..on themes of

time and timelessness

from faith-filled perspectives


Produced by the East of England Faiths Agency for the Alive in the Universe exhibition and conference at Aldeburgh in February 2020.  In it you will find quotations from many traditions.

We hope you find them helpful as you reflect on the perceptions of time that you hold and that they may add to your experience of timelessness.


Max Warren adds

“Our first task in approaching another people, another culture, another religion, is to take off our shoes – for the place we are approaching is Holy. Else we may find ourselves treading on another’s dream. More serious still we may forget that God was there before our arrival.”


Angela Oakey-Jones

February 2020




“Yesterday is gone.

Tomorrow has not yet come.

We have only today.

Let us begin.”


St Teresa of Calcutta




Love was without beginning, is,

and shall be without ending


Julian of Norwich




“And even in those seconds, and even as I wondered with anguish whether I would ever see her again, I lived with her in some angelic timeless world of quiet communication and absolute understanding.”


Iris Murdoch, The Black Prince




The unreal has no being, the real never ceases to be


 Bhagavad Gita




Before all things existed He was Truth,

In the beginning of all things He was Truth

Today He is Truth, Nanak,

And Truth He will ever be.


Guru Granth Sahib




“Time does not heal, It makes a half-stitched scar

that can be broken and again you feel

Grief as total as in its first hour”


Elizabeth Jennings




Islam teaches us that time passes quickly and can never return, It is irretrievable. It is also the most precious gift that humankind possesses and can be taken from us at any given moment. God is the Giver but He is also the Withholder.


Time passes swiftly and God reminds us in the Quran that the months and years pass but when we are standing before Him on the Day of Judgement our time on earth will seem as though we had lived, dreamed and worshipped for less than a day.


A speaker from among them said, “How long have you stayed (here)?” They said, “We have stayed (perhaps) a day or part of a day.” They said, “Your Lord (alone) knows best how long you have stayed (here). (Quran 18:19)




“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now.

That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now,

the most precious thing there is.”


Eckhart Tolle





I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
the treasure in it. I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life if not hurrying


on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses, to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.


The Bright Field—R S Thomas




Changeless art thou, Ahura Mazda, the same now and forever. Thou are the transcendent Being moving all, yet moved by none. Thou alone dost remain changeless and unaffected in the midst of manifold changes.


Everything around waxes to wane, grows to decay, is born to die, and everywhere is witnessed the everchanging phenomena. Thou alone art never changing, O immutable Lord.


Zoroastrian Yasna




Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don’t squander one bit of this marvellous life God has given us.

God reminds us,


I heard your call in the nick of time;

The day you needed me, I was there to help.

Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped.


Don’t put it off


Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians

Christian Bible




“Rami - Why do we have time and times passage?

Dayah - In this material realm you have been counting and keeping track of the number of turns your beloved little planet takes around it's star calling these circulating passages names like 'days' 'months' or 'years'.


You have numerically segmented down these 'days' into units such as 'seconds' 'minutes' or 'hours'. And there you have it! You have created what you think of as 'time'.


But please remember beloved One. It is you mortals who created this concept of 'time' and 'time' is much smaller than you are.


You are limitless. This dear beloved little planet is merely spinning 'round and 'round through the Infinity of the Divine Oneness of which you are the microcosm.”


Leland Lewis




 Realization of timeless is

not an event of time.


 Sw. Chidananda Tirtha




One has to pay dearly for immortality;
one has to die several times while one is still alive.


Friedrich Nietzsche




The courage to live in the present, between time and timelessness. No matter the circumstance, it is where life is found.”


RJ Blizzard




 The timelessness of Wisdom


The Lord created me at the beginning of his course as the first of his works of old. In the distant past I was fashioned, at the beginning at the origin of the earth. There was still no deep when I was brought forth. No springs rich in water; before the foundation of the mountains were sunk, before the hills I was born. He had not yet made earth and fields, of the world’s first clumps of clay. I was there when he set the heavens into place; when he fixed the horizon upon the deep; when he made the heavens above firm and the fountains of the deep gushed forth; when he assigned the sea its limit, so that its waters never transgress his command; when he fixed the foundations of the earth, I was with him as a confidant, a source of delight every day, rejoicing before him at all times, rejoicing in his inhabited world.


 Book of Proverbs, Hebrew Bible



Compiled for the East of England Faiths Agency by

Angela Oakey-Jones

Pictures with permission





1.       Which religious group might you belong to if…You believe in a final Day of Judgement?

2.       Which religious group might you belong to if…You aim to achieve Moksha?

3.       Which religious group might you belong to if…You believe in reincarnation with each life influenced by your actions in previous lives?

4.       Which religious group might you belong to if… You believe in a resurrection?

5.       When was the beginning of Islam?

6.       When was Jesus born?

7.       What is meant by the phrase “The Golden Age?”

8.       What Is the meaning of Maya?

9.       What is meant by the phrase “The Twilight of the Gods?

10.   What is the difference between immortal and eternal?

11.   What is the origin of the Jewish sabbath? When does it begin and end?

12.   Which day is special to 7th day Adventists?

13.   Which faith promotes Friday as a special day of obligation?

14.   Naw Ruz is observed by Zoroastrians, Baha’is and some Muslims.  When does it occur?

15.   What is the difference between AD and CE?

16.   How is the date of Easter set?

17.   What is Ramadan and when is it? 

18.   When and what is Rosh Hashana?

19.   You’ve been invited to attend a hand-fasting ceremony for a Pagan couple.  For how long might the couple commit themselves?

20.   What’s the significance of Samhain (Sowin)?

21.   What is the meaning of Nirvana?

22.   How is the date of Easter fixed?

23.   When is the Qingming festival and what might happen at it?

24.   Why do Quakers or The Religious Society of Friends (in theory) abandon the idea of sacred times and sacred places?

25.   Sikhs generally refer to God as “the timeless being” while Christians describe God as eternal. Do these terms mean the same thing to you?

26.   Have you experienced any moments that you would describe as “timeless”?