What is “Through the Looking Glass” About?

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What is “Through the Looking Glass” about? One of my favorite quotes from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland runs like this:

“Alice had got so much into the way of expecting nothing but out-of-the-way things to happen, that it seemed quite dull and stupid for life to go on in the common way.”

“It makes perfect sense,” I thought after reading it. Since that fateful morning when she followed the white rabbit into the hole, she wasn’t quite herself. Everything was topsy-turvy, to say the least.

That’s probably what the disciples felt around Jesus when he would say things like,

“You give them something to eat.”

They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”

When you have been around Jesus for a while, you are not quite yourself anymore. He always says something that blows your mind into smithereens. How can you give something you don’t have?

Apparently, you have much more than you think you do. Apparently, you are other than what you think you are. It’s just the sort of jaw-dropping reaction that Jesus is after. He is creating a nonsensical situation that helps people make sense out of life. He turns the world upside down for us to see what it looks like.

G.K. Chesterton said: “Paradox is truth standing on her head to get attention.” We all have more than we think we do. As Eckhart Tolle said:

“Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.”

Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you already have, but unless you allow it to flow out, you won’t even know that you have it. This reminds me of the “Looking-glass cake” that Alice was trying to cut before handing it out. It didn’t work — the pieces would join back together.

“You don’t know how to manage Looking-glass cakes,” the Unicorn remarked. “Hand it round first, and cut it afterwards.”

It sounded so nonsensical that Alice got up and obediently carried the dish around. The cake divided itself in three pieces as she did so.

We are more than we know. We have more than we think we do. The world is upside down — it must be put on its head for us to see what it really is. By going through the Looking-glass, we, like Alice, will be changing several times until we find ourselves. To make sense, everything must be other than what it seems to be.

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t.” Alice

We can only give what we don’t have. We can only have what we have given up. We can only know what we don’t. We can only win if we surrender. It is so nonsensical that we get up like Alice and obediently carry the dish around. Surprisingly, as we do so, it works!