Lhasa de Sela’s song “Soon This Space Will be too Small” is beautifully haunting. The first day I heard it, I played it over and over. I wanted to know the story behind this song. As soon as I found it, I no longer wondered what it was about this song that made me love it so. Here’s Lhasa’s story* behind the song. *As told in a CBC interview, transcribed by me. When we are conceived, we appear in our mother’s womb like a little tiny light, suspended in the immense space. And there is no sound – it’s completely dark and time doesn’t seem to exist. It’s like an ocean of darkness.
Then, we grow. And we keep growing and growing and as we grow, slowly we begin to feel things, touch things. We touch the walls of our world that we’re living in. Then we begin to hear sounds and feel shocks that come to us from outside.
As we get bigger & bigger, the distance between ourselves and that outside world becomes smaller and smaller. And…this world that we are inside which seems so huge in the beginning and so infinitely welcoming has becoming very uncomfortable. We are obliged to be born.
Birth is so chaotic and violent that at the moment of our births, we’re all thinking, “This is it – this is death. This is the end of my life.” Then we’re born and it’s a huge surprise because it’s just the beginning. In the beginning we’re very small – the world seems infinitely big. Time seems infinitely long. And we keep on growing, learning how to use our senses, how to touch the contours of the world that we’re in.
Sometimes, mixed in with the sounds and sensations of this world we live in, we hear sounds and feel shocks that come from yet another world. And that other world follows us our whole lives long. As if – something is happening, just on the other side of a very, very thin wall separating us from that other world, much like the womb. But we can forget about it for a long time – sometimes our whole lives – until all of a sudden it comes again.
At the end of our lives, we’re obliged to die. At that point, then, we think we’re really smart. And we think, “This time. I know for sure that this is death. That this is the end. Everybody knows that.” That’s not the end, though…it’s just…the beginning of something else.
You can listen to Lhasa tell the story here: Soon This Place Will be too Small
What do you think of Lhasa’s analogy? Do you think there is life after “death”?
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