Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pulling Me Forward

There are those times in life when it seems destiny draws me, shows the way, leads me to a particular door and gives me the desire to want to open it, all the while leading me past a dozen other doors I don't even think about. The age-old questions of free will and predestination bring up certain considerations that in a broader context argue toward a more holistic rather than a linear progression of time. Over the past three to four years, I've been doing a lot of reading about setting intentions and moving toward your goals. Approaches like The Secret are good examples of philosophical ideals that tend toward free will. Things come about because we direct our thoughts a particular way. Another approach, such as Calvinism in Christianity, says that all things are determined ahead of time and follow a particular and unchangeable path. Things come about as they are predetermined and there's nothing we can do to change them, only to accept them.

These ideologies limit themselves to a linear perspective of time. They imply that cause and effect flow from past to present to future. If "this" happens now--you think positively, God predestines something--"that" necessarily follows. The brain has evolved to operate according to such a cosmology, thus it is often, perhaps even typical, that good or bad fortune surprises us, or seems like dumb luck, because in some linear fashion we haven't been able to observe a chronological ordering of causes and effects.

But let's say that we exist past-present-future all at the same time. Because of our evolution, our brains and how they work, we can only experience time linearly, or experience existence according to linear time, while in reality we actually exist in all moments of time simultaneously. As we move through existence, we are only aware of one moment following the next, when in reality, conscious versions of myself both precede and follow me.

Looking at existence this way, it makes sense that we would have premonitions, and experience deja vu. It would also make sense that things that are happening in "the future" are influencing us in the present. What we do now, influences our past selves. Let's say, for example that I chose not to go to Los Angeles right now. A few weeks ago, I was feeling strong premonitions about going to California and receiving signs about it, as I have over the past few days. Those signs and premonitions happened because that's what I'm doing now--going to California. My present actions influenced what is now my past self.

I think of it as something like many people walking on a high wire. Each person's actions influences everyone on the wire. When someone up ahead trips, everyone on the wire feels the vibrations. Each person experiences the wire in linear fashion, but actions before and behind send energy to us. This is why, from the standpoint of the brain, it's easy to think of past events affecting us now, and to see signs or premonitions as essentially unreliable. This is why it often feels that we are destined to certain things. The strength of the intentions of our future selves might feel like predetermined happenings. This is why when we meet people special to us that it often seems like destiny:  those feelings flow backward as well as forward.

Regret is such a strong emotion; it has the force of sending messages to past selves. Regret is a kind of reverse hope. Where hope sends energy "forward," regret is a kind of setting intentions for the past we wish would have experienced. That energy might come in the form of dreams to lead us to make a different decision, or to especially impress a different course upon us. Right now, in my past, my past selves are feeling the energy of my breaking free from fears, of my following my heart and my bliss. When I look back at my life, at times like when I chose to go with an ex-girlfriend to California, that it was something I understand now was an important experience. When she broke up with me, it was one of the most difficult experiences I've ever endured, but I see now that it was necessary, and I understand the feelings I had the day she broke up with me to let her go, to let her find her own way because the way I've come since that time has allowed me to have a much richer experience of life.

I don't know how much we can change, but I'm considering a theory that perhaps a "life," the one we incarnate into, requires several "passes" to learn all of the lessons, to work out all of the karma, to conquer all the fears. The first guy on the line perhaps has the greatest shocks and difficulties, but as he feels regrets and sends back energy to make changes, the life improves, and eventually we learn what we need to learn, gain what we need to gain, and balance the karmic demands of that particular existence. Sometimes it's feels like destiny, sometimes it feels as if we choose, but always, we are moving through past, present, and future and finding our way.