Read the latest from The Source on the theme of Mind.
I walk through the woods and I realise it once again. I realise that we can never quite see happiness ahead of us on the road. It’s always a cold glance in the rear-view mirror, or somewhere off-road, miles out of reach. But I yearn to sit beside happiness, he as my passenger or better yet my driver. I want him surrounding me, enveloping me, within me so that we cast only a single shadow.
I walk, though, and anything that comes to mind makes my face scrunch into obscure shapes, my eyes burn around thick and matted lashes. Any light around me is immediately extinguished. Even the good is bad, and somehow, the positive only a reminder of the negative, the cold merely a reminder of the flame that once was. Is this it? An inexorable cycle of ignorance and regret?
A child approaches me. It is my father. His navy knee socks almost meet his grey school shorts, his bowl-cut hair shines above of a furrowed brow. He holds a conker in one hand, a marble in the other. He asks what is wrong with me, and would I like to play, and that mother says crying does no good. It is his very first try at living, his first attempt at something that might just take a lifetime to master.
Not long after, I see my mother. Her pigtails sit high on her head, separated by a perfect parting, and embellished with pearl-white ribbons, the finest Italian silk. She steps on the stones in the stream, ever so carefully, tightly gripping a stuffed animal in her tiny hand. When she sees me, she hugs me tightly, stretching little arms around my legs. Her paper-smooth forehead hardly reaches my right hip. I hug her back, tightly, as it too is my first try at living.
The mind allows us to experience and feel what we might in another universe, another time, or another life. It can imagine things that are impossible in the real world, like meeting your parents as children, or meeting yourself as a toddler. This piece captures the power of the mind to take us through such impossibilities. How differently would you act day-to-day if you had experienced these encounters? How would you treat yourself if five-year-old you was in the mirror? Having relationships with people from different generations helps us put life into perspective. It gives us a reflection of what we once thought we knew, what we will have to learn, and what we might never understand.