Infinity is child’s play

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, adding 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 certain that these were portals 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, exciting, 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 was always a glamorous woman in a bright pink feather boa at a festive party. She was always there; she was one I could see – or at least I could see her feather boa, teasing me at the edge of the portal. I could even make out sounds of laughter and the clinking of glasses through that portal, 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.

My hall of mirrors was endlessly fascinating, but what intrigued me most, sometimes to the point of exasperation, was a mysterious presence there in the corridor with me. I often sensed a shadowy being standing off to one side behind me, just a hair beyond my sight line in the mirror before me. I could see the shadow’s edge but no more. No matter how I angled the mirrored door I could never see the whole being itself.

***

How does such a young child come into the concept of slipping in and out of other dimensions, of innately understanding that we exist in one tiny corner of something vast and magical? Of seeing one’s shadow? We are born knowing. We are born with infinite knowledge and the ability to access it all. You are born with the memory of your consciousness and of every experience your soul has ever had across all time and space but in infancy there comes a disconnect, a necessary forgetting, to allow the full experience of being human – and then the quest to remember begins. I wasn’t trying to learn then so much as to remember what I came into this body already knowing.

By age eight or nine, the comfort with infinity and real inter-dimensional fluidity that I owned at three, four, five years old, was largely forgotten. One day, my cousin and I sat discussing Outer Space. He was brilliant, and shared my fascination with the farther reaches of the sky, but that day the idea of endlessness proved too much for either of us to bear. The more we talked about infinity, the more anxious we became. We were so incapable of processing the concept that within a minute or two we flailed our arms wildly, came to friendly blows, and burst into shrieks of laughter, the perfect antidote to feeling so overwhelmed by a vastness we no longer comprehended.

My cousin left the planet far too early, barely twenty years after that overwhelming day. But shortly after his passing, he and I met up on the astral plane. It was exhilarating beyond anything I could possibly have imagined, and this time we laughed out of pure joy. “You made it! You made it!” he exclaimed when I finally cracked through the barrier of illusion between our dimensions.

Not long after that joyful 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. And then I saw beyond myself, through the mirror and beyond it, through the walls of my home, beyond the confines of my city and my mind, and into infinity.

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