"To see how time, distance, separation, and form all work together to construct our current paradigm, let us look at a typical mind sequence of an average busy human being.
"Mary wakes up in the morning with her head busy with the day's responsibilities. She has to shower, eat breakfast, drop her son off at day care, prepare for an important work-related meeting, and process a complaint by an employee, all before noon. She tries to plan her way out of the anxiety she is feeling by sequentially thinking of all the actions that will need to be accomplished in the limited time she has. Mary thinks about what is likely to occur and her responses to each situation. Planning and thinking into the future allows the anxiety to dissipate slightly. She feels more in control and self-empowered as she rehearses the important morning meeting. Thinking about the day seems to distance her from the anxiety she is feeling and allow her confidence to reemerge.
"When Mary thinks about what she needs to do and the time pressures on her, she is creating her own isolation. She is calling herself back into form by thinking, 'It is all up to me.' The image of herself as a strong and independent woman able to handle her role competently brings up the shadowed image of her opposite and fear of the unknown events. All time driven. She tries to solve the problems generated by time by planning the future, which is time feeding upon itself, creating more distance from the actual events and a stronger sense of self-formation.
"Let us return for a moment to the first law of thermodynamics and the conservation of energy. The energy that Mary is using is going toward the time sequencing of past, present, and future. The present is troublesome because it holds the limits of her power. All she feels in the present is the vulnerability of the anxiety she wants to get over. The future is where she invests her energy because it represents relief from her fear by allowing her to plan her event. If she were to quiet herself so that her thoughts were not compelling her forward, the energy would leave her thoughts, but where would that energy go? The energy would go into formless awareness that is the present moment. This present is not the oppressive present that is wedged between the conditioned past and the feared future but the living present, the present that holds the entire content of her life. The energy would shift into a new paradigm that is no longer time and distance driven. From here she could handle each event as it arose without anxiety. This is not to suggest that planning and preparation are inappropriate, but Mary will lose her bearings in the present if she attempts to promote her image into the future. It is possible to prepare for a future event in present time but not if you worry about how well you are going to do during that event.
"This living formless present is always accessible but cannot be seen when we are identified with time, when we want time to have a specific result. The formless present is not the content of the moment; the content is the form the moment is taking and the image of ourselves we want to sustain. The living present is the formless surround that holds the past and future as thoughts but not as reality. A thought is an event within the here and now, but when we identify with the thought, thinking fools us into believing that the sequence of time is real, and the new paradigm is lost."