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Reading the Book of Life Out of Sequence

ourA Pattern Break # 888

It’s possible that each of us is not just born but is given an entire life all at once – not just a first page of existence but an entire book of it. But, for perceptual reasons, we approach this life in a temporally sequential manner – that is, reading the pages of time in sequence (1, 2, 3… this moment, then the next moment…), thus creating a sense of time and creating a sense of an unknown (i.e. future, i.e. yet-to-be-read pages of existence). This kind of temporally linear approach is what Kant believed to be an apriori of perception, i.e. an invariable.

But what if it’s not invariable? What if you could read this book of existence any way you wish? What if you could experience this given life-time of experience in reverse? I am not suggesting that we fantasize about what it would be like.

I am suggesting that perhaps that is already possible. Just consider your premonitions and hunches of foreboding that eventually do materialize… We tend to look at such instances as coincidences or self-fullfilling prophesies. But what if they are just instances of reading the book of life out of order…

One of the implications of this possibility is that your life is fully predetermined – not by some outside agency, but by your own prior self, who already once lived it and, having once collapsed the probability wave to a particular crystallization of a life-script, “doomed” oneself to that Nietzcshean “eternal return.” And it feels new every time only because we keep re-enacting this script in sequence.  The upside here is that “the cup is already broken,” that we have already survived everything that we fear to survive.  And with that comes a kind of fearlessness and acceptance.

Ponder this or not. If this premise is correct, it doesn’t really matter if you ponder it or not.

What’s the deal with “pattern breaks?”  A pattern break wakes you up – compels you to take another look at your life, from a different vantage point.  And that too is mindfulness.

Reading the Book of Life Out of Sequence

Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

Pavel Somov, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice and the author of 7 mindfulness-based self-help books. Several of his books have been translated into Chinese, Dutch & Portuguese. Somov is on the Advisory Board for the Mindfulness Project (London, UK). Somov has conducted numerous workshops on mindfulness-related topics and appeared on a number of radio programs. Somov's book website is and his practice website is

Marla Somova, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Pittsburgh, PA. She is the co-author of "Smoke Free Smoke Break" (2011).

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APA Reference
Somov, P. (2015). Reading the Book of Life Out of Sequence. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 9 Mar 2015
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