This was written several years ago and expresses one of those "Ah-Ha" moments, where I immediately grasped the essence of my existence.
Here I sit on a park bench in Nashville, Tennessee, taking my lunch hour on October 25, 2000. I ponder who I am and from where I come.
“Do I exist only in this moment, or do I exist partly in the past? Some of my experiences now reflect back on my memories, so some of me must be in that past moment right now. How can that be? Time is a subjective experience for my mind. Sometimes it goes slower, sometimes faster. Sometimes I am caught up totally in the moment, as when playing music. Other times will find me deep in memories.
“But what of existence? Some part of me is always replacing itself. My body’s cells continuously make copies of themselves, so that in seven years every cell has been replaced. So, when do I exist, and what is the ‘me’ that exists? So it seems that my existence is defined by a set of memories. The DNA in my cells knows how to make an almost-perfect copy of itself. My neurons must know how to copy themselves, or I would lose all memories every seven years. And so I exist now, and I exist in a past time through my memories.
“And so the continuity of life is maintained through a series of memories. Memories. In the same way, I am full of memories of my ancestors. My parents’ DNA combined – just one cell from Mom and one cell from Dad. And they themselves were created by a set of instructions that knew how to make a complete copy of each of their own parents. And on and on it goes.
“So I exist in the now, and I exist in the then. And all of my ancestors exist in me. And if we go back far enough, somewhere in me are the instructions for making photosynthesis and for making a single-celled organism.
“I am one with the Universe. I am one with the past, and I am one with every experience in my life. I flow with the River of Time and with the River of Life, for they are one with me.”