Kia ora e te tau.
You and I have talked at quite some length about past lives and the former journeys we have all taken. It is a subject which often comes up in our conversations. Indeed, it is one that that often comes up in conversations I have with many people. It is commonplace these days, for I feel that many of us are becoming more conscious of this, and the fact that our life is a series of sequential journeys, which have all brought us to this place and time. We have echo memories of other times and places, and narratives woven into the basket which is us.
Of course, this is a heresy for some, especially for those who maintain that all is decided in a single life. We are born, we live, and then we pass from this world into oblivion, according to them. Our journey is a singular and single one, and after death there is nothing left. Atheists hold to this idea. Of course, we disagree, for we have met ourselves many times, and perhaps strange dreams have recurred, or we have met people who have been our partners in past times. This is a journey of faith and a binary decision. We either accept the existence of past lives or multiple existences, or we do not. There is no half-way house.
It seems to me however, that here is another way of looking at this, and what I am about to suggest may be the greatest heresy of all. I think the problem lies not so much in the idea of other existing lives, but in the use of the adjective “past”. What I am about to suggest will probably get me offside with everybody, including those who believe, and those who do not, those who accept, and those who do not. What I would like to propose is this:
There are no past lives, only other lives.
Bear with me.
One day, I was listening to a radio interview with an eminent New Zealand scientist (whose name escapes me), talking about Quantum Mechanics. He talked about the Butterfly Effect, where the entire Universe exists at one time, and where everything is intimately and completely interconnected. Everything connects to everything else. Everything is energy, moving at different speeds, and yet a unified whole. He talked of the idea that a butterfly flapping its wings can cause an earthquake on the other side of the Universe. Although it is probably syllogistic, perhaps a butterfly flapping its wings on the other side of the Universe causes an earthquake on our side. Perhaps the earthquakes on our planet are caused by busy butterflies. Perhaps butterflies have a lot to answer for. Perhaps we should be afraid of butterflies!
The point here is that these things happen at the same time. In other words, in the present. This suggests that there is only now. There is only the present. If this is so, then there is no past or future. They are both fictions. The past is the product of memory, which is constantly changing, and the future never comes. As my father taught we children: Today is yesterday’s tomorrow. (it took me years to get my head around that!).
If this is so, then we live only in the moment. In a moment. We are part of a web of energy without limit, without end or beginning, which exists simultaneously. And, more importantly, we are the sum of our thoughts and our thoughts are the sum of us.
Yet our language would have us think (now there is a trap!) otherwise. The language we have learned teaches us and sets patterns in our mind which we take for granted. We underestimate the power of our language to inform and control us. Consider this: there are 5 tenses in the English language; one future (I will travel), one present (I travel, am travelling), and three past tenses (I was travelling, I travelled/have travelled, and I had travelled). Thus, our language would appear to hold us to and in the past. And yet there is only the present. I wonder why that is.
The German physicist Werner Heisenberg, in his Principle of Uncertainty, states that: observation of an event changes both observer and observed. Thus, the act of observation changes both that which we observe and in doing so, ourselves. If/since we are all doing this simultaneously, then things are changing, and yet they are not.
I liken this to the metaphor of the river. The current flows down the river. A log is carried from the mountains to the sea. Time passes. And yet it does not, for while the river appears to move, yet it is anchored in one place and in the absoluteness of its own existence. A river just is.
Of course, this idea is nothing new. Any llama or swami or mystic knows this and has always done so.
In the Bible, in Exodus 3: 14, God tells Moses; I am that I am. Or I am.
God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[a] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
Not: I was.
Not: I will be.
God seemingly asserts his omnipresent, omnitemporal existence.
If we are all of God and God is of us, if we exist in the Body of God, and indeed are a part of the body of God, then it seems to me there is no past or future. Only now.
I am God, and God is me.
I am as God is. Although I am not God.
I am that I am.
If I then exist as an integral part of a matrix which exists simultaneously, then it seems to me that those past lives are other lives I am living simultaneously rather than consequentially, that all my past lives, my memories of such-and-such a place and time are occurring at the same time.
Some years ago/over there, in a bay on the River which exists as a part of its absolute Now, I found the writings of the mystic, Joel Goldsmith, who has this to say:
God is life; and in that life which is God there are no years. … The human sense of life is not your real life.
My current intuitions around this are thus:
I have a sense of past lives, however lately I have begun to wonder if that is not something programmed into me, since it serves the Illusion for me to participate in that belief. With a belief in past, present and future comes a sense of Time as a finite quantity, and from that comes fear and need and all those things which do not serve us. My life is running out, and there are things I need to do in the time that remains. And thus, I trap myself in(to) false beliefs. I see the journey on the eternal river (for which time means nothing) from one bend to the next as the passing of time. That may be true, but perhaps it more accurate to see it in terms of the river as whole, and as a transition from one place or state to another. The river is eternal, and the short passage from bend to bend is a moment on the river and yet eternal. It is a matter of perception. After all, I only have this mind-construct known as memory to tell me it ever happened.
May I share an experience so profound it altered my perception of Time and Space completely? To do so I will use time words and tense, as a way of contrasting the illusion of time with what happened inside the experience.
I had gone bushwalking for the weekend with two German friends, in the mountains of New Zealand, to a place known as Lake Daniels, a small lake surrounded by forest and mountains. I t is a place at once serene and calm, and yet somehow mysterious as if, in emerging from the forest onto its shores, you have crossed into another place and time. It was late in the day, and we decided to go for a walk around the edge of the lake. We stooped in a small clearing, where a fallen tree protruded out into the lake. While the others were exploring the clearing, I decided to clamber out along the log above the water. I sat down and looked down into the water.
Then it happened.
It was as if the Universe expanded and drew me into it. I was suddenly nowhere and everywhere. I could see the farthest reaches of the Universe at the same time as I could see the smallest component. I was everywhere and nowhere. I saw everything. I was everything. And I saw myself and my part in the scheme of things. I was no more important than any other component. And I was no less important. I was no thing and I was all things.
Then I was abruptly back on my log.
I sat in stunned silence for a few moments. Then I checked my watch. I had only been gone an instant/eternity, and yet the hands on my watch had advanced by 20 minutes. Where had the time gone?
It hadn’t gone anywhere.
Only my perceptions had altered.
Thus, more and more, I am coming to the belief that my past lives are in reality (yes, I use that term deliberately) other lives.
Of course, that begs the question of whether in being aware of those other lives, I am, in fact changing them and the events contained within them and, in so doing, changing the nature of my own walk and reality changing My present.
The people of the mysterious Whanganui River in the North Island of New Zealand, which has just been given the legal status of a living entity, have a wonderful whakatauki (saying) to describe themselves:
Ko au te awa
Ko te awa ko au.
I am the river, and the river is me.
They get it.
Nga mihi ki a koe