Practical Spirituality 5 — Rewriting the Past
Updated: Mar 17, 2021
You often read, whether in extreme quantum physics or “woo woo” spiritual circles, about the concept of “time” being non-existent and everything co-existing at the same time in an eternal present moment, which changes depending on our “observation” or point of focus. This article tries to distill these esoteric and very difficult concepts and find a practical way in which they can be used in our daily lives. Let’s start off with a little story.
Day 1: You’re on your way out of work and you stumble upon a lady holding a petition form, seemingly mute from the sound of her voice as she tries to grab your attention as you’re walking by. You decide that you would like to help with the petition. After all, it’s just a signature. As you’re in a hurry, you don’t really read what’s written on it, you assume it’s for a good cause. As you fill in your name and address, you realize that the next collum lists the voluntary contributions from people. 20€, 40€… Wow, these people are generous! You give 5€, feeling a little cheap but hey, it’s better than nothing.
End of day de-brief: at the end of the day, you “debrief” with yourself and the experience you just had, and feel good about the fact you contributed to a good cause. The next time around, you’ll probably do the same.
Overall feeling: Positive.
Day 2: At lunch time, you’re in a conversation with a colleague, and you discuss petitions and fund collections. You share yesterday’s experience and your colleague assures you that it was a scam. It’s a documented case of people pretending they are mute or have some form of disability, putting a few fake names with generous contributions in the first few lines of the petition and praying on naive good hearted people to fall for their scheme.
End of day de-brief: you feel quite ashamed of falling so easily into such a scam. The next time around you won’t let yourself be fooled so easily!
Overall feeling: Negative.
Day 10: On your way to work you open the local newspaper and lo and behold, there is the picture of the lady which scammed you. The article headline reads: “Husband beats wife to death”. You find out, in the article, that this husband was forcing his wife to play the beggar or scammer out on the street and beat her to death one day because she didn’t manage to bring enough money to his liking.
End of day de-brief: you have mixed feelings and don’t know what to think anymore. On the one hand your gesture might have saved that women’s life for a day or two, on the other, it was only a temporary “fix”. At this point, you’re not sure whether you should give money or not the next time you see one of those beggars or scammers. On the other hand, now you are on a crusade against that husband and hope he will rot in a jail cell for the rest of his life!
Overall feeling: Mixed/Negative.
Day 252: As you walk to the train station on your way home from work, a left wing association is distributing a tract in the street. You usually don’t take any of these but for some reason you do today. As you read it on the train, you realize that this is about the judgment of the man who killed his wife several months ago. He is to serve a lifetime sentence in jail. You feel a sense of justice and satisfaction and keep reading on. Given his socio-economic background being raised in poverty, abused by his parents and dropping out of school without a proper education, he very quickly fell prey to loan sharks and other unscrupulous lenders, and ended up heavily indebted. In sheer desperation, as he was harassed day and night by aggressive debt collectors, he was putting pressure on his entire family to pay down the debt and prevent a foreclosure procedure.
End of day de-brief: life is not so simple. While there is no excuse for beating or killing someone, it is clear that simple black and white, good vs. evil analysis fall short of the complexity of a real life situation. You start seeing the “big picture” and at the same time, it doesn’t bring you any closer to a clear cut answer as to how you should act next when you meet a beggar/scammer out on the street. In the meantime, you intend to vote for the “Socialist Left Wing Party” to ensure that all the evil banks preying on the weak are nationalized. You start thinking in terms of prevention. Perhaps by cleaning up the banking sector, the poor and vulnerable won’t fall into debt and many violence and tragedies stemming from dire and stressful situations can be prevented.
Overall feeling: Negative/Outraged.
Day 308: At an evening dinner, after a long day of busy campaigning against the evil bankers, you meet a couple who seem quite shaken and depressed. They confess to you that a very dear friend had just committed suicide leaving behind his wife and kids. As you begin to empathise with the couple, they share the story behind the tragedy. A left wing party has successfully managed to shut down a pay day lending bank which was preying on vulnerable and poor people. The bank’s staff were mostly underpaid and exploited, sometimes indebted themselves in costly mortgages to be able to afford a family home. The dead bank clerk knew that his job was unethical and tried to find another way to support his family. But the cold reality of the labour market is not what politicians would make you believe. It is not so easy to find a job, especially for people with mediocre qualifications. It’s not that the guy was dumb, but he wasn’t the “best”. In the labour market, just like in a marathon, there is no place on the podium for the “4th best runner”. And so, after having lost the only source of income to support his family, the bank clerk committed suicide. Then the couple went on to complain about the fact that the bank was owned by a handful of shareholders which was milking and exploiting the bank worse than an industrial cow, and sold their shares to unsuspecting pension funds before the pay day lending bank collapsed. Then they moved with their funds to some other greener pastures to extract profits regardless of the societal costs.
End of day de-brief: now you have been introduced to yet a higher order of complexity to this whole problem. Even the staff of some evil corporation might be themselves exploited and victims of some higher perpetrator which is less and less identifiable. It’s all starting to look like the “system”. So you’re joining an even more radical left wing “justice warrior” group, the “Revolutionary Left Wing Party”, determined to rethink “private property”, “who gets what”, and tax the hell out of the ultra rich who manipulate all things in this world like master puppeteers. By this point you’ve nearly forgotten about what got you started on this whole crusade. Some lady that you met on your way to work?
Overall feelings: Negative/Pessimistic.
Day 489: You’ve become obsessed by the “elites” controlling the whole world and read book after book of great philosophers, political thinkers and experts of all kinds to try to drill down what the f*** is actually going on. As you dig deeper, you find… nothing. It’s a prisoners’ dilemma at a world wide scale, where each member of the elite is competing for the “spoils” and fighting against other “elites” while at the same time, acting in such a way to maintain the status quo in a cooperative fashion. The principle is simple: some “rules” of the game emerge, we have called these “Capitalism”, and are derived from the institutional and legal framework, which allow for “playing” the game of “who gets what”. Each actor makes decisions based on these rules, and the ones who are most successful at “bending” them, win. And of course, the moment one member of this “elite” snaps out of it and decides to denounce the whole scheme, he is immediately replaced by another member of the “elite” who acts in the exact same way as the rest: maximize your profits, increase your power and control over assets and politics, or else, be taken over by the rest. What happens at the low levels of a random corporation where workers are at the same time colleagues supposed to collaborate in the best interest of the corporation and also back stabbing career obsessed individuals who would do anything to get “above” the rest; that same logic prevails at the highest levels of power. At the same time, you realize that these “elites” only have the illusion of control and are under the spell of this “systemic” beast. Although they have access to the best available knowledge to get ahead of their competitors, they fail to act on the most dangerous threat which will make them sink with the ship: climate change, pollution, pesticides, etc. They live in a “dream” world, as illusory as that of the ultra-poor who look forward to winning the lottery; they think they can “outlive” such disasters by burying themselves in bunkers and waiting for the manpocalypse to “blow over”, resuming their “rule” over what little humans are left after the dust settles (after such disasters as tsunamis, rising waters, earth quakes, depleted soils, polluted air… are “gone”). All of which is just as much an illusion as the likelihood of the random poor person to win the lottery. Given our current levels of interdependence, a civilization level collapse will throw us back into the medieval ages for centuries, which no bunker can shield you against.
End of day de-brief: that’s it, you feel powerless. It’s like the “elite” are in control and at the same time, aren’t. It’s like the “rules” of the game, which emerged almost spontaneously and gradually throughout the centuries and continuously evolve in a seemingly uncoordinated manner, are now in control. It leaves you almost without concrete enemies. You start joining intellectual groups and writing essays about a Utopian society, without any clear idea as to how to get there from “here”. You’re also on the verge of depression and seek desperately a way out of your mental prison and near inescapable predicament: the manpocalypse is near and there is nothing you can do about it. What’s worse, it’s almost as if responsibility is diffused so widely, as if each person was a well oiled gear, interdependent and connected to all other gears (the “elite” included) in a mad machine which has a life of its own.
Overall feeling: Very negative/Depressive/Powerless.
Day 589: As you reach the point where you are about to save up money for your own bunker, wondering if you had gone mad, something in you snapped. You went back to the quintessential questions which drive human existence: “Who am I? Why am I here?” This didn’t make sense. A bunch of meat and bone stuffed self-aware bipedal creatures dicking around on a lonely planet whirling at thousands of miles per hour through the Galaxy, one among billions of others in a seemingly Infinite Universe. What the f*** was this s*** all about? And so you joined a Kundalini Meditation circle, hoping you would get some answers there. During one meditation session, as you were earnestly following the Masters’ instructions and craved for answers on where this circus show was heading and why, you got an answer. It just popped into your mind, and you just knew…
Each one of your cells is made of trillions of atoms, and humans are made of trillions of cells… How silly to believe that this logic of elements nested into one another stops with humans.
Each and every human is like one cell in the body of a global organism which we are far from imagining, just like one of our cells is clueless as to what a “human” is. Some called it an “ecosystem”, but it is much more than that. We have spent a little over 25.000 years inside the “womb” of Mother Earth, and what is happening to us now is our birth. A birth is one of the most painful and traumatic event for both the mother and the child, but on the “other side”, it is very much like entering into another dimension.
And now you see that we have created on the outside, an infinitely more complex reflection of what we are on the inside:
- The transition to “clean” energy sources is the same as the moment when the umbilical cord is cut and the baby takes its first breath. Notice that at the moment, we are indeed nourished by the “blood” of our Mother… “fossil” fuels…
- Pollution and other environmental degradation are a reflection of what happens when a baby goes beyond term. The amniotic fluid starts the become toxic as the baby continuously pees inside of the womb and is in danger of being poisoned by his own excrement… How adequate to describe our current situation with polluted oceans, landfills, nuclear waste, pesticides and many more as drowning in our own “pee”.
- A great many complications can happen during pregnancy, including the baby being strangled by the umbilical cord. Indeed, the “elites”, governments and banks are very much like the placenta, which positions itself as the intermediary via which all nutrients flow into the baby’s body. If the baby has the cord tied around its neck, it can experience the placenta as trying to starve it instead of feeding it.
- The financial system corresponds to the circulatory system and the heart which is in charge of distributing the energy/oxygen (money at our level) throughout the body to each of its cells. Today, it is very much dependent on the placenta, but once the umbilical cord is cut, it’s a brand new financial system we are looking at. Don’t you find that following the news about the financial system shows signs of an imminent collapse? (Deutsche bank, the central bankers’ bubble, trade wars…)
- The Internet is like our nervous system. It is supposed to connect each and every one of us (individual cells) to coordinate our decisions in order to act like one global organism. Just observe any baby once outside the womb, it clearly lacks all sense of coordinated movement. So let’s not be in a hurry. It’s just a start!
- At scale, our birth is probably going to take a decade or more, so let’s just buckle up and prepare for a heck of a ride ! On the other side, however, it’s going to be wonderful.
End of day de-brief: so now you get the “big picture”. Indeed, as you zoom out continuously, things start to take a metaphysical dimension. We are just one “building block” of the Universe, one strategy that Infinity found to explore itself and avoid a pointless circular story where atoms bounce around for all eternity, or where dead planets circle burning suns until their inevitable explosion, or where biological life eats itself for a couple billion years before its disappears swallowed by the destruction of the planet it inhabits. Infinity cannot be anything less than what it already is. We are a mirror reflection of the Infinite nature of the Universe: creating infinitely more complex structures and beings in order to explore its Infinite nature to the fullest. All it is waiting for is for the “parts” of this new building block to gain a real sense of self awareness and each human to start acting like one cell inside a global organism rather than like an auto-immune disease (humans fighting other humans). It is the same story all over again: hydrogen atoms colliding into one another chaotically until they come up with the “idea” to form a Star (a harmonious interaction between hydrogen atoms); a bunch of amino acids and proteins swimming around in the ocean reacting chemically with one another (destroying each other) until they find a way to form a coherent whole, a form of orderly chemical reaction, stable across time, and with the ability to multiply/replicate itself (a living cell).
In other words, what we have experienced was a normal and natural process of evolution at our level. You can summarize the entire story of the human species as trying to uncover the rules which allow for a harmonious interaction between humans. And we are getting darn close. Capitalism, the “evil elites”, was just one way that this global organism has of multiplying and growing (just look at the graph of human population growth, and put it side by side with the growth of a human embryo). It could have been less painful, it could have gone more smoothly, but it was always part of the plan. And capitalism, the current “unfair” financial system, all of it will be transcended naturally just like a baby grows from being 8 months old in the womb to being 9 months old and his lungs are being prepared to breathe for the first time.
You finally remember how all of this started: you wanted to know if you would give 5€ to a beggar/scammer in the street or not. And at the end of your journey, the answer is…
You don’t have a god damn clue.
If you try to integrate all of the “lessons” and levels above, what you get is a contradictory schizophrenic chaos where things make sense and at the same time, you’re still right here, on this rock hurdling through space with climate change on your door step. What the f*** are you supposed to do? Let things run their course? If this is a “natural” process, then you may as well just kick your heels up and wait! Or maybe, imbued with the righteousness of the Truth, become a cell which is part of the immune system and attack other cells which you believe are bacteria and viruses… Who is to tell?
Look at your hands. Take your right hand, and scratch your left hand hard with your index finger. From your perspective, as a global organism, you just feel dumb and ashamed for inflicting yourself harm. You don’t punish your right hand’s index or pity the dead skin cells on your left hand. You vow never to do such a stupid thing again and send lots of love to your left hand for a prompt recovery.
From the perspective of your cells, if they were clueless about being part of a global organism (you) and behaved like us at our current level of understanding and awareness, they would send in a camera crew to film the massacre and butchery of the millions of dead skin cells which suffered this dreadful ordeal under the sneaky and uncalled for attack of your right hand’s index finger. The rest of the body might be deliberating whether a coalition of armed cell forces should invade your index finger and put those cells in jail or simply cut off your index finger altogether.
Which perspective is “true”? Both are. In the end, you are left to your own inner wisdom, your intuition, your gut feeling and the most fundamental questions of all. Who are you? Who do you want to be? Do you feel like giving money to that lady in the street or not?
But the “big picture” does give you a sense of comfort and faith, that something much bigger is at play here, something that is beyond our understanding. It’s not that we don’t have a “part” to play, but that the outcome is not necessarily in our control. Think of your left hand and the wound of the scratch you left behind. What do you think happens next? That each single white cell that comes to disinfect the wound has a predetermined destiny? No. Rather, there is a higher form of intelligence which can account for the free will of your own cells and creates enough white cells in excess to ensure that the end result, that of your wound being disinfected, is guaranteed, even if there are a nearly infinite number of ways it can be done. By the same token, we will move beyond capitalism, overcome climate change, and be born to another dimension whether we like it or not.
The most fundamental guiding principles are therefore to be found within.Why do you think a white cell goes about happily disinfecting your wound? Because it knows it is a white cell, and knowing what it is, it also knows that doing something which is in accordance with what it is will bring it joy, meaning, purpose, fulfillment, happiness and peace of mind.
It’s so frustrating, after all this mystical and esoteric “trip” to be thrown some banalities which have been around forever: follow your passions, follow your heart, do what feels right to you… Because ultimately, if we follow what brings us true, meaningful joy, we will be in alignment with who we are, and will receive all the necessary resources to do what we are, just like a white cell receives all the necessary resources for it to do what it is meant to do.
Overall feeling: Very Positive, hopeful, ecstatic, at Peace with the Universe, God, Infinity, and Everything.
If you’ve read this article up to this point, you may be wondering why I’m bothering to write a conclusion. Doesn’t it sound like an ending, just above?
What you may have forgotten, is that the introductory paragraph was about a specific subject altogether: how rewriting your past from your eternal “present” moment changes the future you will get to experience.
Just look back at the story of the lady asking for money. At the different stages of understanding you have reached, you have reinterpreted or you could even say rewritten what has happened to you in the past: aka, you gave money to a lady petitioning in the street. As your perspective shifted, your likely behaviour faced with a similar situation also shifted. And so you understand that reinterpreting, rewriting or healing your past is absolutely key if you want to change who you are and what you want to experience. If you had stuck with the perspective from “Day 2” and the information your colleague gave you about that lady ripping you off, what kind of behaviour would you have displayed the next time around? Similarly, if you don’t heal childhood traumas, and hold on to those memories and defining moments determining who you are (for instance, a teacher telling you that you are dumb as a board and you’ll never succeed in life), then your life story may just be a repeating sequence of similar events where you find confirmation of the memories you hold onto (you’re as dumb as a board and will never succeed). What you think about yourself and what you think about the World is a prism which filters out all of the complex layers of reality and will get you to experience just one shade, just one dimension to an infinitely deep and complex reality.
What do you want to see? A genuine lady collecting funds for a good cause? A scammer extorting money from naïve passersby? A desperate women trying to survive and helping her angry husband pay his debts? An agent unknowingly working for the profits of a pay day lending bank? A slave at the end of a long chain of intermediaries sucking up wealth to the ultra rich via dividends? Another victim of a faceless “system” which controls the entire human race and will eventually spell the collapse of the entire human civilization? A fellow struggling cell inside the body of a global organism which is about to be born to a transcendental reality?
Perhaps you can see all of these at once, which will enable you to play whatever role you want to play in this Grand Theater called Life. When you begin to see Life in this way, you understand that it is not the outside world that changes, it is you that changes. You are like a painter which has rediscovered that he/she can use an infinite number of colors besides black and white. It may just enable him/her to paint Life in a more intricate, deep, profound and beautiful way.