… In your terms, the land changes through the ages. Mountains and islands arise, then disappear, to reemerge in new form. The oceans rise and fall also, and in some cases the floor of the ocean becomes the surface of the planet, only to be covered again by water. Yet through all of the changes the earth retains a landscape, and at any given time the features of the land are quite dependable and permanent enough for your purposes.
… In somewhat the same way the psyche sends up counterparts of itself, each with different features or characteristics. As the physical properties of the earth distribute themselves in a certain given fashion about the surface of the planet, so do the properties of the earth-tuned psyches distribute themselves.
As all physical matter is connected in any particular time, or era, so the individual consciousness of each being is also connected with every other. This applies to all consciousness as you understand the term.
A mountain is composed of many layers of rock that serve, as you think of it, as its foundation. The top of the mountain represents the present to you, and the tiers of rock beneath stand for the past. The mountain itself is not any one of those rock layers that seemingly compose it, however. There is a relationship between the mountain and those strata but the term “mountain” is one that you have applied. In greater terms the mountain and all of its components exist at once, of course. You can examine the various levels of rock structures. Geologists can tell when, in terms of time, certain sedimentary deposits formed. The rocks themselves still exist in the geologist’s present time, or they could not make such an examination. The mountain would not be a mountain without that “foundation”. Again, however, it is not any one of those rock layers.
In somewhat the same manner, the self that you know is the mountain, and the rock layers forming it are past lives.
You are not any of those past selves, even though they are a part of the history of your being. They are themselves in their own space and time. They exist simultaneously with your own life, even as the strata of rock exist simultaneously with the mountain.
Your present existence, however, is highly related to those other levels of selfhood. Now what happens at the top of the mountain affects all that goes on below, and so everything that you do affects those other realms of selfhood, and there is an interchange that occurs constantly. Physical conditions may be quite different in the valley, in the foothills of the mountain, and at its top. The very climate and vegetation may vary considerably, and yet all life and vegetation within the area are interrelated. Each layer of life that composes the mountain is equally valid and important, and each concentrates upon its own reality at its own level.
Like the mountain, therefore, you have a history in terms of the present that is yours, and yet not yours. It does not control you, for you alter it with each thought and action, even as each motion at the mountain’s top affects its base. The layers at the bottom, however, are also constantly changing, so that the whole area is a gestalt of relatedness.
In the physical world, islands, valleys, plateaus, continents and oceans all have their place, and serve to form the physical basis of your reality. Each blade of grass helps form the life of the earth. So each consciousness, however minute, is indispensable in its place and time.
Each flower on a hillside looks out with its own unique vision of the world, and each consciousness does the same thing, fulfilling a position impossible for any other consciousness to fulfill.
In terms of time only, there is an archaeological meaning that is hidden within your own nature. To discover it you look “down” through the levels of your own being, there to find the layers of selfhood that in your world represent the past history of yourself, from which you emerged. You are not those selves psychically, however, any more than you are your mother’s or your father’s in physical terms. You are as different from those reincarnational selves, therefore, as you are from your parents, though you share certain backgrounds and characteristics.
It is easy for you to see how you affect your parents in your lifetime, though they are older than you. In the same way, however, you affect your reincarnational family.
When it rains, water rushes in great exuberant gushes down the sides of the mountain, bringing life and vitality to all of its parts. In somewhat the same way, your own experiences flow down and into the cracks and crevices of all the other times and centuries that compose your present lifetime.
I have a surprise for you, however, for I have been speaking of you as the top of your mountain – for it certainly seems to you that you are at the top, so to speak. Instead, your vantage point and your focus is such that you cannot turn your head to look higher. Perhaps you are like a fine sunny cliff on the side of the mountain, jutting out, looking down to the valley beneath, not realizing that the mountain itself continues [up] beyond you. You are, then, in the position of any of the other levels “beneath”, many also thinking themselves the top of the mountain, looking only downward.
You are convinced that you cannot see the future, and this means – in terms of our analogy, at least – that you cannot look upward beyond your own time. While that is the case, you will always think of reincarnation as occurring in the past.
Think instead of strata of being, each simultaneously occurring. Physically the human fetus bears a memory of its “past”. In your terms, it travels through the stages of evolution before attaining its human form. It attains that form, however, because it responds to a future time, a future self not as yet physically created.
The fetus itself, before its conception, responds to a self not yet physically apparent; and the future, in those terms, draws new life from the past. A reality of selfhood, an idea not yet materialized in the unformed future, reaches down into the past and brings that future into realization. The cells are imprinted with physical information in terms of space and time, but those data come from a reality in which space and time are formed.
The knowledge of probabilities brings forth present time and reality. Voices speak through the genes and chromosomes that connect the future and the past in a balance that you call the present form. The history of the private psyche and the mass experience of the species, again, resides in each individual. The archaeology of the past and the future alike is alive within the layers of consciousness that compose your being.
In many ways your language itself has a history that you do not understand.
The past is obviously built into words in terms of time. When you speak a given word you may not know the history of its changes through the years, yet you speak it perfectly. You seldom realize that the present state of your language, whatever it is, will for others someday seem to be an archaic version. In whatever terms, again, you think of yourselves as being at the top of the mountain. In your terms, language presupposes a particular kind of development of mind, and when you think of language you tie the two together.
There are languages that have nothing to do with words – or with thoughts as you understand them. Yet some of these communicate in a far more precise fashion.
Cellular transmission, for example, is indeed much more precise than any verbal language, communicating data so intricate that all of your languages together would fall far short of matching such complexity. This kind of communication carries information that a thousand alphabets could not translate. In such a way, one part of the body knows what is happening in every other part, and the body as a whole knows its precise position on the surface of the planet. It is biologically aware of all the other life-forms around it to the most minute denominator.
This applies to the future as well as to the past. The body itself knows the source of water, for example, and food. Natives divorced from your technology do very well, as wild animals also do, in probing the life of the planet and their positions within it.
A simple tree deals with the nature of probabilities as it thrusts forward into new seeds. Computations go on constantly within it, and that communication involves an inner kind of language innocent of symbols and vowels. The tree knows its present and future history, in your terms, but it understands a future that is not preordained. It feels its own power in the present as it constructs that future. In deeper terms, the tree’s seeds also realize that there is a future there – a variety of futures toward which they grope.
The fetus also understands that it can respond to a stimulus – to any stimulus it chooses – from a variety of probable futures. So do you unconsciously grope toward probable futures that to one extent or another beckon you onward.
You choose your futures, but you also choose your pasts. There is only so much that I can say, since I am using a verbal language that in itself makes a tyrant of time. This book is paced in such a way, however, that if you follow it an inner language will be initiated. This in itself annihilates your stereotyped concepts and releases you from time’s dictatorship. Some of the exercises to be given in this section will be geared to that purpose.
An archaeologist or a geologist examining “old” rock strata will find dead fossils, just as from your viewpoint you will discover “dead” past lives as you look “downward” through your psyche. You will seem to view finished reincarnational existences, even as from his present the geologist will discover only inanimate fossils embedded in rock. Those fossils are still alive, however. The geologist is simply not tuned in to their life area. So reincarnational lives are still occurring, but they are a part of your being. They are not you, and you are not your reincarnational past.
To a future self no more illuminated than you are, you appear dead and lifeless – a dim memory. When you look into the universe from your viewpoint, it seems as if you look into the past. Scientists tell you that when the light from every distant galaxy reaches you, the galaxy is already dead. In the same way, when you look “backward” into the psyche the life you may indistinctly view – the past life – is already vanished. Why is it that your scientist’s instruments do not allow them to look into the future instead, into worlds not yet born, since they operate so well in discerning the past? And why is it, with all of your ideas about reincarnation, there is precious little said about future lives?
The answer is that your language is limited. Your verbal language – for your biological communication is quite aware of probable future events, and the body constantly maintains itself amid a maze of probabilities.