Brush with a parallel world

a parallel universe?

My reading across the spiritual curriculum of late has drifted into the area where sages and scientists overlap most often these days: consciousness.

In listening to some of the brightest stars on both sides of this issue, I’ve had exposure to a number of the current theories being floated on the impact of the quantum world on the human experience. One theory is that of the existence of multiple co-existing universes.

WARNING: this will make your head hurt if you think about it too much.

The simplistic version or explanation (because I’m not a scientist) is that each time we make a decision, a spin-off reality, in which the non-choice remains a reality, results. For example, if you make a decision to leave your current job and take a new one, according to this hypothesis, a parallel universe exists where you remain at your current job while you exist now in this universe where you work in your new job.

I don’t know enough about either side of the scientific argument to weigh in but with this information floating around in my head, I had a recent experience that was “interesting” if not a little weird.

About 3 decades ago I was married with 2 small children. My husband had an opportunity to consider a job in a small town at the edge of State College, PA – the home of Penn State University.

Decades later I found myself in State College for a professional conference. As I drove around the area on Day 1 of the conference I began to have an experience that I can only describe as a brush with a parallel universe.

The path I had begun all those years ago eventually led to the demise of my marriage, and my move to a city on the other side of the state. As a Veteran with few marketable job skills I knew I had to go back to school, so I enrolled in the local urban university. I went on to earn my Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree. I ended up working as a Dean at the local Community College, and later a faculty member at that same University and felt great pride and gratitude for the institution(s) I attended and those where I worked.

Years later my son followed me to the same institution and this Fall my nephew will enter as a Freshman. Our history is tightly woven into the fabric of this urban University.

And yet, as I drove around the Penn State campus and looked at the grounds, observed the students and buildings, I felt the pull of this place in a way that is still difficult to explain.

I felt a strong connection to the campus and community as well as a deep sense that I belonged there. Perhaps I felt my own potential attachment to the brand had my life taken this turn so many years ago. Whatever the cause, I felt an unnatural fondness for, and attachment to the symbols and structures of this university. This is even more unusual when you realize that my family connection is to the University of Pittsburgh – one of Penn State’s biggest rivals.

The connection I felt was so strong that I felt a deep sense of sadness when I left the campus at the conference end.

I will never know for sure what it is that I experienced that week. What I DO know is that I will remain seriously curious about the quantum theories surrounding parallel universes.

In recent years a radical new interpretation of the parallel universe problem has emerged: the Many Interacting Worlds (MIW) hypothesis. The basic concept is that many interacting worlds have existed side by side for many years – AND – they subtly influence the worlds closes to them.

So, a couple notes: #1) I’m not a physicist, #2) the MIW model is still speculative – and – (did I mention that I’m not a scientist?).

The problem with people like me who read enough about science and technology to be conversant at dinner parties but not enough to perform the complex mathematical computations is that we tend to make assumptions about things based on connections we think we see and theories we think we understand (and let’s be honest, there are worse habits).

While I fully recognize this, I can’t help but wonder if the parallel universe where my husband took that job and my family moved to State College; where my kids and I became dyed-in-the-wool Nittany Lion devotees was crossing over into my current universe causing the “disturbance in the Force” that I felt so keenly.

Who knows what scientists will discover about the nature of reality into the future? In the 1960s, Star Trek tricorders were pure Science Fiction – and yet today, I have one such device sitting here on my desk, where I could reach out and talk to my friends across town, across the country or across the world. If I had the number, I could even talk to the International Space Station!

It’s unlikely that I’ll solve the mystery of my strange experience in State College, but I know that the nature of reality as we know it continues to be challenged. So I’ll remain curious and open to the possibilities – and that’s much more interesting that assuming that we know all there is to know!

For more information (from real scientists!) on parallel universes, check out this YouTube video:


(C) 2019 Practitioner's Path

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