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 (How the Mind Can Defeat Time)

Fred Alan Wolf

1 . Space and time. 2. Yoga. 3 . Time travel. 4. Time Psychological aspects. 5 . Time-Religious aspects.
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 257 p
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 2004 by Fred Alan Wolf

In the chapters ahead, we will look at space and time with new
eyes, taking into consideration how both relativity (the science of
the very large) and quantum mechanics (the science of the very
small) have completely altered what we mean by time and space.
We'll look farther into physical time and space and learn why they
are considered manifestations of one thing rather than separate
categories. We will also explore the notion of sacred time. We will
see how time, mind, and spirit have a surprising relation with each
other. And we will learn how a mind yoga for time travel springs
forth from this relationship, offering surprising benefits and
accessible to us all.

"I don't understand you," said Alice. "Its dreadfully confusing!"
"Thats the ef/ect of living backwards," the Queen
said kindly: "it always makes one a little giddy at first-"
"Living backwards!" Alice repeated in great
astonishment. "I never heard of such a thing!"
"-but theres one great advantage in it, that ones
memory works both ways. "
Tm sure mine only works one way," Alice remarked.
"I can't remember things before they happen."
"Its a poor sort of memory that only works
backwards," the Queen remarked.
-Lewis CarrollThrough the Looking-Glass
Most of us assume, as Alice does, that whatever we can
remember has already taken place. If asked why we
don't remember scenes from our future, we might
answer: " Because, dummy, they haven't happened yet ! " But as
the Queen in Lewis Carroll's delightful book suggests, perhaps
we do have memories of the future, however nonsensical that
may sound. Consider the albeit radical possibility that the Queen
is right: memory does work both ways. That is, you are perfectly
able to remember the future just as well as you can recall the
past. Further, consider that having a two-way memory could lead,
as the Queen suggests, to distinct advantages. For example, it
might help you deal with synchronicities and experiences of deja
vu, avoid health problems, make significant predictions about
your life, and offer many other benefits, as may become clear as
this book unfolds.
To begin exploring this idea, let's think first about the nature
of memory as we commonly know it-having to do with the recall
of past events. Certainly you remember your last vacation, as well
as a favorite restaurant you went to, or a show you saw, and so on.
And I'm sure there are some past experiences you don't remember,
though possibly your spouse does: "Oh, don't you remember
that day in Paris when we saw those flowers on the bank of the
Seine? " she or he asks, and you draw a blank.
Ever wonder why your companion remembers things that
you don't? The popular conception, based on brain research,1
is that whether you recall any details or not, your memory contains
a complete record of your past, as if it were a movie. You are
most likely, however, to recall only those events that made an
impression on you. That day in Paris, the problem was that you
simply weren't paying attention, and those flowers along the
Seine affected your spouse more deeply than they did you.
To be sure, sometimes we also forget events that have made
a great impression. Usually they have been traumatic, and we
don't want to remember them. In some such cases, though, deep
psychoanalysis can help us improve our recall.
Regardless, further analysis by memory experts indicates that
the popular adage is false: Memory is not restricted to only what
has made an impression on us, positively or negatively. To the
contrary, it turns out that actively working on one's memory
can greatly enhance it. And it turns out this work can lead to
remembering, not only the past, but also the future. As we will
discover, this effort plays a key role in ·the mind-yoga that allows
for time travel.
So, suppose you had been to the future and what you saw was
either so uneventful that you didn't notice or so scary that you
simply decided not to remember it. According to what we shall
find out in this book, your ability to remember the future depends
on your ability to pay close attention to these future events, not
just idly glance over them as you may have done the flowers along
the Seine. With some guidance and analysis, perhaps you could
learn to recall the future with as much success as such procedures
can enable you to recall forgotten past events.
I've heard that some therapists use a technique called "pastlife
recall" to help patients deal with unexplained trauma and psychological
problems they are encountering in this life. I have also
heard of a technique that enables people to " recall" future lives or
events so they are better prepared to face what seems inevitable
or unavoidable in the near or distant future. Whether this is pure
imagination or wishful thinking is difficult to say. Of course if you
only believe in the present moment-whatever that may be-such
a discussion seems pointless and perhaps unscientific. But suppose
there were a reasonable scientific basis for believing in the
concrete existence of both the past and the future-coexisting
with the present in some yet to be determined manner. Then
what? In that case, both the future and the past would be as real
to you as the drugstore on the corner or the North Pole, even
though-sitting in your chair reading this book-you aren't at
either of those places now. You certainly wouldn't remember the
North Pole if you hadn't been there yet, would you? But that
doesn't mean the North Pole does not exist. By the same token,
perhaps the future is just as real, and the only reason we have no
memory of it is because we haven't visited it yet.
But let's suppose you had "been there and done that," as they
say. What would it mean to have a memory of the future? Isn't
memory a record of what you did in the past? But if in the "past"
you went to the future, how would you deal with a memory of it?
Trying to think this way does make one, as the Queen puts it,
"a little giddy at first."
Indeed, such ideas may seem like science fiction, but when we
examine what scientists are doing these days in terms of realizing
time travel and time manipulation, you will see that science fiction
has become science fact. My hope is that if nothing else, after
reading this book you will understand just what is meant by time
travel and why scientists are now taking it seriously.
Surprising as it may seem, a scientific basis for time travel was
established more than a hundred years ago; Herbert George
Wells wrote about it in 1895 , and Albert Einstein and Hermann
Minkowski showed how it was theoretically possible in 1 905 and
1908. In fact, more than fifty years ago, scientists were proving
time travel to be a reality. Documentation shows that in carefully
defined laboratory experiments, objects were observed that literally
slowed down in time, such that some of them lived nine or ten
times their natural life span.2
Sounds unbelievable? I'll explain more about that experiment
shortly. In the meantime, let me tell you a secret: Some of
the remarkable people you meet in life are time travelers. A few of
these people know it; the others time travel without realizing it,
but they do it just the same. These are the people who appear
older than their years or, yes, often enough considerably younger.
I, too, time travel. In fact, I do it nearly every day, especially when
I find myself in creative activity-lost in my work, as we say. Later,
we'll look more deeply into this phenomenon, too.

Just think what it would mean to live nine or ten times longer than
your putative four-score-plus years-that is, perhaps as long as
eight hundred years ! Or imagine that you live through ten years
of time while those around you only experience one second of
time passing, or that you experience one second of time passing
while those around you age ten years.
In the latter case, during those ten years each of them would
experience the earth daily rotating about its axis and note its yearly
movement across the solar system, but you would not. Traveling
through time at this breakneck "speed," you would grow one day
older while the world around you ages more than 86 thousand
years. In ten years of your life lived at this rate, nearly countless
generations of humanity would age more than 3 15 million yearsenough
time for you to see evolution on a scale beyond imagination.
The former case would be equally strange, since the world
and all of its processes would slow down terribly, so much so that
the world around you would grow strangely silent, dark, and still.
Even light would move very slowly from your point of view. Light
travels at more than 670 million miles per hour, but that hour
would stretch out for you to 36 thousand years, slowing light
down to a crawl of about two miles per hour for you. You can
walk faster than that! Since you wouldn't see light until it struck
your eyes, you would experience the world in flashes, like a
stroboscopic light show.
However, even this scenario isn't the whole story. It assumes
that you could hold on to the normal timing of your own bodily
processes and think as you normally do, with full neuronal cooperation
at your normal speed of functioning. But if your body's
processes slow down as well, things would get even more interesting.
Consider your sense of sight. If the speed of light slowed
down, so would its vibrational rate, which means that colors
would change so drastically that they would be impossible to
see with your eyes. A similar slowing of all of the physical phenomena
around you would result. In other words, the world
would most likely vanish from your senses if you were aging ten
years in one second.
Even more bizarreness awaits the time traveler who can move
backward through time. New paradoxes pop up, depending on
who moves relative to whom. If, for example, you move backward
through time while the world around you passes at the normal
rate of one second per second into the future, you will gradually
get younger while those around you age. If you move backward
into time even faster, you run into the paradox of just what happens
to you when you reach the moment of your birth. Do you
then need your mother to be present? Even worse, suppose you
move to the period just before the sperm meets the egg that made
you. Since you wouldn't be a "you" yet, just what would be going
on? What would happen to your consciousness in a time before
your conception?
Or consider the other possibility: You move backward through
everyone else's time stream so that while you see them grow
younger and all processes running backward in time-like a
movie in reverse-you go on aging at a normal rate. Perhaps
in one second you move counter to a ten-year retrograde time
stream. In one year you would move back more than 86 thousand years.
Is anything like this even possible? Suppose you went back
more than 500 million years into the past, before humans even
evolved. What would happen if you accidentally stepped on a life
form that was one of your ancestors? Could you ever be born?
In this book we'll examine several such temporal paradoxes
and I'll show you how it is possible, from the point of view
of physics, to beat the paradox game and return to any point
in time you wish without suffering any obvious consequences.
I say "obvious" because even though there are consequences
of time travel, they aren't what we might expect. _As we shall see,
it all has to do with the mind and learning to change possibility
into reality.

Let's take a look at that experiment in which, more than fifty years
ago, scientists observed objects that lived nine or ten times their
expected life span.
Every day subatomic particles are created whenever cosmic
particles from the sun or a distant galaxy collide with particles in
our upper atmosphere. Specifically, these cosmic particles are
protons, once known as cosmic rays, that are subatomic particles
making up the nuclei of atoms. Few cosmic rays make their way
to sea level. Hence nearly all of these newborn particles, called
muons or mu mesons, are created at very high altitudes of our
planet. These newborns can be counted with a little patience and
a special device called a scintillation counter (which, as its name
suggests, scintillates when something very tiny, like a muon, hits
it). These counting devices can also determine what happens to
these little babies after they have been detected. They can even
count how long they live and what happens to them when they
die. Upon death these particles decay, and when they decay, they
suddenly disappear, leaving behind remnants.3
Whereas we humans have a life span of around eighty years,
give or take a few, muons survive intact for a much briefer timean
average of about two microseconds (two millionths of a second).
However,. some die very quickly, in under one microsecond,
and some live for as long as six microseconds. Very few are
found at the end of, say, eight microseconds.
In one experiment, physicists took scintillation counters to
the top of a mountain 6300 feet above sea level. They counted
the number of muons at that altitude and found that somewhere
around 568 newborns passed into their counters each hour.
They then followed the muons through their short lives, letting
them travel down a short vertical tube where they came to rest
and eventually decayed near a second scintillation counter. As
expected, only 300 resting muons lived past two microseconds.
Around 30 of them made it to the ripe old age of 6.3 microseconds.
4 Because the scientists knew how far these particles traveled
along the tube's length, they could determine how fast they flew
before they rested and decayed, and they found that they moved
at very near lightspeed.
Next, they took their counters down to the seaside. What did
they anticipate there? Well, if a muon lived long enough and
moved at near lightspeed, it could travel the 6300 feet down to sea
level in about six microseconds. But given that most of them don't
liv€ that long, the scientists expected to find only a handful surviving-
maybe 3 0 oldsters, say, who could make the journey.
Surprisingly, however, many more than 30 survived. I n fact,
around 4 12 made the trip without mishap.
How could that many live that long? Travel may add a certain
pizzazz to one's life, but I have never heard of it lengthening one's
life span. That is, not unless you take Einstein's relativity theory
into account. The theory says that time does not function the
same way for a moving object as it does for one standing still.
Moving objects experience a slowing down of time, so that while
the rest of the world passes through a given time period, the moving
object passes a shorter time period. In this respect, we can
estimate how long the 412 muons that reached sea level "thought"
they had lived. It turns out that that they experienced a time period
of only around 0.7 microseconds. Compare that with 6.3
microseconds-the time it takes to make the trip down the mountain
at near lightspeed-and you see that this yields a factor of 9,
exactly what would be calculated by Einstein's theory. In other
words, the muons that survived the trip lived more than nine
times their expected life span.
What is going on here? For the muons, nothing really extraordinary
happened. They just lived their short, seven-tenths-of-amicrosecond
life spans on their way down the mountain. But it
just so happens that we on the ground passed through 6.3
microseconds of our life spans at the same time that the muons
passed through only 0.7 microseconds. In what sense did these
two periods take the same amount of time? In trying to think
about such things, our very figures of speech become perplexing.
Our language is so based on thinking in terms of absolute time
that the mere idea of relative times hardly makes any sense. As
Alice says, " It's dreadfully confusing! "
Relative distances, on the other hand, make sense. I can travel
from my living room to my bedroom-some dozens of feet-by
walking off a mile if I go downstairs, out the door, and around the
blqck a few times before I walk into the bedroom. Or I can walk
to the kitchen first and then to the bedroom. Each measure of distance
is different. The distance is relative to the route I take. I
always start in the living room and end up in the bedroom, but the
distance I travel to get there can be, and is normally, different
(since I rarely walk in a straight, shortest-distance line) each time
I make the journey.
We assume that, in contrast to moving through space, moving
from one point to another in time is possible only along a single
"line" between those points. What if, however, time were not linear
but more like distance? Then relative times would be understandable.
We would say that those who went from one event to
another would find their times as different from each other as if
they had walked different distances between two points in space.

Table of Contents

Fred Alan Wolf's 'The Yoga of Time Travel (How the Mind Can Defeat Time)
First Quest Edition 2004

Quest Books
The Theosophical Publishing House
P. 0. Box 270
Wheaton, IL 60189-0270
Cover art, book design, and typesetting by Dan Doolin

Picture Credits:
Page 17: illustration used with permission courtesy of The Bhaktivedanta
Book Trust Int'l © 2004.
Page 58: Photo used with permission courtesy of Jerry Davidson,
Webmaster@CosmicHarmony. com. From website

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