In my childhood home were two identical full-length mirrors that faced one another, hung from two bedroom doors at opposite ends of the upstairs hallway. When I was still very, very young I loved seeing how when one door was closed and the one opposite was slightly ajar, it created the illusion of an endless, curved corridor of doorways that stretched on into infinity. So much possibility for adventure! It was riveting. Light spilled out into the hallway from an adjacent room, giving a glow to the white paint that framed the mirrors, and adding even more allure to the mysteries waiting just beyond my view at the edge of every reflected doorway. I was convinced that each led not only to distant lands, but to different worlds entirely – other galaxies, other dimensions, that I could sense, if not describe.
In my hall of mirrors I always felt as if I were just on the edge of knowing, of experiencing something fascinating and BIG. I’d choose different doorways to focus on, and imagine myself slipping through into this world or that, so eager to find out who else was already there, and what they were about. Through one doorway I remember a glamorous woman in a bright pink feather boa at a festive party. She was always there, she was one I could see; I could even make out laughter, and the clinking of glasses, and of course I spent a lot of time trying to get to that party. I was certain there must be a way to pass right through the mirror itself, and that if I just kept at it, eventually I’d figure out how and do so without any effort, like Alice through the looking glass (a kindred spirit I wouldn’t discover for a few more years).
The mirror doorways were endlessly fascinating, but what intrigued me most, sometimes to the point of exasperation, was the mysterious presence in the corridor that was their backbone. I always could sense someone standing in it right there beside me, just a hair beyond my sight line. I could see the shadow! But no matter how I angled the door, I could never see the being itself.
How does such a small child come into the concept of slipping in and out of other dimensions, of understanding that we exist in something vast? Of seeing one’s shadow? We are born knowing. I wasn’t trying to learn then so much as to remember, to not forget what I came into this body already knowing.
Ours is an environment defined by the illusions of solid form and linear time. It is in our need to adapt to these illusions, to learn to function within their confines, that we forget what fluid, expansive beings we are.
By age eight or nine, the comfort with endlessness that I still owned at three, four, five, even seven, became too much to bear. One day my cousin Gilbert and I sat talking about Outer Space. Gil had a brilliant mind and shared my fascination with the possibility of other realms. But the more we talked about infinity, the more anxious we began to feel. We were so incapable of processing the concept, that after a few minutes we flailed our arms wildly, came to blows, and burst out in shrieks of laughter. Kids.
Twenty years later, my dear cousin and I met up on the astral plane and it was exhilarating. He’d left the planet far too early, so this time we laughed out of sheer joy. “You made it! You made it!” he cried.
Not long after that happy reunion on the astral plane, I stared in amazement one morning as I floated up out of my body and passed my foot through a solid wooden cabinet. Then, still floating in midair in my living room, I turned to the mirror, gazed at my reflection and into my eyes, and saw myself as I never had before, as I really was. My true self. And then I saw beyond myself, right through the mirror, beyond it, and into infinity.