It is my belief that walking is the mother of beautiful thoughts, so that a commute to work becomes a journey through mind and heart, deep into previously unknown realms of discovery and imagining. I was having plenty of deep inquiries this evening as I walked home, but the magic faded upon arriving on my doorstep. Still, I thought I would try to replicate my thoughts, though I daresay I cannot do them justice without the slant of sunlight out of a blue sky and the ever-present movement of footsteps to accompany them.
What if a person’s soul is them in the raw form – their core, so to speak – and is radically different from their personality? What if personality is a person’s soul with the clutter of body, genes, DNA and hormones on top? And on top of that, a sculpture made out of expectations, life experience and labels? And what if sleeping is when the body and mind go off-duty to recharge and let the soul have near free-range, so that our dreams are really just the world as seen through the eyes of our souls?
What if this is the reason children are so different from adults? Because their personalities are almost built purely with souls – they have no labels or expectations yet, and most of their hormones have not kicked in. They have little of the clutter of life experience to build up, layered, on top of their soul, like grime on a window, or algae on a lake, or, in more beautiful terms, carvings on a sculpture that used to be a tree? What if that is why children dream more? Because they see with the eyes of their soul.
And what if death is really just sleep for the soul? A chance for it to recharge and rinse off the grime of body and mind, to keep the life experiences that changed it, but discard the clutter, and to throw away gender, race and labels and get ready to face a new dawn. What if in death the soul shakes off the layers of personality and floats free for awhile in dream state before it finds something else to be?
I can see now how everything moves in cycles – day, night, day, night, waking, sleeping. The seasons, the days, the rise and fall of kingdoms – all cycles. Maybe the soul cycle is just another one of them. It seems a defile of nature for any cycle to end, and therefore I find the concept of the afterlife bizarre, and horribly limiting. How strange it is to believe that after a life spent living with the rise and fall of sun and moon, and the space between heart beats, and the turning of the year, and the ebbing and flowing of the tide, that everything suddenly stops and all remains still for eternity. I cannot believe it is so.
What if the real eternity is the space between heart beats? What if it is the dusk and the dawn? What if all of eternity is held in the split second at midnight on New Years Eve, when it is neither 2014 nor 2015, but somewhere in between? What if eternity is the moment between sleeping and waking, when neither the soul nor the body, nor the mind is in charge? The shift change of the world, so to speak. This seems like a far more believable definition of eternity than ‘forever’ does. When has there ever been a forever?
If death is really just sleep for the soul, than I want to live so that I am tired by the time I lie down. It is comforting to think that there is no forever. It makes everything seem bigger, and even the normal is tainted with a hue of wonder. It makes the spaces between heartbeats matter more, and the rise and fall of breath, and the moments between days. Everything seems more vibrant, as if part of the grime has been washed from the window of my eyes.
And now my feet have stilled by the handle of my door, and I hesitate on the threshold of the end of my walk. The pearly thoughts dissolve into only an inkling of what they used to be and the eternity between seconds is swallowed up.