A volley of canon-fire and the future we had anticipated disappears in a cloud of cosmic dust.
A vision of my past life stands before me, its sparkling azure hue as vibrant and as clear as I always remember it to be. Memories wash over me as I’m reminded of the person I was and the way I saw things before. Hope for a future that never came, but perhaps should have.
My past, present and future exist at once together because time is not what we think it is. The grand cycle of the cosmos turns over once again and we find ourselves once more where it all began. We exist and we live. It’s not linear, but we live. We are defined by the power of the moment that can last both a brief instant and for all eternity at the same time. To remove or deny those moments is to deny identity, for it is through living in these moments that we learn who we are.
Symbols have meaning and power, but it won’t always be the same for every person in every context. I can try to explain the things I’ve seen to you, but language is merely a tool and there’s only so much of a discrete confluence that a tool can stand in for. But I try anyway. You may not have seen the same thing, as I, but I’ll wear a simulacrum of what I saw and put on a performance for you. And the fact remains you still saw something.
Memories of a time and place take on lives and identities of their own long after the moment of congress has faded away. Some call it a cheating distortion of reality, but reality is made every day through the act of people muddling by trying to read it. Seeing you again in this moment is like seeing you for the first time because our timelines diverged after you went away: The reality where we stayed together seems so very different from the one that I’ve forgotten.
A dream means something.
Is it bad that when I remember you, and even when I look at you now, I don’t see you for the way you were, but for the way I imagined you to be? That’s disingenuous I know-It’s certainly not relationship material, that sort of thinking. And yet neither are we: We never had the sort of relationship that would have required us to intimately know and trust one another, did we? It was always a matter of perspective; of me projecting things based on what I saw and what I felt. That’s the thing about heroes: We never see them for the people they really are, at least not all the time. We see them for the ideals and the qualities we figure they stand for and that we want to take into ourselves. And the act of meditation transforms spirit and shaman both. All I can say to you is that I’ve tried to to live my life according to the values I thought were yours. If you had been there longer maybe that would have been easier for all of us, but maybe it wouldn’t have made one ounce of difference either way.
This is not my time-space. I don’t belong here; forced to fight an aimless war so old nobody remembers who the combatants are anymore. Seeing you again reminds me of things that used to make me happy and help me envision the stars. It makes me think a future with you in it, where you had stayed, would have been preferable to unrest and unhappiness that preoccupies us today. But it’s oftentimes so easy for us to look back and think things would be better had one or two simple little things been different. And yet so often it seems our lived experiences pale in comparison to the futures and worlds we imagine. That’s the cliche, so there must be some truth to it.
But imagination is a very real thing.
These days we’re constantly at war with our own insecurities. Where we used to sublimate the world with our dreams, we now feel compelled to measure ourselves up against the depth and breadth of the entire universe and tear ourselves down in our sense of inadequacy. A devastatingly pointless war fought with God Canons, Death Drives and pragmatism for two long, insufferable decades. Seeing you here in this time reminds me how often I’d wonder if things would have been different had you been there with us at the crucial moment. You were gone before any of it had even gotten started, of course-How could you have known? How could one person be expected to shoulder the conscious soul of the entire universe? I wouldn’t dare to expect so much of anyone.
People often ask me what I would go back and change if I had the power to. I tell them I think that’s a question as dangerous as it is pointless.
No, one person cannot change the course of history. Not even a whole crew of people, even if they were in the exact right place at the exact right time and no matter how much the gaze of providence shines down on them. The tide of history cannot be bent to the Will of one person or any group of one persons because it is the shape and form of all of us thinking, feeling and acting at once. History is the remembrance of moments guided by the zeitgeist of the cosmic soul. What is meant to be will be so long as each of us and all of us find our own way and travel it every reoccurring moment. Don’t fight it; don’t make me fight it.
The challenge is: How do we get back, not to the way things were, but the way we used to want things to be? We fight each other because we’ve left our dreams behind in our shortsighted and childish belief that dreams are things we must grow out of. Barring anything to fight for, we fight because we don’t know any other way to communicate with each other. War, it would seem, is preferable to loneliness and silence because at least in war you’re doing it with other people. The reason why we might want to revisit a past life is not to relive it, for its value is not in the mundane lived experiences (at least, not in the ones that have failed to infuse themselves into the greater tapestries of our souls) but in those lessons we took from the accumulated moments on the whole. Details are unimportant and will fade away, but the images, emotions and energy they stirred in us last forever. Tap once more into those feelings: What are they trying to say to you? What sorts of things do you hear?
You might not always be here, but you’ll always come back. The tide will inevitably and unfailingly roll back once more and the wheel of the year will turn ’round another cycle. Please don’t worry about us two: You’ve helped us set our course well, and we can always evoke our memories of you when the time comes. The details of this encounter will eventually fade away, like they always have and like they always will. But what’s important, I think I’ve learned, is to hold on to the feeling and the memory of the moment, because that’s the only way we can know ourselves, each other, and the universe. No matter what happens, or what has happened, we’ll be OK. You helped us realise we’re guided in our lives and in our actions. Our place and our destinies really are in the stars, and that will carry us through. The two of us together, we make summertime from autumn here, always.
You can’t live in regret if you live your life to the best and to the fullest in each moment. All we get is one moment at a time, and only a sparse handful of contextual associations with which to act in it. You do the best that could be asked of you under the circumstances with what you had and what you know. That’s all that anyone could ever have asked of you.