Book 3. The Space of Love (1998)
Anastasia went off to get ready to feed our son, while I once again set out for a walk in the woods to do some thinking.
Two things were bothering me — unpleasant things. The first was how I, as a father, was still unable to find myself a niche where I could participate in the raising of my son. It had become clear to me that I could not come up with any more interesting toys than those he had already And there was no point in bringing food in either.
Our son already has his mother’s milk and fresh flower pollen, and then there will be nuts and berries. Naturally, packaged baby food is no substitute for a living, growing source of nourishment. Yet still I had a hard time mentally accepting this kind of situation.
After all, Anastasia has nothing, and yet at the same time
she lacks nothing, and can even make liberal provision for the baby
In the TV adverts there is such a hype about toys and other stuff for children that it almost seems a child won’t survive without them. Here, however, they make no sense at all — more than that, they are actually harmful. Ababy doesn’t even need a crib here. With a crib like the one he has — namely the bear — of course, he is not going to freeze even when the temperature is minus forty There’s no need to wash sheets or diapers. The bear — can you believe it? — is also a stickler for cleanness. Each time she scrapes clean her groin-area with her claws, just like a comb. She rubs her tummy on the grass, and then bathes. When she comes out of the water she
shakes herself off, with spray flying in all directions, then lies down on her back with her tummy up and dries herself off, and then once again combs her groin area.
Anastasia took me over to her and had me feel the place where our little one sleeps. It is soft there, clean and warm.
But even if I am not required to make any kind of material provision, a father should still take part in raising his son — that’s for certain. Only how? Maybe I should go to Anastasia and firmly demand a definitive answer. After all, I have fulfilled all her conditions — I have not picked up the baby, nor have I insisted on him making use of the presents I brought with me.
My other disappointment was in not being able to fulfil my readers’ requests and lay out a specific system or timetable for raising children. There are a lot of questions in the letters about children, and they are always asked at readers’ conferences. I promised that I would definitely question Anastasia about this, and in my next book I would set forth the system her family has used from generation to generation to bring up their young.
And there you have it! Not only does she reject systems in general, but she even declares any system to be harmful. Of course, that cannot be. Amidst all the harmful systems there has to be at least one that is right. And then it dawned on me. In all the readers’ letters there was not a single question about child-raising addressed to me. Everyone was looking to Anastasia for an answer, and if people actually trust her more than the usual experts in our world — certainly more than they trust me — then it’s up to her to answer the questions raised. She’s the one who is obliged to do that. My part is simply to lay it out on paper. I’ve got enough on my plate just putting out the books.
Anastasia finished her tasks and came running over in all her rosy-cheeked cheerfulness.
“Everything is done. Our son is asleep. You have not been too bored here all by yourself?”
“I’ve been thinking.”
‘About how there was nothing more to write in my next book. I told you how people are waiting for answers to their specific questions. People are interested in child-raising. But what can I write about that? Sure, I’ll tell about how you communicate with the baby, how he’s getting on. But what’s the point? In the conditions of our world that kind of regime is simply not practicable. Nobody’s going to train a bear or a wolf or an eagle, and nobody has a glade with pure pollen on the flowers as you have here.”
“But it is not the bear that is important, Vladimir! Nor the eagle. They are merely effects. There is just one thing that is important, and it will find the right path under any conditions.” “And what’s that?”
“One’s attitude to one’s child. The thoughts surrounding the child. Believe me, and try to understand. Christ could be born only by a mother who believed that Christ would be born to her, and if the parents have the same attitude to their child as they would to Christ or Mohammed, their offspring will follow this thought. And he will become whoever he aspires to become. People will still explore Nature, and those who are able to feel and become aware of what the Creator has created — its sense and purpose — they will be able to make a bright and happy world for their child.”
“But how do they feel this? There has to be, somehow, a gradual process. There has to be a procedure.”
“This can be felt only with the heart. Only the heart is capable of understanding it.”
‘And more specifically?”
“You wrote ‘more specifically’ when you told about the dachniks, yet you took no notice yourself. What is the point
of wasting more words? If the heart and the soul are not open, the words will simply vanish with the wind, barely noticeable.” “Yes, I did write a few words about that. But nothing has come of them in real life.”
“Young shoots are barely noticeable, they are not seen by everyone right off. All the more so in the case of young shoots growing in the soul.”
“But if you can’t see them, what’s the point in writing? I write, I try, but still there are many who do not believe or understand what you are talking about. And there are some who even doubt your existence.”
“Think about it, Vladimir — perhaps you will be able to see some logic even in their doubts.”
“What kind of logic can there be in their doubts?”
“Doubts make counter-actions less likely, and that is why I exist for those for whom I exist. They and I co-exist together side by side, in each other’s hearts. If you think about it a bit longer, it will make sense to you. I exist because of them. They have the power to engender, to create and not to destroy They will understand you and support you, and will be mentally by your side.”
“Tou can say what you like, but I am tired of listening to in-sulting remarks. Dispel the doubts of the unbelievers. Come and show yourself on television, show something of your extraordinary abilities,” I implored Anastasia, and she replied: “Believe me, Vladimir, my appearance in the flesh and any miracles performed in public will not pour the light of faith into the faithless. They will only exacerbate the feeling of irritation on the part of those who do not like someone else’s perception of the world. And you should not waste your 1
energies on them. To everything there is a season, to everything there is a dawn, and if you wish, I shall come forth to people and I shall appear in the flesh. But before that I must make it so women who have involuntarily consecrated their lives to the kitchen can experience joys of a different order. And so that the light of love may shine upon young mothers who have been left alone with their children. And the children! You see, the children1. Their souls must be liberated from the tyranny of theories.”
“See, there you go again with your dream. A lot of time has gone by since you started to dream that way, but little has actually been done. We’ve got a book, there’s pictures and poetry, but where are your global achievements for all people? Only don’t talk of bright little shoots growing in people’s souls. Show something tangible, something that can be felt in real life... You can’t show anything, can you?”
“Then show it!”
“If I show it, I shall be subjecting you to the temptation to open prematurely the little shoots which are just starting to come up, and then who will protect them from a damaging hailstorm?”
“In that case I shall be obliged to do so, to correct my mistake. Look...”
At that point, thanks to Anastasia, I was able to witness a phenomenon which was even more extraordinary and over-whelming than anything I had described in my books to date. Within the space of a single moment — either inside me or in front of me, I’m not sure which — there paraded a multitude of marvellous faces of people of different ages and from different parts of the Earth.
This was not just any series of flickering images. Not just people’s faces, but their splendid actions too appeared
before my eyes. I could see the circumstances surrounding them — the events that were happening to them or because of them over their whole lifetime. They were all drawn from our present reality It would have taken many years to view such a quantity of information on a cinema screen, yet here it took but a single moment, after which Anastasia was standing once more before me, in exactly the same position she was in before. She began speaking the moment I saw her:
“You were thinking, Vladimir, that what you saw was merely a kind of hypnosis. I ask you please not to try to guess the means by which these people appeared before you. We were talking about children. About the most important thing! Did you see the children? Tell me.”
“Yes, I saw the children. Their faces looked intelligent and kind. The children were building a house all by themselves, a very beautiful house, and so big. And they were singing while they worked. And I saw a grey-haired man amongst them. This man was a scholar, an academician. And he appeared to me right off to be very wise. Only he was talking in a peculiar fashion. He seemed to think that children could be wiser even than those whom we call professors. The children were talking with this academician as an equal, and yet at the same time with respect. Indeed, there was a lot about children in my vision. About how different their education was, the things they dreamt about. But that’s only a vision, so what’s the point in carrying on about it? In real life things are not like that at all.”
“What you saw was indeed real life, Vladimir, and before long you will be persuaded of that yourself.”
And, to my amazement, it all came about, just as Anastasia promised. It happened! And I saw it!
9. When words change destinies
10. Work out your own happiness
13. A new morning — a new life
15. A bird for discovering one’s soul
17. Put your vision of happiness into practice
19. What to agree with, what to believe?
21. Should we all go live in the forest?
Lada’s message. Editor’s Afterword