Time and the Illusion of Being Infinite

Prabhleen Gupta

Prabhleen Gupta

Founder-Personal Mastery

Time and the Illusion

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A Hanshan quote says that no one can drink the water of a mirage. That puddle in the desert that seems so real in the distance fades, as we get closer until, being close enough, we realize that it doesn’t really exist: the water was nothing more than an illusion, a desire.

Something similar happens with time and life. From afar, it seems to never end. We see the end of it as something far away that will not happen soon, but as we get closer, we are becoming aware that just as the puddle was not real, the infinite time is an illusion.

“While I had my hand closed I thought I had everything, when I opened it I saw that all that had been a mirage”



Life is full of illusion and mirages that make us see the fictitious as if it were real or the finite as unlimited. Although we are aware of many of the illusions that surround us, we live as if they were alien to us, letting ourselves be carried away by the beauty of the mirage that our eyes see and that our mind silently clings to calm fear.

The illusion of infinity

One of the most common mirages in our lives is that of time. We are all aware that our days and those of our loved ones will end one day. However, we live as if time is a journey that will never end.

“Pythagoras, when asked what time was, answered that it was the soul of this world” – Plutarch

We are always very busy, very tired or we simply cannot find the time to do what we do not erase from our schedule because we want to, but that we postpone repeatedly. 

Meeting a friend that we have not seen for a long time, reminding her of what we feel about that special person, joining that activity that makes us so excited or taking the trip we always wanted are valuable activities that we postpone “for when we have time.”

Days, weeks, months pass and some of the vital goals that we pursue are achieved while others are relegated and postponed “until we have time” for them. However, sometimes that time never comes.

Even if we live an empty life, death will reach us anyway.

Whether we like it or not, the only sure thing in life is death. It is difficult to accept this fact and to cope with it we tend to use some strategies that relieve the pressure of this truth, such as the idea of ​​a life beyond, avoiding thinking about death or believing that there are many days that we still have left.

We cannot continually live thinking that today will be our last day, nor can we live in fear of death. Despite this, we can become aware that eventually, we will die just like the people we love.

Have you ever thought about your death? What would your funeral be like, what people would attend and what would they say about you after your death? If you knew that your death is imminent and your days are coming to an end, what goals would remain pending? With whom would you have liked to share your last moments? What have you not done or said yet and would have liked to do before dying?

Don’t waste your life for petty stuff

Life passes, is spent and does not return. Time is too precious to waste on pursuing goals that do not match our life goals. Within our margin of maneuver, we must invest time in what is valuable to us.

In the society we live in, if we want to be able to buy basic goods and services, we must work. We need money for many of the things we need on a day-to-day basis. Money allows us to live but, it does not give us happiness.

Fill life with meaning

According to research by Thomas Gilovich published in “The Journal of Positive Psychology” creating experiences that last forever and become part of our history and identity makes us much happier than acquiring material goods.

Objects give us momentary satisfaction and fill a specific need, but that satisfaction does not last long enough. Few people smile wistfully when they remember their previous mobile phone, however we do get excited when we think of those moments we share with those we love.

Material goods make life easier for us but they do not fill it with value. Unlike objects, experiences fill our lives with meaning and value, allow us to experience precious moments and treasure them in memory to re-thrill each time we remember them.

The clock is ticking and the hands continue to advance towards an end that we know is inevitable. It is important that we take advantage of those moments that pass and never return so that when the clock stops ticking, we smile by remembering those valuable moments that we once lived.


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