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Shvoong Home>Arts & Humanities>Time and the Soul Summary

Time and the Soul

Book Summary   by:Leoza     Original Author: Jacob Needleman
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Needleman offers an answer to the question which is on all our minds these days; where has all the meaningful time gone? So many of us end the day exhausted, yet it seems we’ve accomplished very little in terms of what really matters to us. As a philosopher, he takes this question to a deeper level as he writes, “We cannot change ourselves, by ourselves…nothing one can put down on a spreadsheet is the answer to our hunger for time…it is an entirely new energy that must enter the psyche. The time famine of our lives and our culture is in fact a symptom of metaphysical starvation.” The lack we are feeling has nothing whatever to do with the nature of time itself and everything to do with our state of being.
Needleman asks, “Is it possible that time has become what it has because our lives are submerged in lies?” He speaks of how the great crises of his life have shown him that he has been living in lies. Woven intricately into his exploration of the seeming time dilemma is the concept of the self verses the Self. The former being the self we learn to identify with; Which is in fact an elaborate fabrication created by each person in response to the need to adapt to a world in which truth, the truth about who we are and why we are here, has been relegated to the subconscious. The latter is that part of us which longs for truth and beauty. The Self is timeless, eternal, one with all creation; it exists here in the world to re create, as in recreation; to have fun experiencing being, through conscious doing. We must be courageous enough to feel the mortality of the self, or we’ll never feel the immortality of our real Self.
We need to watch the mind do what passes for thinking, which is simply reacting again and again to different versions of the original psychodrama we experienced as children when the Self faded into the background, and the self took center stage. By stepping back and watching the mind, the Self is nurtured by the experience of truth. According to Needlman, life is like a script which we act out again and again, reacting and reacting until, finally we consciously choose the life we have been given. As we witness our life, an increasing sense of freedom and timelessness is made manifest. It is ok that the self will die, because the self is nothing more than a facilitator of the rebirth or recreation, if you will, of the Self. All of life is cyclical, not linear; this is real time and there is plenty of it.
We think we never have enough time simply because we are never in present time. So here we sit at the banquet of life, refusing to eat and complaining of hunger.
Published: March 29, 2006   
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