Who were you before you were you? Even though we all identify with a very limited slice of time and space, equating “me” with one body and one mind, in reality you also live outside yourself in the field of awareness. The Vedic seers say, “The real you cannot be squeezed into the volume of a body or the span of a lifetime.”
Just as reality flows from the virtual to the quantum to the material level, so do you. Whether we call this reincarnation or not almost doesn’t matter. The package of body and mind that came before is a stranger to you now, and the one that might arise after your death is equally alien.
But on a deeper level, millions of seeds have already been planted. Some are the thoughts you will have tomorrow or the actions you will follow a decade from now. Time is flexible at the quantum level and nonexistent at the virtual level. As we watch these seeds sprouting in the fertile field of time and space, awareness wakes up to itself. This is how a single fertilized cell learns to become a brain – it wakes up to itself, not on the chemical level but on the level of awareness.
Perhaps you are a single cell among millions too, each cell being a lifetime. It was said that the Buddha closed his eyes for a few minutes and experienced ninety-nine thousands incarnations. If this is not breathtaking enough, we are told that he experienced every minute of them; births, deaths, and time itself expanded in a few minutes of silence.
Such an amazing ability to control time lies not only with the enlightened. If you weren’t a master of time already, you would be an amorphous glob of cells like the sea cucumber; you might have entered a world where puberty could come at any moment and kidney cells could fuse into spleens, or where the first pollen of hay fever season might kill half the population.
Adapted from How To Know God, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2000).