Distance is separation. The extent of that separation depends on the ability to recognize ourselves deep within and also within others, being able to see, or not, the pure essence that animates and connects all organisms. For me, that separation is closely linked to the notion of belonging.
Perhaps we are aware of it for the first time at the moment when the umbilical cord that linked us to our mother is severed. In the West, we may inherited this awareness of Adam and Eve. We stopped belonging from the moment we were banished from paradise. Banished and separated from our mother, we began the search for our identity, by closing the distance that separates us from ourselves. In homes and communities where adults and the elderly know who they are, where that banishment does not exist or has been healed, the search can be short.
In houses and societies where there are still many wounds to heal, people seek their identity from the gaze and perception of others. Social acceptance becomes the only form of belonging, depending on the values of that society. It depends whether the distance between each of us and our reflection is an abyss or if we can, as in the stories, take a step within our reflection to discover a universe in which we are all united.