Now imagine there is a parallel you, living a mirror life. All of the mistakes you remember making, it never made; all of the times you fell ill, it never did; all of the people you once harmed, it refrained from harming; for every lie you told, it told the truth; every time you hesitated, it jumped right in; every time you avoided love, it freely surrendered; every time you held on, it let go; every time you looked the other way, it went straight ahead; every time you wished there was another you, it was being that.
In the magical scheme of things, this ideal self takes over your life. It seems nothing can go wrong, but we never know the intricacies of these dramas before we find ourselves immersed in them, just as it is hard to know how the book will turn out, when we are only on the first page. If someone were to read the book of our life today, would they see some similarity in the various chapters, until they eventually recognized that it is just as much about them as it is about anybody?
Just so, the ideal mirror self has now assumed your life, but when there is a mistake to be made, it makes it. You are surprised, you had high hopes that it would be different now, but it seems that this other you could get ill, could be careless and selfish, could be dishonest and fearful, could long to change the narrative, just as we do, so as to arrive at a more satisfying resolution.
Maybe in our disappointment, however, we fail to notice the small variations. For example, this new idea of ourselves doesn’t make every mistake we had made in our previous version. There were a few times when a different outcome occurred. Nor did it always fall for the same old myths we once did, it occasionally was willing to question the consensus opinion.
There might be other little improvements like this, enough at least to inspire some hope that we are moving forward, evolving, gradually perfecting our image of ourselves, so that eventually we shall get it right and graduate from this endless loop of confusion and doubt.
How crushing it must be to directly see that this is not the case. We don’t really move forward, or backward either. Nor do we stay in one place. There are infinite variations on how we might appear at any given time, and yet none of them are true. We are not what changes, what begins in hope, endures countless challenges, and ends in ultimate victory, despite the arsenal of screenplays we can devise to pretend it all works out that way. It doesn’t all work out, there is no winner to collect the prize — this is more than disappointing.
If I were to just stop there, it would be too hard for many to swallow, and so I should speak about the other side of the matter, in which there is a parallel you living a mirror life, and every time you imagine there is only emptiness, the other you sees fullness. Every time you come to accept the fact that you truly and honestly don’t know, the other remains insatiable in its search for a liberating wisdom. And yes, the other one believes in love, and the power of loving transformation.
Though you may have resigned yourself to the darkness, and even become comfortable there, the other seeks that gleam of light, a portal to the home it left behind out of compassion, in order to be a reflection of you, to reveal to you that beyond your disappointment there is an incomprehensible joy. Maybe now you begin to remember this yourself — that there is only one reality, and you alone are that. Perhaps this time, you won’t as easily forget.
(Photo by Mazie Lane)