My family annually recites the story of how, when was I child, I was so courageous and bold, I elaborately broke my nose: running after my cousins, smashing into the home desk, and standing in the perfect position for the glass to land on my nose. I wish I could remember this, not for recalling the pain, but rather, to remember how it feels to run crazy like that, with wind ‘under my wings’, trusting that I was going to be okay.
There is this myth told by Plato about a young soldier, named Er, who was thought to have died in battle, but awoke 12 days later. When he woke up, he could recall what had happened to his soul during the time he was supposedly dead. Er was able to “gaze on the realm of everlasting reality, and thus come to learn the Truth.” He witnessed how souls picked new lives to be reborn into. However, just before they entered these new lives, they camped overnight on the banks of the Forgetful River, where they were forced to drink from the river, and some drank more than their fair portion. Each one, as they drank, forgot all things – including what they had seen in Heaven. Then, they were swept away to be reborn into their new lives on Earth.
“The strong implication is that those who drank too fully would not be able, in the new life, to remember anything about reality, and these individuals would remain ignorant. Those who had drunk only the minimum, however, could with great effort – and with the prompting of education on Earth – recall the insights into reality their souls had received. These latter would be the people who, on Earth, would be regarded as having learned.”
The subtlety in this myth is, we are completely ignorant when we are born, and depending on how much we drank from the Forgetful River and what we do in our lives, we become “learned” by reawakening what we had seen in Heaven.
What if when we were born, we already had a connection with the Truth, without us consciously knowing? And so, to some degree, we would be regarded as “having learned”?
When we are young, we are carefree. We jump into crazy situations, and put ourselves at risk defiantly but somehow blissfully. There is this trust – a surety – that whatever happens, you’ll be okay. And not only okay, but wonderful, and joyful!
It seems like, as we grow older, we lose this innocent, unaffected trust in the beyond. We seem to grow careful, and take this trust from Heaven and contain it within ourselves. Instead of believing that we’re not going to fall and hurt ourselves, we begin to look down, and fearfully, we try to stop ourselves from falling. We cut these strings that hold us up from above.
I think we need to resurrect this childlike trust in God. A good friend told me once that you can’t define this trust in God. “God is the very reason why we feel the desire to trust.”
I think it is an unwavering thing that liberates the soul and learns the Truth.
“It is wise in the young… And let heart go racing heart, and the light shining there, not to listen to the old, whose tune is fear and care… So the message we should send, from age back to youth, is that every kiss and every glance is truer than the truth.” Judith Wright