Tempiternity: the tempiternal character of reality


“Reality is not exhausted in temporality. It is not temporal now, and then eternal later, but rather tempiternal, all in one’ (Culto y secularización).

The experience of tempiternity is to live the present as intense experiencing of the moment without reference to the past that already was or to the future that will be. It is that present in which an action is truly realized as such, that is, as authentic and therefore “unique”.

Tempiternity makes manifest that being and time are interrelated in such a way that there is nothing that remains without being touched by time, not even eternity. At the same time, the temporal aspect of all reality is “only a partial aspect of the tempiternal nature of things”.

While temporality comprises present, past and future, tempiternity represents “the crystallization of this very moment without ulterior distensions”. It is neither eternity nor temporality. “Reality is not exhausted in temporality: it is not temporal now and then eternal later, but rather tempiternal” (Culto y secularización). The future does not really exist; genuine hope, which is incorrectly called “of the future” must try to discover in each moment that fullness that we seek: it is possible to find the future in the present. “Time is the other face of what has come to be called eternity, so time and eternity form what could be called tempiternity. Eternity does not come after time – nor does it exist before. Man’s life on earth is not simply a pilgrimage toward God, reincarnation, or nothingness, but rather constitutes a rhythm in which every moment is inhabited by its other eternal face” (The Cosmotheandric Experience). And so, “If you are trying to live your life in fullness, you will have to live it today without waiting for tomorrow”, he writes after a long and perilous pilgrimage. “One must be ready to abandon history and to say goodbye to time”; it is about coming to discover that “each step is the fulfilment of the journey, of the yâtrâ” (Pellegrinaggio al Kailâsa, Sotto il Monte 2006).


Raimon Panikkar

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“Writing, to me, is intellectual life
and also spiritual expirience…
it allows me to ponder deeply the mistery of reality.”