My five year old neighbor, I’ll call him Max, watched a video of the uneXplained tv show that I was in recently. When the show ended, Max’s parents talked about walking down the hill to visit me. “She’s not home,” Max told them. They laughed and asked him how he knew that. “She’s walking,” he told them, pointing to the hill behind their house. “She’s walking up the hill.”
Of course I was – he’d just seen me on television walking up the hill.
When Max’s mother told me this story, I was enchanted. It bent some fixed idea of time and space, illusion and reality. It reminded me in a very vivid way that we are taught whatever we believe we understand about time and space. Max has learned that we are only in one place at a time, and if I’m walking up the hill on television, I’m walking up the hill.
The disconnect comes from the fact that Max watches home videos of himself and his parents on vacation, around the house, on hikes and playing in the river water. He understands these are videos that represent moments that he’s already experienced, moments in the past.
So there must be some internal difference for him between those videos and the video of me walking up the hill. I don’t know what it is, but it makes me wonder what internal differences I’ve constructed in my own ideas of what’s real and what’s present, what’s past and what is always present.
From the point of view of expanded awareness, our assumptions and interpretations must often look as funny and possibly arbitrary as Max’s interpretation looks to me and his parents.