A view of life from 40,000 feet
This essay assumes the existence of the soul, or the animating principle – a non-physical consciousness independent of the physical body. The soul is a concept that has been a part of every culture in human history.
We perceive time in a straight line and it only goes one way, from past to present to future. Everything in our world has a beginning point and an end point. Life is born and it lives for a while and then it dies. From a purely physical point of view, time is linear.
Let’s take that line and close the left side of the line with the right side of the line:
We have gone from one dimension (line) to two dimensions (a circle in a plane).
What happens to our timeline?
Well, there really isn’t a beginning or an end anymore. We could arbitrarily choose a point anywhere on the circle and call it the beginning. But past, present, and future doesn’t make much sense now. The flow of time can go either “backward” or “forward.”
There’s a lesson here. It has to do with the next higher dimension (dimension three).
Imagine a spirit (soul) incarnating into a body. The point of birth is at A on the circle, where the spirit enters the physical universe. From the point of view of the circle, the entry of the animating principle is invisible. It comes from outside the circle, and the circle can’t see it come in because it can’t see outside the two-dimensional plane of its awareness. The entry of the soul appears to be magic from the viewpoint of the circle. It says, “Well, something is here that wasn’t here before but we don’t know how it happened.” The same thing happens at death. Whatever that “something” is, leaves, and the physical body is dead. The soul is no longer in the flow of time, from the circle’s perspective.
A life can be graphed by showing the soul entering the circle at point A, traveling along the flow of time (living) until it gets to point A again, which we call death, and then leaving. Birth and death are the same point.
The same thing happens in three dimensions, if you imagine the circle being drawn on the surface of a sphere:
Three lives: the black circle (a) on the sphere represents a life, and so does the green circle (b) with a different life path. A shorter life is represented by the red circle (c).
Now imagine the circle getting smaller and smaller, and shrinking to a tiny dot (dimension zero. Imagine the dot is infinitely small).
What happens to time?
If the circle of time shrinks infinitely small, then past, present, and future merge. Time essentially disappears. The dimensionless point represents something timeless: the non-physical soul or animating principle. It appears invisibly at birth and returns to its non-physical home at the time of body death.
A timeless entity is a strange concept because in the physical universe all events are separated by time. A world where past, present, and future happen all at once would result in incomprehensible chaos. To a physical entity, timelessness makes no sense, but this is the soul’s perception as it exits the physical universe and enters a timeless state.
Dimension zero is a singularity.
In math, according to Wolfram MathWorld, “zero is the integer that, when used as a counting number, means that no objects are present. It is the only integer (and, in fact, the only real number) that is neither negative nor positive.” This definition suggests that zero has no physical qualities at all.
In cosmology, the dimensionless point can represent an infinite amount of matter and energy within an infinitely small area. The Big Bang theory of the universe says that everything in our universe originated within a cosmic singularity.
If the soul is itself a dimensionless entity it would be invisible in our three dimensional physical world. Indeed, science (correctly) rejects the idea of an animating principle or a soul, or any non-physical awareness, because it cannot be observed or measured. Science does not deal with the intangible, and the soul by definition is intangible and dimensionless.
The concept of the soul – an awareness beyond the physical body – has persisted for millennia throughout every culture in human history.
The point of this little essay is that it is impossible to understand the soul from our physical perspective. The closest we can come is an intuitive approach. Intuition, by definition, is that which exists beyond the five human senses. Intuition could be defined as the non-physical soul communicating with the physically incarnated human being.
Mostly we dismiss or ignore or don’t recognize our intuitive impulses. However, in my experience, intuitive flashes occur when I am meditating, or when I am completely calm. They seem to occur “out of time,” which suggests a non-physical source. It is comforting for me to think that, as a human being, there is more to “me” than just a physical body and the limitations of the five human senses. Perhaps, if we paid more attention to our intuitive/inner voice, we might learn something more about a greater or higher aspect of ourselves.