Can we change our past?
Coming from the subcontinent and the history of conflict we share makes me wonder if we have the capacity to alter our past. So here’s an interesting thought experiment, do we have the capacity to change the past?
Now at first this sounds like a contradiction, a total paradoxical idea right? How could you change something that already happened, but just thinking about it why does the past matter at all? What do we get to keep from something that already happened? We get to keep the memory for sure which is supposedly either the bliss or the trauma.
It is really the memory that we’re talking about here, the story that runs on a loop in the back of our minds of what has happened and somehow the fact that what has happened has shaped us and will shape our future. We feel in a way haunted or condemned to be a certain way because of what has happened to us.
Epi-genetics tells us that we are the sum of our experiences that make who we are; our cells are a technology that turns experience into biology and everything that happens to us lays itself like tire tracks tattooing itself across our body mind and literally making us the product of what has come before. Yet here’s something amazing our cognitive framing, our interpretation, our use of rhetoric and language to frame our past experiences can actually allow us to change our very past experience so the story we tell, in-fact the story we choose to tell about what has happened can change what has happened.
Read it again yes, because people have actually done studies that tell us that the cognitive framing that we give to experiences can change our physiological response to those very experiences so an experience of trauma seen through a certain lens can physiologically create stress response, cortisol stress hormones anxiety, etc. People who do for example psychedelic hypnotherapy and revisit the trauma through this altered state of consciousness all of a sudden able to change that story change their chemical response to that past experience re-contextualize it and see it through a different lens and fundamentally change the past you know.
There is a great line by Tim Duty that says that
“experiences that are transformative in nature, that allow us to change the cognitive framing of who we are and where we’re going in this life and where we’ve been; our experiences re-contextualize the self as a marvelous conduit in a timeless hole from which molecules and meanings flow, from neurons to nebula and back again.”
In re-contextualizing who we are and what we’re doing and everything that happens to us even when it hurts and even when we fall off the bicycle has now rendered us a stronger being.
We are empowered, we are in rapture, we are beings that move through time and space and space and time and mind and future and past and present. These are basically just elements of a continuous field of time, they don’t exist, they are illusions. We can choose the story we tell my friends, you can choose the story you tell and yes we can change our past provided we are willing to.
— Transcript from Json Silva- Shots of Awe