I'd like to introduce you to my theory of Resident Identity, which is the idea that even though all possible realities exist simultaneously, only one contains your current awareness. All other realities that include you help to define your soul's identity, and they are also very relevant, but only to those whose perception involves you in some meaningful way. Your resident identity frequently coincides with and looks like the version of your identity that exists for other people in your life, within their perceived realities, but you're not bound by their definition. For instance, within the life reality of a person who is convinced of your "eternal damnation", who will only see you as damned to hell, this person may be secretly gratified to know that at least one of your identities will certainly be screaming in dreadful anguish for as long as she thinks eternity lasts (smile - different subject), but it won't be your resident identity, because You know better. That person's belief is every bit as valid as yours, but you don't have to suffer because of someone else's belief, unless you choose to. When you stop interacting directly with another soul's reality, your own reality also ceases to exactly match the other's perception of you. You take a different direction, but they continue to see you as they last understood you. (This is why stories of ghosts and communications with the dead ALWAYS reflect the deceased person's character before death, despite the fact that continued existence always changes us.) Potentially, there is an infinite number of possible realities starring you as the main character, but there is only one where your soul currently resides.
What this concept helps to explain is how every major and minor choice you make in the Present is steering your journey and changing the timeline that your resident identity travels along. Understanding this is truly the key to the achievement of your happiness, whatever that key might be. We are not predestined to follow some preconceived Plan. We are not bound by Fate. We're limited by our past only to the extent that we succumb to our own beliefs about it. By changing the story of how you came to this moment, you can redirect your path forward to a brighter life.
By gaining a better understanding of the events that brought you here, you can change the trajectory of your journey. This is self-evident. This is the true Magic.
There are qualifiers, of course. You can't simply change directions without some sort of action/reaction event. In any kind of movement along a given path, a certain amount of momentum is gained, and the amount of inertia carrying that weight forward depends on the extent of your emotional attachment to that familiar past. In order to gain control over the circumstances of your Present, you have to change your perception of the past events that brought you here. This doesn't mean that you make up some story that is different from your memory. It means finding the larger perspective that expands your conceptions, that redefines how you think about your memories, and ultimately gives you enough wiggle room in the present to choose a different angle in the direction of your life.
(I am an attribute of God, by God! I can do anything!)
In every little success you have, take pleasure in recognizing the circumstances that led to this moment. Become aware of happy coincidences. I've learned in my life that every valuable clue that dances into my awareness is nearly always an interesting coincidence of some kind. And, if it's important to your best path forward, it will happen more than once. So, look for coincidences to tell you how to make your next choice. It is this expanded awareness of a more comprehensive perception that gurus talk about when they refer to expanding your consciousness.
I'd like to make a sidebar observation about reincarnation. It's my opinion that most people who discuss reincarnation have a limited understanding of how it works, namely this: Everyone simply cannot have reincarnated; at least not in the whole-life sense. There just weren't enough bodies to go around for everyone to have had a previous life. The world population is now 3 times larger than it was only 200 years ago. There are 4,000,000,000 MORE bodies now than there were in the year 1800. If reincarnation is the way that souls evolve, then either most people have no soul to have reincarnated from (possible, but not likely), or else reincarnation just does not follow a linear timeline, and individual timelines cannot be exclusive to individual souls. Picture a tree with its many branches and limbs culminating in thousands of leaves. Many leaves spring from the same stem, branch and trunk though each has its own identity and also remembers its season as the nut from which it all sprang.
Maybe many people who are alive now have never lived before, and perhaps this is their only lifetime. A single lifetime concept works really well with religious beliefs that promote an afterlife like Heaven. (I have a problem with most Heaven concepts. No one has ever been able to convince me that doing the same thing forever (adoring God) would not get tedious after a while.) I've read of many people reporting past-life experiences as famous people whose stories were different than history books tell us. I've heard more than one person claiming to be the same particular individual in a past life (eg., Cleopatra, Henry VIII, P T Barnum). How can two people have had the same past life?
It is my belief that not only can two or more souls have the same body experience simultaneously, but also that your Resident Identity has followed a pathway which crosses through only certain episodes of an individual body's life without experiencing that whole lifetime. In other words, you could have been Mary Magdalene only for the period of her adult relationship with Jesus, and then skipped to Madame Curie just long enough to die from radiation poisoning, then to wake up as Timothy Leary during one of his acid trips before moving into your current body just about the time that you joined Pagan Space. Each episode we experence provides us with the talents and instincts that define our current identities. Theoretically, any path, any experience, is possible. What makes it YOUR timeline is where your resident identity was at any given instant.
You might say "Wait. What about my memories going back to my childhood. I was there! I know I was!" I'm not talking about your body's memories; I'm talking about your Soul Identity's current experience, which is presently participating in the body you call home. Think about it. Very few people can remember everthing in their lives. What stands out in our memories are the main episodes that link together to teach us the lessons that created who we are right now, residing in this body. I believe we have these experiences across many lifetimes at once. They were all real, and they all happened right now.
As a poor analogy for changing timelines, imagine something like a bicycle wheel with spokes extending out from the axle in different directions. They appear to cross over each other at different points. Each spoke represents a resident identity's timeline or path. At every point where the spokes appear to cross each other, these are moments of choice that allow you to transfer to a different timeline. You find these transfer points by following the life clues that serendipitously show you an opportunity. If you don't take the opportunity, the trajectory of your life continues on the same path, but by taking the opportunity, you change your direction and the path of your journey.
Though this may seem like a convenient (and, yes, therefore suspect) explanation for what probably seems absurd to you, the theory of a resident identity also allows you to redefine yourself based on where you want to be, rather than where you came from. Others can still keep their own ideas of who you are, but it is YOU who determines your present identity.
A new realization occurred to me while I was writing this. Since about 2012, I no longer automatically think of God as a separate being, and it is getting increasingly more difficult for me to grasp that nearly everyone else thinks they can lean on God for answers or assistance. Nearly everyone everywhere thinks of themselves as having an individual private relationship with some named higher power, like Jesus or Mohammed or even Quetzalcoatl. No matter who it is, if the person believes in a separate Deity, that relationship is naturally incomplete as a definition of the whole. There must be an even higher Identity that comprises both the worshiper and the worshiped. Completeness demands wholeness, so a belief that is subdivided between a Creator and its creatures must be in its entirety something greater than its parts. The moment that it is named, though, requires a greater awareness, and so on infinitely. The same is true for lesser and simpler creatures, down to quantum levels and beyond. Each of our resident identities is the perspective or point of awareness for our part of God's self-understanding. We are God, and we manifest our talents and capabilities learned from an infinite potential of experiences across many incarnations, but not necessarily remaining in the same body longer than it takes to experience an episode of that body"s life. The Me who sees the world through my eyes is God. And, God is also you, as well as any other identifiable thing. So, to me, worshiping God or seeing him as separate from me just seems redundant. Instead, I try to express my potential using all the powers and talents available to me through the journey of my particular identity.
I respect the limitations that other identities (people) place upon themselves in order to have their experiences, and I'm not saying that the standard belief of a separate God is wrong. I'm just saying there is much more available to us than anyone can conceive. I am also not minimizing the true value of a limited belief system. I truly, deeply believe that you get what you pay for. If you believe that by honoring the Celtic goddess Brigid she brings forth both spring flowers and healthy babies, then the circumstances which allow that belief will tend to prove its validity, and you will certainly gain greater control over gardening and birthing.
To actually quote my realization, "So long as your individual identity is maintained, there is ALWAYS a higher power, so one's choice of worship will determine both the benefits and the costs." This is important for someone who finds herself at a spiritual crossroads. Let's say you want to study witchcraft. Although there are common threads between many different systems of thought, you gain your greatest power by focusing on only one branch of Wicca or Maia or the "right hand path" of any discipline. So, if you're not sure of which direction to go, you should look at a cost/benefit analysis for each system of thought, and choose the direction that pays off in the way you want it. Then dive into it fully with both eyes open in order to gain mastery. I know a few masters of Christianity whose conviction of faith is marvelous to appreciate. In my view, they hide from their fear of eternal damnation by limiting their concentrated focus to glorifying God through established dogma and doctrine. Why fear at all? Why not leave your past behind, and find your own divinity?
I AM. I am an attribute of God, by God. I can do anything my beliefs allow.
Be Here Now, and keep your eyes just above the horizon.