The universe runs on a switch with only two positions, on and off. “On” is the material world with all its events and objects. “Off” is pure possibility, the changing room where particles go when no one is looking.
The “on” position can be controlled only by external means. Once you light it up, the physical universe behaves by a set of rules. But if you catch it in the “off” position, the universe can be changed without regard for time and space.
Nothing is heavy and immovable in the “off” position because there are no objects. Nothing is close or far away. Nothing is trapped in the past, present, or future. The “off” position is pure potential. There, your body is a set of possibilities waiting to happen, and present, too, are all those possibilities that have already happened and those that might happen.
“On” and “off” don’t give quite an accurate picture, however. Just as there are many degrees of physical reality, there are many degrees of nonphysical reality. Your body is a solid object, a swirl of atoms, a storm of subatomic particles, and a ghost of energy, all at the same time. This is the “on” position.
In the “off” position, the same tangle continues but is totally out of sight. The invisible domain is divided in strange ways. At one level, events are all merged. Beginnings and endings meet; nothing happens without affecting everything else. But at another level, some events are more important than others; some can be controlled while others may float around with only the weakest kind of causation.
Events in the universe are exactly the same mixed bag of potential events.
Adapted from The Book of Secrets, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2004).