Eckhart Tolle declared, “Suffering needs time.” This pithy statement implies that any event in time is subject to suffering, because time is an illusion and we are bigger than it. He goes on to say, “it [suffering] cannot survive in the now.” Tolle has mined gold here. Why make a big deal about events in time? Why not dive into the eternal now moment and let time take care of itself? As Ram Dass said in his classic book Be Here Now, “If you can be here now, when ‘then’ becomes ‘now,’ you will have superconsciousness and superawareness and know exactly what to do.” – Alan Cohen, in his December 2012 newsletter
Christine visited the other day, and at one point she tried to help me get unstuck from a vexing issue by means of the Matrix Energetics techniques she’d been practicing. She simply sat drumming her fingers on the table and doing apparently nothing else. A wave of warmth washed over me, and suddenly the air began to shimmer and appear to move. It was as if the very molecules were trying to shift. And yes, my problem shifted too.
You’ve been reading my blog and similar stuff, so you know, don’t you. You know that the world we perceive is only that, the world we perceive. No more, no less.
One of the most obvious and all-encompassing features of this world is linear time. The cusp of the new year, right now as I write, is one of the moments in which time, marking its passage, putting a dot at a certain spot, seems particularly significant. But there is no absolute, one-way time that is running at the same rate and in the same order for all observers, no matter what we think we see from our limited vantage point.
Recently, in his blog at White Crow Books, Michael Tymn presented an interview with Julia Assante, PhD, author of The Last Frontier. Dr. Assante made this striking comment: “Individual reincarnations co-exist in the afterlife. And they can co-exist in this life too. I know a woman who is a reincarnation of me. We both have the same past-life memories and share one future-life memory, even the name of the man we are going to be, a man named Bernerd, who lives about 200 years from now.* Our other-life memories were already known to us before we ever met. She and I simply split up into two bodies.”
Dr. Assante answered another question with this: “You might already have guessed that I’m not much of a supporter of spiritual evolution in which we progress sequentially. I know I have had past incarnations in which I was more advanced than I am now. And nearly everyone is more ‘spiritually evolved’ as children than as adults.”
And the audience went nuts. Even some folks who have read and written extremely widely on spiritual matters got quite upset at the idea that the spirit might not develop steadily in a forward direction through linear time.
All I can figure is that although they might have read spiritual classics, they’ve completely ignored the past century of physics. I don’t think they’ve consumed a lot of science fiction, either; if they had, time travel, realistic or not, would be part of their normal mental wallpaper. I don’t mean to be too hard on these folks. This is difficult stuff, and our brains are not built well for contemplating it.
Why is it that the illusion of linear time keeps us so entirely in its thrall, even though it’s a partial truth at best? The best explanation I’ve seen is in Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. It is simply that the apparent arrow of time exists because of entropy. Spilled coffee doesn’t jump back into the cup. Rocks don’t fall upward. Disorder inevitably increases. Our physical brains follow this law, so our thoughts go along.
On the other hand, I can play pieces that I couldn’t in the past, implying some sort of progress through time. On the third hand (which sure would be useful at the keyboard), if what appear to be past-life memories really are, “I” used to play far better than I do now. But if we can add a fourth hand (and now try duets), that doesn’t matter because the larger entity can push itself into any part of the time/space continuum, so that a “more advanced” model could appear in an earlier era.
A terrific pop-physics program on PBS, The Elegant Universe, hosted by physicist Brian Greene, used the metaphor of a gigantic loaf of bread to represent an Einsteinian view of spacetime. The angle at which you slice across the loaf determines whether a given event appears to happen before or after another. Cause and effect goes out the window. All of the bread is “already” there, waiting for the observer to taste one slice or another. (You should watch that series. Seriously. Even if you aren’t into the science, the visuals are trippy and incredible.)
And as if that weren’t enough, there may be infinitely many other loaves. In the views of not only Hugh Everett’s venerable Many-Worlds Interpretation but also some modern formulations of string theory, everything that can happen does, somewhere or somewhen. Some physicists postulate that there could be infinitely many of each of us, almost the same but just slightly different, because in an infinite number of universes, there are infinite possibilities for similar events and beings to be repeated.
The trouble is that even if this is true we can never test for it or prove it; all those universes are hopelessly divided and closed off from each other, forever and ever. But that hasn’t stopped some mystics from exploiting the idea– mere physical characteristics of the universe(s) are no barrier to the mind. As Lucy Gillis put it, “The laboratory of parallel universe experimentation may not lie in a mechanical time machine, à la Jules Verne, but could exist between our ears.” She quoted physicist Fred Alan Wolf: “. . . the possibility exists that parallel universes may be extremely close to us, perhaps only atomic dimensions away but perhaps in a higher dimension of space – an extension into what physicists call superspace. Modern neuroscience, through the study of altered states of awareness, schizophrenia, and lucid dreaming, could be indicating the closeness of parallel worlds to our own.”
A self-improvement teacher in his 80s, Burt Goldman, has based his entire system on this concept. When he wants to learn to do something new, he imagines a parallel self that already has that skill. In his mind, he goes to visit that self and minutely observes how he does what he does, then returns to normal reality able to do the same. In this way he has taught himself to paint in various styles, to play the piano, and more. He just immediately knows how to do it. I’m afraid that so far I haven’t had any success trying this. I’m intrigued, though, and willing to believe that all human capabilities are somehow “out there” in the Field and that we can capture them if we understand how.
I was introduced to the concept of parallel lives many years ago in the Seth material, so it’s been part of my mental background for much of my life. Seth postulates something very much like Everett’s interpretation of quantum mechanics, that whenever there is more than one possible way an event can to occur (as when a particle “decides” to go through one slit or another during an experiment), all the possible outcomes do in fact occur. The difference with Seth’s way of looking at things is that he says we choose, consciously or unconsciously, which reality is going to manifest for us, rather than the whole thing being random and all options being equal. “You create your reality” in this view means that you pick out what you want from among all the probable realities. Other versions of you are doing the same, making different choices. It’s an empowering, liberating way of seeing your life, and I think it’s very likely to be the literal truth, but it can make you a bit dizzy and perhaps distressed if you think about it for very long. All That Is, as Seth calls it, the multiverse, is awfully large.
Seth also concurs that there is no linear time, that everything happens “all at once.” He says that events are organized in our larger consciousness according to their intensities rather than according to which happened when. I think we can get a taste of this even in our mundane minds, when we say we remember some long-past but crucial event “as if it was yesterday.”
Most of this discussion has been about advancement in skills and knowledge rather than about fundamental spiritual development. I am willing to accept Dr. Assante’s assertion that we may be more spiritually evolved as children than as adults, because as we go through our temporal lives more and more junk gets into our heads and obscures what’s important. But I also would like to think that many people transcend that accretion of junk and come to greater awareness as they age. At any rate, it seems to me that spiritual development, whatever we may make of that term, is more a matter of opening to the awareness of what we already are than about adding anything new to ourselves. We can forget temporal things we’ve learned– for example, a couple of years ago I could speak a little Polish, and now I can’t– but I would like to think that what we gain in awareness and understanding in the core or our being stays with us, even if we lose aspects of brain function.
When I described this post-in-progress to my mentor Mendy Lou Blackburn on New Year’s Eve, she said that what the spirit does in its “evolution” is to expand, rather than to progress in linear time. That matches what I’ve been shown in my own visions. The concept of expansion still implies a movement through time, but it also suggests a constantly growing network of connections, like a fractal tree in multiple dimensions, ramifying into more and more strands throughout the universe as entities become more aware and more complex and richer with experience. Not a line, but a web, no beginning or end.
Is that woman who shared memories and future impressions with Julia Assante truly the other half of her, housed in another body? I don’t know. There are so many ways two human beings could conceivably share such connections. Since all of us are essentially the same Mind manifesting in multiple bodies, the question may be moot, and I’m not worrying too much about the exact answer.
*It’s comforting to think that humans may still be here in 200 years!
Lucy Gillis, who I found while looking for Seth references, is at www.dreaminglucid.com
NOVA’s The Elegant Universe: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/elegant-universe.html
Burt Goldman’s website: http://www.quantumjumping.com/articles/parallel-universe/parallel-universes-theory/
Jane Roberts’ Seth material fills a number of worthwhile books. I reread parts of The Nature of Personal Reality while preparing to write this post. Nowadays “you create your reality” is old hat, but when this was written it was fresh, even shocking, and it’s still great food for thought today.