Healing the Past

I highly recommend Brain Longevity by Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. with Cameron Stauth. They explain how meditation-as-medicine (the “magic bullet”) opens windows to personal transformation. It’s relevant to my LinkedIn post on the nature of Time. So I’ll give you an example of how medical “matter over mind” leads to its compliment, “mind over matter.”

People get “stuck” when they constantly relive the traumas that occurred when they really didn’t have much control over their lives. Specifically, many people can’t “get over” their childhoods, mostly because they suffered painful events then that they really couldn’t control.

Many continuously revive past traumas by recreating similar situations throughout later adult life. However, rather than “acting out” painful memories, some choose to confront their fears under the safe supervision of a therapist. The goal is to recognize unconscious negative patterns and replace them with intentional, positive action.

Meditation, however, takes healing the past to a whole new level.

. . . mind and spirit can heal. . . the space between our thoughts – what the Asian healers “the sacred space” – is where most spirit-directed healing originates.

They continue:

When you meditate and elicit the relaxation response, your mind stops racing with thoughts, and there are longer spaces between your thoughts. The space between thoughts usually feels timeless.

The concept of a fourth time/space dimension is familiar from Chinese yoga as well as Einstein’s physics. It repeats in the 1913 classic Sadhana: The Realization of Life by Indian mystic, musician, poet, novelist, painter, teacher, political activist and Einstein contemporary Rabindranath Tagore.

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He wrote:

Yes, we must know that within us we have that where space and time cease to rule and where the links of evolution are merged in unity.

Here then, is the original article:

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The pattern repeats. Three strands emerge and merge to show how the apparently abstract and universal can be importantly relevant in an immediately personal way.

The subject of Time isn’t new. I’ve approached it twice before, both “times” from a practical point of view.* Since then, however, I’ve been looking at Time from another perspective to find out how Einstein, experienced sages past and present, as well as science fiction writers describe its nature. Their views are in some ways similar, but in others importantly different.

Above all, what does all this mean to every day people like you and me? And why does it matter NOW?

If matters a great deal, for example, whether what we regard as the past is immutable/unalterable as if cast in stone. Or if, instead, as some say, it is possible to alter – even heal – a fluid past and thereby create a more hopeful, alternative future. If this truly is possible, HOW can we – you and I – alter at least a few minuscule threads in the fabric of time?

Strand ONE. If we compare Einstein’s comments regarding time, it seems he was of two (or more) minds about it. In his last years, consistent with ancient scriptures, he concluded that past, present and future exist simultaneously. In his 1952 book, Relativity, he wrote:

It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four dimensional [time-space] existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three dimensional existence.

This conclusion, however, is the objective overview of a reflective senior scientist. In contrast, and not necessarily a contradiction, he earlier described a highly subjective and situational aspect to perceived time:

When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, you think it’s only a minute. But when you sit on a hot stove for a minute, you think its two hours. That’s relativity.

Strand TWO. In the context of writing an invited article for the international journal Prabuddha Bhrata, I was so bold as to speculate about the prophecized End of Times:

. . . We are now enduring the decline described as the Kali Yuga. Christ similarly foretold the End of Times. . . . [Yet] Time does not exist for accomplished sages who dwell in the changeless center of the Life Wheel. To enlightened beings, it is but an illusion. They experience themselves as eternal, at one with the Creator. For them, life will go on whether or not the world as we now know it continues.

To the point, in an post to my personal website,** I quoted a marvelously articulate and entertaining book, The Tao of Meditation:Way to Enlightenment, by Tsung Hwa Jou. Experienced practitioner as well as author of a balanced tripod of books on Tai Chi and the I Ching as well as meditation, Mr. Jou describes the difference between three- versus four-dimensional experiences of time in terms of tadpoles and frogs.

A mother frog, so the story goes, answered her babies’ questions about sunlight, trees and land by telling them they must wait until they mature, shed their tails and swim to the surface of the pond to experience the beyond for themselves:

We who philosophize about time, we who are limited to three dimensions are like a school of tadpoles wondering about another world. Until we too are able to “drop our tails” and step into that dimension, time must remain a subject of speculation to us, as a drinking glass is to a shadow. Until we can experience time as a dimensional context, it must remain a flat reflection to us as the upper world is to the water-bound tadpole.

With Einstein at the end of his years, Mr. Jou agrees that time cannot be measured in discrete units, but rather, is a unified a fabric, a continuum in another dimension complete unto itself. But whereas Einstein arrived at his conclusion through abstract deduction, Mr. Jou was an experienced practitioner.

In sum, he agrees with other accomplished meditators. The concept of beginnings and endings is the subjective perception of limited, three-dimensional experience. Without making claims, he modestly asks:

What is the shape of life from a four-dimensional point of view? . . . Suppose there are sentient beings who have a natural capacity to see the four-dimensional shape of things. They could tell us what the shape of our life is; that is, they could see all at once what to us is separated as past, present and future.

Why does he bother to share this information? Mr. Jou’s Motive, his WHY appears to be a kindhearted desire to share wisdom received from direct experience, for which he is infinitely grateful. His Purpose, the HOW is to detail in a book the methods and benefits of meditation along with the supporting science which explains its effectiveness. His Intended end result, the WHAT, is to give readers a time-tested way to improve the quality of daily life for both individuals and their social combinations:

If people began to think past [sic. beyond] the limitation of three-dimensions, there would be more respect between men in the business of living together for the common good. Three-dimensional tensions would dissolve, and a spirit of cooperation and mutual generosity would spring up in human affairs.

To repeat, as Einstein warned, “We shall require a substantially different manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” Perhaps that manner of thinking requires the courageous willingness and competence to enter an entirely different dimension of experience — a Star Trek-like journey through inner rather than outer space. This requires not only acquiring the theoretical concept of four-dimensional time which Einstein held, but further, its immediate, direct experience as consistently reported by accomplished meditators.

To take this the next step, however, even immediate personal experience is not enough. For completion of the infinite loop, inner attainment then requires application of awareness to the outer world of experience, changing relationships and even institutional governance for the better. Sound like science fiction? For the most part, Yes. Which leads to:

Strand THREE. By coincidence (if there is such a thing), I was recently lent a science fiction book, Beth Benrobich’s The Time Roads. I chose to read it simply as a diversion.

Science fiction generally treats time travel as a hybrid of three- and four-dimensional experience. Past, present and future are understood to be happening simultaneously. However, the characters are only capable of being in one place “at a time.” Moving from a current time location to a different one requires machines.

The premise of this particular story was familiar from Amelia Pond’s dilemma in Dr. Who episodes, where dangerously expanding cracks in Time threaten to shatter and END it altogether. Scientists specializing in math and physics explore the mechanical possibility of traveling to either the past or future by moving along tears in the fabric of time. Political motives to alter history contaminate scientific inquiry. Madness, grotesque murders, bazaar explosions and scrambled perceptions of violent events follow. So far, nothing unusual to this genre.

But then, an unexpected surprise. (Spoiler alert!) A reconciliation occurs. A brief visit to the future allows the heroine to discover a plot in time to confront would-be traitors and redirect their plans. For reasons equally compassionate and astute, the red-haired Queen of Ēire extends mercy instead of retribution, and in so doing forges new pathways to a hopeful future. Long story short, in the end, the murders and violent upheavals never happened. Time lines are healed. In the process, both past and future are altered.

This surprise ending is a filled with fascinating implications, suggestive of radically important possibilities, directly relevant to the immediate discussion.

NOW, how do these strands weave together, and how might this information be usefully applied on a personal level? How can tadpole-like humans limited to three-dimensional consciousness bridge the illusory disconnects of time without the aid of high-tech machines?

I confess that, although familiar with political and fiction fascination for travel through both time and outer space, I find the very real inner possibilities closer to home much more interesting. For time as a quantifiable third-dimension experience remains plastic insofar as that, by changing subjective perceptions of the our personal past, we each have the possibility to heal that past and thereby alter the future.

In this, forgiveness is an important key. I know, for example, that whenever I hold a grudge, it distorts and even fractures the fluidity of present time. The baggage of fear, resentment and negative expectations layered onto an initial awful experience locks me in the time of the perceived injury. This seriously distorts my possible futures.

By letting go of injuries (naming them would only confirm and magnify the undesirable “reality” to be left behind), I can return my exclusive focus to the present moment and thereby expand the range of my possible positive futures.

Is this possible on larger scales of magnitude as well? I suspect so. Skeptics ridicule dire End of Times warnings. Repeatedly, disasters seem to loom, only to elude us as deadlines pass without catastrophe. But – just may be – white magicians are continuously working behind the scenes in the fourth dimension to heal the past-present-future as did the Queen of Ēire in science “fiction,” unrecognized and unrewarded except for the satisfaction of having ensured human survival – at least for a short while longer.

I think perhaps, just perhaps, every time every one of us forgives, releases the past, and alters our attitudes for the better, we are contributing, one person at a time, to an extension of the future we’ve been mercifully granted in which to improve our ways, thereby entering the fourth dimension before it’s too late and Einstein’s warning is fulfilled for those who fall between the cracks.

What do you think?

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* See: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141015065901-317426655-do-you-have-the-time?trk=mp-reader-card and https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/time-fresh-start-patricia-west?trk=mp-reader-card

** See: Overcoming Limitations. http://wp.me/p46Y5Z-jr


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