Imagine that you are in a completely dark room and that you have a flashlight in your hands. Unbeknownst to you, you are facing a wall on which there is hanging a beautiful tapestry of your entire life, with every aspect of your life woven into the tapestry, from your conception on the far left of the tapestry to your death on the far right of the tapestry. When you shine your flashlight straight ahead, you can brightly illuminate the events that are occurring in the present, both external events and internal thoughts, feelings and sensations, so that you can see this part of the tapestry clearly. When you shine your flashlight to the left, the light become dimmer when it is illuminating those events you remember, depending on how vivid the memories are. For events that are really memorable, the kind that psychologists call “flashbulb memories”, such as what was occurring when you first witnessed the twin towers collapsing on 9/11/01, or in my case, when my daughter was born, the flashlight shines brightly and you see that part of the tapestry vividly. For events you do not remember, the flashlight does not illuminate the tapestry and you are still in the dark. When you point the flashlight to the right, at events that represent our future, most of us see nothing and remain in the dark. For individuals who can glimpse the future, their flashlights emit enough light for them to see some of the “future” events, but that is quite rare. We often use our Imagination to “see” our future, but these visions often reflect our fears more than they do actual future events in our life. On other occasions, we use our creative imagination to visualize desirable events that we can then work to actually weave into our life, so that both our internal imagined visions and actually occurring external events are both woven into the tapestry of our life.
One way of viewing this tapestry of our life is that the events are not actually occurring across time, but from “God’s point of view”, are already all woven into the tapestry. It is only we that perceive reality in terms of events occurring across time, going from one event to another. Some might protest that if all the events are already present in the tapestry, where does that leave room for “free will” to operate? If “God” can already see the entire tapestry, doesn’t that mean that all the events of our life are predestined? The way I would describe the situation is that we do in fact have free will, and the choices we make are woven into the tapestry, but “God” knows what the choices “will be” and what the consequences of all our choices “will be”, so “God” already sees the entire tapestry of our life.
As you contemplate this symbolic representation of your life as a tapestry, what are the implications for you? Does viewing your life in this way change how you view your life and your place in the universe? Does it suggest anything about how you might live your life in a way that creates more joy and happiness? Trevor Hall has a song called “The Weaver” (2017) on You Tube, which personifies the idea of spirituality woven into the tapestry of our lives, with lyrics such as “The Master lives and breathes in everything we are” and “weave your actions well into the fabric of your soul”.