power of Death. Click on the link below, and get it now! I’m deadly serious.