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The Destination of “Sacred Time”

Maya Time

The Traveler Within

By Val Jon Farris

“To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.”

– William Blake

There is a secret passageway hiding between the hands of the clock. It exists in the unknown space between time’s momentary “tic” and its predictable “toc.” This hidden portal leads to a timeless place residing both within our human psyche and our outer reality; a measureless destination in which nothing is ever early or late, or even “on time” because time itself does not exist there.

One of the greatest joys of traveling without prearranged reservations is the freedom to simply “be,” to relax into the absence of time pressures, obligations, and deadlines. It’s that nurturing space where forgetting what time it is, or what day it is doesn’t mean we have Alzheimer’s, it means we’re immersed in the leisure experience of well-being and inner peace.

But unwinding into leisure time isn’t the destination I’m referring to. Even in our most stress-free and peaceful moments, lurking just beyond our temporary contentment swings the powerful pendulum of time. And while it may not seem like anything beyond leisure time is worth pursuing, there is an extraordinary experience of time away from time awaiting those wise life travelers who are willing to venture beyond the bounds of their familiar time-based reality.

William Blake hints of this timeless reality in his quote, “To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.” There is something compelling in his words…a view of vastness within the miniscule, an insight of the infinite within the finite, and a glimpse of grace between the illusory cadence of minutes, hours, years, and eons.

Spiritual travelers of antiquity from every civilization on Earth knew of this timeless place, but one culture in particular perfected a powerful pathway into its reality. The Maya of Central America charted a concise course directly into the timelessness of the cosmos and the omnipotent wisdom it possesses. The “vehicle” they crafted was a universal calendar system called the “Long Count,” “Haab,” and “Tzolkin.” These three astronomically interconnected calendars chart an extraordinary spiritual pathway into what the Maya call “Sacred Time.”

The difference between Leisure Time and Sacred Time is immense. From Middle English, leiser means, “to be permitted, to be free from duties.” Notice the implications of needing a permit for freedom? This restriction reveals Leisure Time’s obligatory pendulum swinging in its background. Anything requiring a permit carries with it an obligation to follow the rules or one’s occupancy may be revoked or expire. What this means is that just under the surface of Leisure Time is the energy of scarcity and a subtle anxiety about running out of time.

Magnifying the illusion of scarcity, another restrictive aspect of Leisure Time is its linear nature as in, “this moment, then the next moment, then a fewer number of future moments, then no more moments.” Sacred Time on the other hand is the experience of integration and wholeness as in, “this moment is part of this moment, is part of this moment is part of all moments.”

Exploring deeper, Sacred Time originates from the Latin root, Sacer, which means “holy,” or “deified wholeness.” This context of omnipotent freedom doesn’t require a permit, but is rather a sacred permission and communion with the wholeness of life and Spirit.

But what does Sacred Time actually feel like? Like nothing we’ve ever experienced other than perhaps those few fleeting moments when we’ve completely forgotten about ourselves, about our circumstances, and even about our life in general. As a result of venturing into the sacred portal of timelessness our time-determined experience of “I” vanishes into the wholeness of William Blake’s notions of Infinity and Eternity, the two timeless hands hiding just behind the hands of time.

Val Jon Farris is an award-winning author and Huffington Post columnist. He is also a Spiritual Anthropologist and Professor of Mayan Philosophy. Val Jon hosts expeditions to sacred sites and facilitates retreats and workshops for those interested in exploring the wonders of the outer world as well as the mysteries of the inner self. Feel free to email him at:


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