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“I believe that the existence of the classical ‘path’ can be pregnantly formulated as follows: The ‘path’ comes into existence only when we observe it.” –Werner Heisenberg, 1927
Certain aspects of Quantum Theory would seem to indicate that the observer influences reality simply through the act of observing it. This is explained in Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Heisenberg was a physicist studying subatomic phenomena. He discovered that it is possible to either measure a particle’s position or its momentum, but not both. The mere act of observing a subatomic particle changes either the position or the momentum, depending on how you observe it. In other words, the act of observing reality changes the physical structure of reality.
An in-depth discussion of this principle is beyond the scope of this book. Let’s just say that in general terms the choices you make create reality for you. Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger speculated in 1935 that the act of observing a subatomic reaction creates two paths of probability. He illustrated this in his famous experiment concerning a cat. The Schrodinger’s Cat experiment is a thought experiment illustrating the seeming absurdities of quantum physics. In the experiment, a cat is placed in a sealed box with a vial of poisonous gas. The release of the gas is controlled by the decay of a radioactive material. In Schrodinger’s thought experiment, the release of a single atom of radioactive material is enough to break the vial and release the deadly poison. Since Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle states that we cannot know for sure both the position and the momentum of a single particle, it is impossible to know for sure whether the cat is alive or dead without opening the box. According to quantum theory, the cat is both alive and dead at the same time. This state of being both alive and dead is called a state of superposition, and this somewhat confusing paradox can only be resolved by assuming the existence of two separate universes: One in which the cat is dead, and one in which the cat is alive.
This rather elaborate thought experiment simply means that it is quite possible that there is more than one universe. It works this way, according to some theoreticians: You have a choice. In making a decision how to act on that choice, you create two alternate realities: One in which you made the choice, and the other in which you didn’t. The question is, did that alternate reality in which you made the choice suddenly spring into existence, or had it always existed?
I propose that all alternate realities have always existed. Every possible permutation of every person’s choices has always existed in a Multiverse of sorts. In this Multiverse, everything that is possible has happened in one universe or another. Each choice traces a line of probability. When you choose between two paths, one path branches off into two forks. Each choice you make creates yet another fork. The Multiverse contains all possible universes. The paths from universe to universe connect to each other like an infinite silver lattice.
There is a universe in which you are a male, and a universe in which you are a female. There’s a universe in which you may be some other gender, or no gender at all. There’s a universe in which you chose to go to college, and one in which you did not. There’s a universe in which you are a vegetarian, and a universe in which you are a carnivore. There is an infinite number of alternate yous all living, learning, and growing, and making alternate choices that send them off into yet another universe in the Multiverse.
Suppose that this latticework of permutations known as the Multiverse exists independent of time. As we travel along this latticework of the Multiverse, time is nothing more than our way of making things appear coherently, and in order. It’s our way of understanding our experiences. As one wit has said, “Time is nature’s way of keeping everything from happening at once.”
Picture it this way: if you’re like me you have a shelf full of DVDs. Each of those DVDs contains a movie. The entire movie exists all at once, self-contained in that bit of plastic on your shelf. But in order to experience that movie, you have to take it off the shelf and view it from start to finish, through time. What if the true nature of reality, of the Multiverse, is that the Multiverse is just an infinite collection of DVDs, where every choice you make puts you into a new movie? If that is the case, then time is an illusion. It is just our way of making sense of what we’ve chosen to experience.
As we live our lives, we trace a path on the latticework of the Multiverse. That path has always existed. We’re just connecting the dots as we make certain choices and work our way through the latticework. From this viewpoint, both free will and determinism are true. All the possible decisions we could ever make in life already exist. They’re pre-determined. But as we live our lives, we are free to choose among those pre-determined possibilities. So although the possibilities already exist, we exercise our free will in choosing which possibilities to experience. Other versions of ourselves may choose other possibilities. Either way, the past we choose for our lives is ultimately our own, and the result of our own choices.
Now let’s take that a step further.
If time is just an illusion, then it would be theoretically possible to live more than one life at a time. You can watch more than one movie. If you’ve seen one movie, there’s no reason why you can’t choose to watch another one or even watch two at the same time, if you have a good attention span. Anyone who has ever lived with a channel surfer can relate to this idea.
You could even identify with different characters in the same movie at different times, depending on what you’re feeling when you watch the movie. Or you could rewind or fast forward to your favorite parts.
What I’m proposing here is a sort of reincarnation on steroids. Let’s just assume for a moment that reincarnation is possible. If that is so, then reincarnation wouldn’t be time-dependent, since time is an illusion. So you could live one life in 21st century America, then turn right around and live your next life in 2000 B.C. E. Egypt, simply by choosing a different starting point on the lattice of the Multiverse. You could bounce back and forth from future to past to present, not having to live your various lives chronologically, since time only exists when you incarnate. It doesn’t exist in-between incarnations, in that place we call the Summerlands, or Avalon, or Tir Na N’Og. A place without time would quite literally be the “Land of the Young,” as it would be impossible to age in such a place.
What would be the purpose of living multiple lives? The answer is simple: To know new things. As we continue to travel along the latticework of the Multiverse, we gain new knowledge from life to life, storing up wisdom through experience. At first memories of past lives are buried in the subconscious mind and not readily available except as instinct and intuition. But as experience is gained, old knowledge becomes more readily available first through subconscious intuitions and then more and more by direct memories of those experiences. As we learn to integrate aspects of our past selves, we become more adept at remembering. As we recall knowledge gained in past lives, we continue to learn and grow in this life.
How many people are experiencing new lives through reincarnation? Well, how would you pick a number? Let’s suppose for a moment that you could go to the extreme. How many souls would it take to sustain such a system, assuming that time is an illusion and people could interact with themselves in different incarnations at the same time? Remember that time is irrelevant. All time does is indicate your path through the lattice. So you could be traveling many different paths all at once. How many souls would there be? Would it be possible to sustain such a Multiverse with only one soul? What if there was only one soul in the entire universe? That would mean that I am you, and you are me. That jerk who cut you off in traffic last week was actually you in another incarnation. That waitress who drove you nuts at lunch yesterday was actually you too. That cute girl or that handsome guy who smiled at you was also just another aspect of you. How would it change your perceptions if you looked upon everyone you met as just another aspect of yourself? What if every person around you was just you in another aspect?
Now imagine that this one soul traveling through the Multiverse has experienced life in other forms as well: As animals, plants, as every living thing. How would that change your perception of the nature that surrounds you if you knew that what you are doing to Nature, you are ultimately doing to yourself?
The Bard Taliesin reflects this idea in an excerpt from his poem, I Am Taliesin:
I have been a blue salmon,
I have been a dog, a stag, a roebuck on the mountain,
A stock, a spade, an axe in the hand,
A stallion, a bull, a buck,
I was reaped and placed in an oven;
I fell to the ground when I was being roasted
And a hen swallowed me.
For nine nights was I in her crop.
I have been dead, I have been alive.
I am Taliesin.
Take the idea of the reincarnation of the one soul even further. What if there is life on other planets? Could you have experienced life a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away? How would that change your perceptions of the nature of life in this universe? How would it change your perception of the nature of your dreams? If it is possible that you lived in another universe where all things are possible, could your dreams reflect another reality?
As the One Soul continues to reincarnate, to learn and to grow, its knowledge would increase exponentially. Eventually such a soul would approach godlike knowledge. Could it be possible that the Gods and the Goddesses are merely aspects of ourselves that have advanced to the point of possessing divine knowledge? As these divine beings continue to grow and learn, they approach omnipotence.
If there is such a thing as a God, then one of the characteristics of God is a being who is all-knowing, or omniscient. If experience is the best teacher, then the best way to learn something is to experience it for firsthand: To make the mistakes, take the risks, to participate, to learn from doing.
Returning to the lattice of the Multiverse for a moment, it is by definition the self-contained representation of every experience it would be possible to have as a living entity. In other words, it contains all possible knowledge. In Sanskrit, this Multiverse containing all possible knowledge is known as the Akashic Records.
The best way to become omniscient then would be to experience everything there is to know. And the best way to do that would be to trace all of the paths in the Akashic Records (the Multiverse) until every possible permutation had become part of your experience. The further along you were in this journey, the more divine and godlike you would become. When you had finished this task, you would be all-knowing. You would be God.
So in a way we are all connected. In a way we are all God. We are all one soul, in the process of discovering our Godhood. When the journey is over, we will become God. From the Center, we are all already God. We are the One Soul, ever-learning, ever-growing.
The Green Man
Have you ever looked at the clouds and seen faces or other images in them? Most children, and many adults, have played this game from time to time, but have you ever stopped to think about why you saw a certain image and not another? There is no real image there in the clouds, so any image you see is a projection of your own mind onto the pattern in the sky. The next time you see an image in the clouds, ask yourself what that image means to you, and what might be going on in your life that would cause you to see that particular image.
The ancient Celts spoke of the Green Man. The Green Man was the physical embodiment of nature in divine form. He was often depicted as a face made of leaves and twigs. The Celts often saw faces in the trees in much the same way that we see faces in the clouds. One Celtic legend has it that when an ancestor dies, his or her soul inhabits a tree. According to this legend, each tree has its own properties and personality. If a Celt saw the face of an ancestor in a tree, they noted the type of tree and its qualities. It was believed that the ancestor whose face they saw in the tree was sending a message through the type of tree they chose to manifest in.
Of course, there was no real face in the tree. What was at work here was the observer’s own unconscious mind, meeting her need to hear from an ancestor from beyond the grave.
When you spend time in nature, notice which things attract your attention. Think about what those things mean to you, and ask yourself why this particular thing should capture your attention at this particular time. As you notice what captures your attention, are you given any choices? Is something in the woods calling to you to make a decision? If you make a choice, what new universe will you enter by choosing? What universe might you leave behind?