When I was a child the highest tech toy I had was a kaleidoscope. I must have been around five years old and I remember spending hours with it. Just laying there and making adjustments that allowed me to see new patterns and designs-shifting perspectives. If you pointed it towards a light there was a feeling of stained glass and the sense that light streaming through a window at church brings. What stands out depends on how the light comes in.
Lately, I’ve been revisiting a book that has had a profound impact on my life, A New Earth–Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. They’ve been breaking the book down chapter by chapter on Super Soul Sunday with Ophrah. Apparently, I’m not the only one whose life has been changed by this book.
Chapter four deals with the ego which brings me to the kaleidoscope. You see I had this profoundly humbling realization about my ego. My ego is the operator of the kaleidoscope and normally it reflects the image and memories I want it to that support my truths. I can change it based on my different ego identities as daughter, wife, mother, sister, employee and now a grandmother.
But this week I realized if I let someone else change the kaleidoscope to reflect their memories of me the whole design changes. Those memories are fractals of the design of our lives and two people can be in the same place at the same time and come away with different memories or perceptions of the experience. It was humbling initially when I realized that all those other people’s memories might be what I would consider negative–but it also humbling to realize that they might also be positive.
I cannot change their memories to match my own, maybe I can add to theirs, but primarily I can accept their memories as their truth. But the very essence of memories is that they are the past. The real goal of living a meaningful life is to be indifferent or unattached to those memories–both mine and theirs. To understand that we all did our personal best at the time, or hopefully we did. Until your truths are based in indifference or lack of attachment you will always be judging and letting the past own your present.
Life is a kaleidoscope of memories, a stained glass window into a life lived. The important thing to remember is that it is both beautiful and fleeting.