The Future Infinitive

In the final paragraph of this week’s reading and of the chapter (on SDTS Page 101), there is a surprising paradox presented in such simple language:

“As we move through the present toward the future, doing so from within the future, we enact a potential encompassed in what presents itself.”

This brief formulation confounds all ordinary notions about the locatedness of consciousness and the direction of time’s flow.  Yet it is so specific that it provides a foothold into a surprising paradox.  It points to another way of being in time.  How can we move toward the future from within the future?  Perhaps we are already drawing on the energy of the future in our very looking.  But we don’t see it because we are rooted in the perspective of a particular situation and have grown used to equating this perspective with the source of the energy and awareness that allows us to look out from these eyes.  Yet the energy that permits this looking may flow into our consciousness from a future that never takes form.  Can we become aware of this flowing of possibility and of energy, and thereby inhabit the future that is peering out through our particular embodiment?  Perhaps Love provides a clue of how this might be possible.  When we care about the happiness of another, without needing them to care about us, then we are looking out from our own lifetime in terms of the specific circumstances of our individual biography but with the infinitude of a power greater than our own individuality.  If Time is similarly greater than the present out of which we look and act, then it seems a paradox worth exploring that the Time which has not come into form may provide access to a greater Being in which we can discover our own.  –Michael



About Michael Gray

I first started studying TSK in the mid 1980's and have since attended a number of retreats and workshops at the Nyingma Institute, in both TSK and Buddhist themes. I participated in the life-changing Human Development Training Program in 1991, and upon returning to Albuquerque co-founded an organization, Friends in Time (with a friend who has Lou Gehrig's Disease), which continues to serve people with similiar disabilities. I contributed an essay to "A New Way of Being"--the last one in the book--in which I describe how learning to honor who I have been has broadened and deepened my openness to present experience. I live in New Mexico with my wife and two sons.
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3 Responses to The Future Infinitive

  1. Love this Michael. Your inquiry leads to what Rinpoche is pointing: Great Time, Great Knowledge, Great Space, in which we discover ‘greater Being’.

  2. Robert says:

    That is an interesting paradox worth exploring. It almost strikes me as a koan, it certainly could be used as one. Thanks for sharing the thought, will play with it.

  3. Hayward says:

    This is beautiful and lucid. I want to write like you when I grow up.
    Not knowing what a “future infinitive ” was, I was recently delighted to learn it was “impersonal”

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