Gazing into the Mirror of Eternity
So last night was "girls' night out," meaning that it was just me and Future Leader. Leslie and I still can't get over the fact that he landed here with us, and probably never will. To review: we started dating in 1984, married in 1987, and had no desire for children until we both simultaneously decided that we did in late 2002. We hadn't been neutral about children; rather, we specifically didn't want any. Oddly, there was no discussion leading to the change of heart -- rather, we both came to the decision quite suddenly and independently.
Everything was put on hold for a while after my sister-in-law's death in December of 2002. Meanwhile, the biological clock was ticking. At our age, we needed to hasten the process, so we consulted a fertility specialist in late '03, and within about six months Leslie was pregnant. Tristan arrived in April '05.
Yada yada blah blah blah, he's in the process of acquiring speech, and I'm trying to catch him at the precise moment when he has one foot in language -- i.e., the finite -- but still has one foot in eternity. You might say that -- so long as we are not traumatized by inadequate or abusive parenting -- our first three years or so are spent in O, whereas the acquisition of language begins the lifelong process of translating O into (k), or the nonlocal to the local, very much like the collapse of the wave function in quantum physics, if you know what I mean. (And you don't, feel free to read my article on quantum physics and psychoanalysis, which is sitting here in a PDF file on my desktop.)
In Jewish tradition there is the idea that you were with God and living in eternity prior to your birth. Before descending into matter, God places his finger just below your nose, which causes the soul to "forget" its eternal nature -- which is where that little indentation under your nose came from. Think of it as your metaphysical belly button.
Anyway, at one point Tristan and I were sitting on the couch and I was just looking into his eyes, which really do seem to extend into eternity. There was a deep feeling of spiritual delight -- call it ananda, if you like -- and I blurted out Where did you come from?
I guess I didn't expect an answer, but Tristan immediately says "Upstairs!"
First of all, the slackatoreum has no stairs, if that's what you're thinking. I was a little taken aback, so I think I repeated the question, and he then said "upstairs, Daddy, upstairs!"
I don't remember exactly what I said after that, but it was something like, "what happened next?," to which he immediately responded -- illustrating the descent with his hand -- "down, down, down," and something about being with Mommy.
Now, I suppose I never actually thought that I could catch him on the border between time and eternity, the finite and the infinite, so I was unprepared for followup questions. I think I said something like, "why did you come down? Did you hear our prayers?"
To this he responded with a detailed explanation, only it was in what we call "Tristonian," which is his own private language that he's been speaking for a year or more. He's always been very verbal, except that it's only gradually "crystalizing" and making sense -- somewhat like Sean Penn, but without the infantile rage and paranoia. It's like the primordial speech out of which speech emerges. So I was listening very carefully to what he was saying, but I just couldn't make out the details -- the melody, but not the words. Very frustrating. But whatever he was saying, he was very animated and detailed in discussing it.
At some point I asked, "were you with God?," to which he responded "Yes!" However, I don't think that necessarily counts for much, since there's a fifty-fifty chance he would have said the same thing if I'd asked "were you in limbo with Larry King?"
On the other hand, it's pretty weird that he came up with that first response without any prompting. I'll keep working on obtaining the details, but I need to avoid making it some sort of contrived game, otherwise he'll notice my reactions and just keep saying the same thing. I need to catch him at unguarded moments, when he's relaxed and in one of these semi-trance states that children and other seers can slip into.
In the passage "Let me see your countenance (mirror)" (Song of Songs 2:14), there is the metaphor of the soul descending into the body, which blocks its further progress, contains it so that it is hidden, and then discharges it to return to its source. The body is the mirror receiving the light of the soul and reflecting it back in accordance with its own capacity, the heaviness of its coating, the density or smoothness of its "reflecting" surface, and the like. If the body acts as a well-made mirror, it will give forth more light than was originally received. And this is said to be the purpose of the descent of the soul into the body. --Adin Steinsaltz, In the Beginning