In the moment before my first memory, I feel a wonderful lightness, a floating sensation that isn’t truly a sensation because I don’t yet know who I am or that I am. But then I feel a coming together, a sense of going that is my becoming, my awakening. And that is my first memory.
Childlike curiosity drives me to explore myself. I can feel my lightness, an awareness that I am floating in a comforting sea of white. I can also feel my body growing. Delicate tendrils of ice grow in beautiful, unique patterns from the tiny part of me that was my beginning, and I take joy and fascination in becoming aware of myself.
I feel the presence of many brothers and sisters. We are all growing, all newly self-aware, and all around is the soothing presence of our cloud-mother. She fills the world and tells us that she is happy and proud of us. We are hers and feel at home with her.
You are growing very well, she tells us. Soon it will be time to leave for the world below.
We are afraid to leave her because she is our home, our mother. If we leave her, we will die. We don’t know how we know this, but we do.
Don’t be afraid, she tells us. Every end is a beginning. You lived before you came to me and you will return here after your time below is through. You have lived from eternity before and will live for eternity after. Every death gives way to a new rebirth.
The words of our mother-cloud comfort us and help us forget our fears.
The time comes. We begin our gradual descent together, millions and millions of brothers and sisters. Staying close together helps us not to be afraid. Soon, our mother is far above us, still bidding us farewell.
When she is gone, we are alone in a sea of white, not knowing whether we are going up or down. It is silent all around us. To lift the silence some of us begin to sing silent songs of thoughts, songs that we can all hear together in our minds. We sing of our mother and our brothers and sisters, of our anticipation for the world awaiting us below. What will we find? Though we all share the same fears and anxieties, our individual thoughts and feelings are as unique as our crystalline bodies, and each of us adds something different to the thought-song to make it rich and beautiful.
We float together like this for a very long time. Soon, we feel confident and happy in ourselves. We miss our mother, but we are ready and excited to begin our lives in the world below.
After a little more time, we begin to see shapes in the whiteness: outlines that gradually become clearer and more distinct as we continue our descent. We see lights and shadows, shades of reddish-grey, and great lumbering shapes moving across the whitewashed surface of the world.
We sense the additional presence of millions and millions more of our brothers and sisters. They are the ones who came before us. We greet them and ask how they are doing.
Some of them return our greetings and welcome us with great joy. They say that they are quite comfortable and have a marvelous view of the world around them. They describe it to us, a world of trees and streets, cars and people, things we have never known while living and growing with our cloud-mother. Their words fill us with wonder, and we look about for the things they described, though in the gray darkness it is difficult to see anything clearly. The noises, too, are muffled and sound very unfamiliar.
Others reply that we shouldn’t think too much on the strange new things of this world.
After all, they say, when we arrived we had a good view for a short time, but soon we were covered by others until we couldn’t see anything. But there is nothing to worry. It is quite cozy and comfortable, and you will never feel alone.
Others, though, give us dire warnings.
Watch out! they say. Take care! These humans are not harmless creatures. They can cause pain! When one of them steps on you, it presses you so hard that it crushes your beautiful bodies into oblivion. And heaven help you if you land in the street! Instead of the unique and beautiful patterns you were born with, you will die embedded with dirt and oil and grime.
Their words frighten us and remind us of the death that awaits us. Some of us wish they had never come, and long to return to our cloud-mother where such pain was unknown.
Others look at us as if we are mere children.
Just wait, they say. You will see what it is truly like down here. When the cloud-mother stops sending her children and the sun rises bright and terrible in the sky, you will hear the slow sounds of death and the feel the pain of losing your beautiful individuality in a sea of unpleasant, warm monotony. If you don’t die, you will each merge together until your bodies become one sheet of transparent glass, your uniqueness lost except in memory. In this way, your days will drag out until you melt into death, utterly forgotten.
Many of us don’t know what to think of these words. I don’t know what to make of them. The fear I had before of leaving my cloud-mother comes back, making me feel helpless, and for a brief moment I panic, wishing I had never come down.
But then I remember her words. Every end is a beginning. You have no memories of any time before or after, but you have lived from eternity before and will live for eternity after.
In this world below the whiteness I can see pain, and loss, and even death, horrible things that I cannot comprehend. But I know that pain, too, comes to an end. Just as my birth, the comfort of floating with our cloud-mother, or the joy of the symphony of thoughts came to an end. But I will not end. I have not ended.
I have lived before and will live again—all else flows past me, touches me, but doesn’t erase or eradicate me. Even if there is pain, there will be joy again. Even if I forget this life, there will be others. Even if I lose my individuality, in my rebirth I will again rise unique.
I look down and see a figure below me: a human, smaller than the others. She sticks out her tongue and I drift lazily towards it. But as I descend gradually towards her open mouth, I am not afraid.