Saturday, September 10, 2016

The question of "why am I me"

I've written before about time being an illusion, but it's always difficult to describe why it is.  But understanding what time is and why time does not exist is important in describing what you are and where you will "go" after death.  I started out asking myself "Why am I conscious in this particular body at this particular time in history".  It is in reference to why my physical identity is who it is, not about the philosophical question of "why am I here", which has its own simple answer.  I didn't have a very good answer before, but I think I do now.  A lot of my confusion stemmed from having various different ideas about physical reality, afterlife, etc.  Now I want to write down an explanation of how I see reality now.

Growing up Christian, I was always taught about what to expect after death.  We were never taught anything about before birth because Christianity is based on the idea that we are created at birth.  What I mean by that is that our SOUL is born at physical birth.  That is why it always talk about the resurrection, but do not believe in reincarnation (even though it is mentioned in the bible, but people only relate to it to Jesus).  Because so many people accept this belief, it's easier to believe in time, and thus everything has to be reconciled by the time aspect.  If one was in existence BEFORE physical birth and you believe in time, then you have to ask yourself "When did I come into existence as a soul?"  This again is a question framed in terms of a timeline.  But I've said that time is an illusion because of how we experience physical reality.  It is also why the common interpretation of reincarnation (the linear progression of multiple lives) does not work, which I'll explain later.

The physical universe is made up of what we perceive to be "matter".  "Matter" is just a word that was made up to describe something that we can perceive through things we call senses.  Because we experience our senses, and they are associated with a matter object (our bodies), we call them physical senses.  We take for granted that we can sense things at all and attribute this ability to our physical body's brain.  There is no doubt that the sensory organs and receptacles are connected to the brain, but the question is how does the brain recognize "things"?  A "thing" is a non-physical concept.  "Sense" is also a non-physical concept.  There is no such thing as "touch".  There is an act or feeling of "touch", but you cannot hold "touch".  The same is true for any of the other senses.    You can hold the things that create or enable a sense, but you cannot physically hold or point to a sense.  You only experience them.

Having said this then, matter only exists because we sense it.  And we can sense it because somehow, that input becomes a "known".  This "known" exists in "space", which again is a function of our senses.  We perceive matter in a limited way using sight, sound, and touch.  Space is perceived as a 3 "dimensional" projection.  But ask yourself this: "What is a dimension?"  "What is projecting this space?"  Again, we take for granted that these things are occurring; that space is being "projected" and that there are dimensions to be experienced.  Whatever your ideas of the cause for this, this space is the source of the concept of time.  When I say "projected", some of you will say "nothing is projected, it just exists as physical matter in space".  But if you take into consideration what I explained about our senses creating the perception of the physical universe, then it is a projection INTO our senses.  Light cannot be perceived if it does not get projected into our eyes.  Sound cannot be perceived until it is projected into our ears.  You cannot feel anything unless something is projected onto your skin.  Therefore, physical reality is a projection into our senses.  The assumption that space exists with or without our own existence is a mental belief and we project our beliefs outward (we share our beliefs, we teach them, etc.).

As an aside, those things you can sense physically does not mean there aren't other things that cannot be sensed physically.  It just means you cannot use physical senses to detect those non-physical "things".  But even our physical senses are really non-physical senses, simply attuned to detect a limited range of experience.  For example, we can only "see" visible light, we can only "hear" audible sounds within a limited frequency range, we can only "touch" in very specific ways (physical contact).  But those things you cannot detect does not mean they are not there.  You cannot physically sense the air you breath, but you know it exists (the feeling of the air on your skin is the sense of pressure waves due to the molecular compression of air molecules, but without that compression, you cannot feel the air itself).  In the same way as the "air" around us is not devoid of things, the "vacuum of space" isn't a void of "emptiness" either, but is instead filled with other concepts we cannot perceive using physical senses or instrumentation.

We experience time in the same way as we experience space: through our senses.  We perceive events in a sequence, and we call that sequence time.  Because we are so used to physical activities being sequences, we project that concept to the mental projections as well.  In other words, we think in linear terms; do this first, then that next, etc.  But in the non-physical (mental), there is no need to be linear in our actions.  It is only because we are so used to physically acting in linear terms that we do so with our thoughts.  This is the same reason why we interpret things we do not recognize in terms of things that we do.  Our entire language is created on this premise of using something we can describe or understand to explain something new or something we cannot describe using common understanding.  The feeling of time is just that, a feeling.  But it is as real as the perception of time passing.  In fact, the perception of time is automatically translated as a feeling, some more strongly than others.  It is the associative glue for our memories, allowing us to retain certain memories and not others.  This is why people who remember major events well can remember what it felt like at that time as well.  But those mundane events we do not remember, we have very limited feelings about.  That is how we are able to perceive time: our memory of the experiences associated with feelings.  So time can be thought of as a sense: feeling.  In a timeless environment, you will not be experiencing "time", but the feeling of experience which is change.  Again, these are concepts, and we only know concepts since physical reality is simply a perception of concepts.

I've said in another post that time is relative.  Another way to look at this relativity is in relation to which "you" in time you are referring to.  In our bodies, we always think of time in terms relative to our current "now".  So we say the "past" because it is relative to our current "now".  But if you put your focus in a past "now", then it is not the "past" anymore.  It is simply "now".  So depending on where your focus is along the timeline, it is "now".  That is what it means to say "all is now", because you can shift your frame of reference rather than looking back or forward from a specific point in the time reference.  By shifting your frame of reference, you recreate the "now", which is how you would have what's considered "time travel".

Before I continue, I need to clarify what I mean by "time does not exist" or "time is an illusion" a bit more.  The term "time" represents the concept of linear, constant, forward "events".  "Events" are what we perceive at any given "moment in time".  Outside of time/space, you have clarity of your thoughts and feelings.  The feeling of change is the distinction between one state and another.  Outside of physicality, this feeling of change exists as well, so the feeling of "time" exists, but "time" as I defined it (linear passage in one direction) does not.  While all things occur simultaneously, and one could go to any "event" at any "time", it is also true that you can sense the difference between your state of being before and after a change both of "yourself" and around "you".  This would be the equivalent of "time" without the physical body.  "Time" is perceived differently, just as everything else is differentiated between the physical and non-physical by the type of perceptions.  In a way, it can be said that what is experienced in the physical is also experienced in the non-physical, but with the main difference being how they are perceived and interpreted.  When you experience things in terms of "time", you catch glimpses or snapshots of the "now" moment, and each individual's ability to remember the "past" to put the "now" experience into context, determines the overall interpretation of the experience.  Outside of the sequential nature of "time", you now have the benefit of experiencing the whole as it is, without the sequential nature of "time", and thus your interpretation differs.  This is because what you think of moments that come and go are really one possibility chosen out of all existing possibilities.  If you consider that a choice can only be made because other choices exist, then it is the lack of experience of those not-chosen possibilities that it seems like time moves in a linear fashion.  But outside of this linear time behavior, you can experience all of those possibilities, and thus the sense of time isn't about linearity, but about experience and how it affects you.

Going back to the subject of reincarnation, if you believe that a person's whole existence, whether as a physical being or a spiritual being, began at physical birth, then you may have a hard time accepting the concept of reincarnation.  But I think this is due to the common explanation for reincarnation, not just because you believe in a physical birth-origin.  The common explanation says that a person being born is the result of a past person's life and that there is some kind of "karmic debt" that must be re-payed by the new life, hence their birth.  If that debt is not paid or a new debt is incurred, another incarnation must "atone" for that debt.  In all of these lives, it is supposedly the same overall person.  You can see now why people who believe in a creation-at-birth belief cannot believe in this idea of reincarnation, because it says that a person existed before birth.  But even if you believed in pre-birth existence, this explanation for reincarnation does not satisfy me because it implies a type of hell, where a soul is forced to relive physical existence over and over again.  A true "groundhog day" situation for those who believe in karmic debt.  My belief is that reincarnation does not infer linear existences of a soul.  Again, the idea for anything being linear is tied to the belief in the concept of time.  In this case, you believe that historical time exists, that a past exists, and a future that has not happened yet, will exist.  But this will create a problem for those who believe in a pre-birth soul.  It implies that time exists beyond the physical reality.  If time exists in the non-physical, then it creates the paradox of "when did the initial soul or God come into existence and how?"  I am not saying that historical time does not exist as actual moments.  I'm saying that the linearity of historical time is an illusion.  If you were outside the bounds of physical time, then you can observe any point in historical time.  The feeling of physical time is the non-stop forward motion through a linear path, dictated by our choices.  But without our physical bodies, we could stop that feeling of motion, change directions, jump to another point, etc.

I believe that reincarnation is simply the idea that a single soul has multiple life experiences.  It does not have anything to do with linear progression, nor does it have anything to do with "karmic debt".  The idea of "karmic debt" is misunderstood as a type of punishment, but in my belief, all incarnations are about experiences, and circumstantial repetition by multiple lives is simply a choice to fully experience that circumstance.  But this will bring up the issue of "free will" for some, as it implies that our lives are predestined.  While the circumstances of each life experience is set before birth, they are not predestined in the sense that you are not an unwitting participant, nor does life planning imply no choice since you are participating in the planning as well as the execution of that plan.  You as the soul defined the life parameters that you as the soul incarnate will experience.  Therefore, it does not exclude free-will.  And it is not predestined in the sense that the life experience is not planned moment to moment.  The incarnation living in the experience makes choices and determines the ending, even if the settings and situation is planned (again by you as the soul).  Planning simply means the probable conditions are more likely to be actualized.  All of the possible lives are lived simultaneously, in a timeless reality.  The individual lives are a new identity of the soul.  Some people use the term Oversoul to describe the whole self, while each individual life is called a soul.  In either case, the idea is that you as an identity living in physical life is an aspect of your whole self, living your life simultaneously with other lives of your whole self.  These other lives are lived in various times, places, races, situations, etc.

Now to answer my question about why I'm here at this time in this body, the above explanations are the key.  Without time outside of physical reality, there is no linearity of events.  So a part of me living in the 1500's exists in its own "now", while I live in my "now".  There may even be another me living in the same time period as I do now, but as a completely different person.  Some people will meet themselves like this and have the strange feeling like they are siblings.  You may see past relatives who look or behave in a similar manner as you and not realize why.

With this in mind, I believe that I am a unique portion of my soul, and that when I die, the present physical "I" do not reincarnate as another being.  It's the whole "I" that "reincarnates", or better stated, experiences multiple lives.  Parts of my personality will exist in the other lives, just as parts of them live in me today because we are all part of the same single entity.  This is where the confusion lies, because when people talk about reincarnation, they use the pronoun "you", but "you" can be in reference to your current incarnation self or your overall soul, since there really is no separation between the two.  I myself as an individual portion of the whole will continue "being" in the non-physical reality.  This has to do with what I said about perception being a mental act.  Our thoughts are projected outward and we perceive this outcome.  In non-physical reality, we still do this act, but not always as physical matter, but simply as energy.

Each corresponding life adds to the whole through its own experiences and perspectives.  The physical reality life lesson provides a means for learning through a cooperative "play", where you along with the agreement of other participants, create situations for each to learn from.  This is different than self-learning, where you create the situations and act through them alone.  What you don't know, you will not know that you do not know, and therefore, you may not experience such situations.  But others may know, and them being in the same "play" gives you an opportunity to experience such things.  That is why we incarnate together with multitude of other soul incarnates in this "play" called physical reality

While most of us upon "death" will not, as the same personality that just "died", re-enter into another Earth-life, this doesn't mean that they could not or would not.  This can happen for one reason or another (mostly dealing with an obsession or accidental death), but most of us who are not preoccupied with Earth-life will continue to exist in the non-physical rather than "reincarnate".  The way this happens isn't the way most people think because our ideas about identity is wrong.  A life is only an individual in terms of identity while in a physical body.  But when someone dies and returns to their whole self, they return to being whole, a conglomeration of experienced personalities, each representing a perspective and quality.  It is this pool of quality and personalities that all incarnations are created from.  This new creation from a mix of aspects of the whole self is a new identity.  And this identity, if it takes on a new physical life, can have portions of many past lives.  Just because a new identity is created does not mean it is separate or disconnected from the whole.  It is this misconception that creates confusion about what happens to us upon death.  We in a body were never separated from the whole self.  We are only blinded to the connection and wholeness while in the body due to the limitations of the physical senses.

Why create multiple incarnations?  Because each incarnation is an individual and a new being.  The whole self learns through the incarnations, but having new incarnations for each experience gives it a "freshness" so to speak of going in without any previous knowledge or understanding.  Thus giving the new incarnation a chance to learn something new.  This is the process of being born without any knowledge.  So even though the new incarnation is really a portion of the whole self, meaning it is an old soul, the new personality is fresh and without any past information.  This does not mean that some incarnations do not have past information from the whole.  Even that is a part of the planning, and in some cases, it is an accident.  The whole soul itself is a learning entity, making mistakes and learning from them.

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