Einstein’s theory of relativity in layman terms states that time slows and length contracts with increasing speed of the observer. At the speed of light, the play of Time is said to stop in subjective terms. Something similar occurs in the occult worlds which exist hidden behind our physical world. The Universe with its physical and supraphysical worlds is a manifestation of Consciousness with different orders of Space-Time. The Yogi by shifting the center of his consciousness is able to awaken in these occult worlds. As one goes higher up the planes of consciousness, the perception of Time changes while Space becomes more flexible and no longer exhibits the fixed physical laws seen here in the material world.
The analytical human mind, fettered to abstractions and representations, lacks the capacity to contemplate and digest the dimension of space and time. It judges these things on the basis of its position in space and time. To the dividing action of the ordinary mind, Space is measured by substance and Time by events. Our mind has consciousness of the present, uses the memory to remain imperfectly conscious of the past while possessing no knowledge of the future. As a result, the past, the present and the future seem separate. This is a direct result of our lack of consciousness. Regarding the connection between time and memory, Sri Aurobindo said, “Memory is not the essence of persistent or continuous experience even in the succession of Time and would not be necessary at all if our consciousness were of an undivided movement, if it had not to run from moment to moment with a loss of direct grasp on the last and an entire ignorance or non-possession of the next.” The Life Divine – I: Memory, Ego and Self-Experience
Beam me up, Scotty (Star Trek)
The Yogin by practice stills the consciousness and silences the action of the mind and memory. By virtue of this, he or she is able to intentionally shift his consciousness from the physical body into the subtle body. [ Carlos Castaneda in his books refers to this change in disposition of consciousness as the ‘shifting of the assemblage point‘]. This shift is necessary and sufficient for awakening into some occult world. Unlike Star Trek, no transporter is required to awaken in a different occult world.
Sri Aurobindo, writing much before the advent of television and the telecast of Star Trek, explicated on the three notions of Time that the Yogin experiences by shifting his/her consciousness. This is a brief summary of his experience and philosophy of space-time
Timeless Eternity: In this state, one experiences the “immobile status of the Self in its essential existence, self-absorbed or self-conscious, but in either case without development of consciousness in movement or happening;” The Life Divine – I: Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara – Maya, Prakriti, Shakti Sages who attained Nirvana experienced this notion of Time. One feels as if the world is an illusion – as if it is just a thought in the mind.
Triple Time Vision: If we ascend beyond Existence and Non-existence to what may be called the summit of manifestation, there is a state of consciousness where everything exists eternally – the past, the present and the future. This was denoted as Triple Time Vision (Trikal-drishti) by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother Mirra Alfassa and was known in ancient scriptures as Trikala-Jnana.
The Being can have three different states of its consciousness with regard to its own eternity….The second is its whole-consciousness of the successive relations of all things belonging to a destined or an actually proceeding manifestation, in which what we call past, present and future stand together as if in a map or settled design or very much as an artist or painter or architect might hold all the detail of his work viewed as a whole, intended or reviewed in his mind or arranged in a plan for execution; this is the stable status or simultaneous integrality of Time. This seeing of Time is not at all part of our normal awareness of events as they happen, though our view of the past, because it is already known and can be regarded in the whole, may put on something of this character; but we know that this consciousness exists because it is possible in an exceptional state to enter into it and see things from the view-point of this simultaneity of Time-vision.
Time movement: This is a processive movement of Consciousness-Force. This time movement can be experienced in all the lower triple worlds (mental, vital and physical).
- Mental worlds: If you awaken in these worlds, Time will be experienced as instantaneous. If you think of someone, you will immediately find yourself before the person. There is no interval between thought and experience. For more on this, see Explaining out-of-body and near-death experiences.
- Vital worlds: The vital worlds are where future events are fleshed out before they manifest, where forms, shapes and events are worked out before they are visible on Earth. In these worlds, one has the impression of traveling from one place to another. There is a visible lapse of time between thought and action. This time is still short compared to time in the physical world. To give a pertinent example, in dreams a long sequence of events can occur in a time period which corresponds to a few seconds of physical Time.
- Physical worlds: This works as has been discussed earlier. The analytical mind along with memory which create the division of past, present and future.