There once was a young soldier who was deployed to a combat zone in a third-world country. Shortly after arriving, he sustained a gunshot wound to the head and fell into a coma.
While unconscious, he found himself inside a small, dark enclosure. A dark skinned woman entered through an opening and motioned for him to follow her. He followed her through the opening, and looking back, he realized he had been inside a mud hut, like the ones he’d seen many times while on patrol.
The woman sat down and motioned for him to sit next to her.
“This feels strange, but so familiar,” he thought to himself. “This isn’t my mother, yet she is.”
Playing in an adjacent field was an eleven-year-old boy. The mother waved him over to join them. “Your brother,” she said to the young soldier, “he is like another version of you. Always remember him that way.”
The boy made eye contact with him and as he did the young soldier felt an overwhelming rush of love, so strong that he began to cry. The emotion gradually faded as they both looked down at their feet.
The mother walked over to the door of the hut and gestured for the young soldier to go back inside. He stepped through the doorway and everything faded to black. He turned to face the doorway, but it was gone.
A small beam of light come down in front of him from above. He looked up to see what was there and the longer he looked the wider and brighter the light became. It became so bright that he had to close his eyes and look away.
As he did, a voice said, “Look again.”
He opened his eyes and saw that he was now in an open space, filled with so much white light that he couldn’t see any farther than a few meters in any direction.
The silhouette of a person appeared in front of him, with bright light streaming around it.
“Where am I?” The soldier said aloud.
A voice emanating from all around said, “You’re where you need to be.”
The voice seemed to be coming from everywhere at once and was neither male nor female.
“Who are you?” The young soldier asked.
“I am your potential,” the voice replied.
“My potential? What do you mean?”
“Everyone exists in all possible states of being and I am the best possible expression of your essence. How you express yourself in space-time isn’t everything that you are. Your heart understands what this means, but your head doesn’t.”
“You said I need to be here? Why, what’s going to happen?”
“If you could know a person directly, without knowing how they look, how they sound, where they’re from, and all the superficial judgements you make about them, you would feel like you were connecting with a family member. If you were able to see with the eyes of your soul, you would see other versions of yourself everywhere. Within you there’s a struggle between fear and love. Fear is a necessary protector, but it needs to be balanced with love. When you see someone as another version of you, that’s love.”
“Is that what that was about, with that family I just met?”
“The people of this country aren’t so different from you. There’s nothing particularly special about your skin color or the land you’re from. The soul is what matters. You experienced that mother as your mother, even though she wasn’t really your mother, and you experienced the brother as your brother, even though you’ve never had a brother.”
The young soldier was thinking of his next question, but before he could say anything the space where he was standing fell out from under him and he began to free fall. He felt the g-force in his stomach and feared that he was falling to his death. His body went flush and tingled all over, and just at the moment when he thought he was about to die, he was jolted awake. His body felt like lead pressing into the mattress underneath him, and the only light he could see now was coming from a light fixture above him.
“Welcome back, Private,” said an army medic, seeing him conscious for the first time in days.
“An Ak-47 round pierced your helmet. You’re lucky — it didn’t fully penetrate your skull.”
Later that day his Sergeant checked in on him and filled him in on the details.
“I have some intel about the shooter,” said the Sergeant.
“It was a child soldier from a nearby village. Eleven-years-old. One of our guys took him out.”
“Yeah, his family had been killed by the rebels. He came home and found them dead. The rebels told him we did it.”
The Sergeant left the room and the young soldier’s eyes filled with tears.
. . .
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