Time and Timelessness
The Big Bang Theory about the beginning of the universe was developed within my, our lifetime. Space, energy, matter… everything… originated instantly, in one location, some fifteen billion years ago, and has been expanding ever since.
But we should note that there was another time god, called Kairos. To speak of clock time ‘before’ the Big Bang is meaningless, but we can imagine a kind of timeless void in which the conditions for the Big Bang came into being.
For the Greeks, Kairos symbolized chance, fortune and every example of meaningful coincidence. The word we use for that is ‘synchronicity’. When Kairos visited, you had to be prepared to go with the opportunities he offered. He always knocked and came calling at the right time, the perfect moment when all was ripe and ready. Kairos can, therefore, be thought of as spiritual time, eternity… ‘God’s time’.
Kairos has a different quality altogether from Chronos, being more rhythmical, circular and seasonal than linear in nature. It often feels as if clock time has frozen, slowed right down or stopped completely. Paradoxically, it sometimes also feels as if time has speeded up, so that minutes, hours, days, even weeks and months can go by as if in a flash. Some athlete’s experience it, for example, when they get ‘in the zone’ during a burst of peak performance.
Kairos is in play when things happen unpredictably, but at just the right moment. Time and timelessness seem to intersect for human benefit and instruction. Such epiphany experiences occur when something eternal appears to break through into everyday life. Heaven and earth seem both briefly and enduringly to coincide. With this, ‘Something happens!’ Something new and profound, something inspiring and potentially life-changing, is revealed in an instant.
Wisdom, newly acquired in this way, feels right because it by-passes the everyday ego and resonates powerfully with something already present, deep inside: the true, spiritual self. It feels like a reminder and confirmation of something already known but forgotten.
Clock time dictates to the material dimensions of our experience. Kairos affects the spiritual dimension. We, humans, are subject to both.