The Mayas conceived time in a cyclical fashion, not linearly, as we do.
The Maya had a concept of time very different from ours. To them time is not something abstract, but cosmic change induced by the movement of a sacred entity, the Sun, which was the center of their world view. The circular movement of the Sun determined the changes on earch (day, night, seasons), so the time was conceived as something cyclical. This belief implies the idea that future is behind -because sight does not reach it - and past is ahead, where one can see it.
Hence the importance of their calendars, which allowed their rules to establish their title, linking their life and acts to complex, symbolic tales, future or past events and previous rulers.