Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.
Q: My question is this: Are we living in the past, present and future all at the same time? It is just our concept of time that holds us up? Has everything that is supposed to happen already happened and we are just catching up to it in time? Does any of this make sense?
P.S. I heard two things to remember in life: Love creates love, and people need people. Good advice.
— Cynthia B., St. Louis, Missouri
In many spiritual traditions, it is believed that past, present and future are part of one whole. In some, it is also believed that every event is predestined. Turning to quantum physics, there are scientists who believe in many worlds existing invisibly all around us, each world generating different possible outcomes, but in this world we see only one. Finally, there are physicists who maintain that time itself is an illusion born of our limited, linear minds.
But isn't this all theory unless you can make practical use of it? Your question seems a bit aimless, if I may say so. What do you want from the present? That's the only doorway to these other, far-removed possibilities. I personally believe that time isn't linear but an artifact of the senses. Everything, including past, present and future, occurs in consciousness. At different levels of awareness, time changes radically. It bends in strange ways as far as the logical mind is concerned.
Ultimately, there is only the timeless source from which all realities spring. You can explore this possibility spiritually or through quantum physics, which already abandons the five senses to reach a realm where time is relative and every event dissolves into a cloud of possibilities. In short, if your question reflects a deep interest, a wealth of reading and searching lies before you.