By Patrick Bridgeman
“I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.” ~ John Lennon
In my article entitled The Meaning of Life, I wrote about an experience I had many years ago of perceiving everything happening at once from a void beyond space and time. I was aware of how we are all one, how everything is valid, and how separation is just an illusion.
Then, a few years after that, I had another amazing experience in which, while perceiving from within my body, I could see that everybody shared one giant soul that enveloped us all. It was after receiving a darshan from Amma, the hugging saint, and it was as if I was seeing the world as she does, which I believe is part of her gift to us. If my experience is anything to go by, she doesn’t consider herself to be any better or worse than anyone else, but because she can see the truth of our oneness, it gives rise to the miraculous.
When we are born into the world of sensation, we develop an identification with our body and the unique point of perception it houses. As this identification is taking place, a simultaneous belief in separation develops – ‘I am this, not that’ – which continues to be affirmed for most, if not all, of our lives. This specific point of perception encourages certain beliefs about our self, the world and its inhabitants, and these beliefs, in turn, affect our perception.
Over time, a character begins to emerge – the protagonist in a unique story full of possibilities, choices and outcomes. We also make up stories about other characters and our relationship to them, giving them varying degrees of importance in relation to our own desires – just as we play roles of varying importance in the lives of others.
Your idea about you is not the same as anyone else’s idea about you, just as your idea about them is different than their own idea about themselves – even if you feel you know each other really well.
Conflict arises when your idea about something doesn’t match someone else’s idea about the same thing – be it an event, a person or a lifestyle choice – unless, of course, you agree to disagree or one of you convinces the other to change their mind.
We often merge our world with that of another by accepting their beliefs as our own (eg religion, mass hysteria), but we may never fully understand how someone else perceives a situation. When we agree with someone, we are agreeing with what we think they mean, not necessarily what they actually mean.
We may also stand firm in our own belief, even when it seems that everyone else disagrees (eg miracles, scientific breakthroughs). Your way of perceiving reality is as unique and beautiful as a snowflake and is an invaluable addition to the cocktail of life.
Eventually, we will all become aware of who we really are. If it doesn’t happen while you’re alive, it will happen the moment you die. Some incarnations, like Amma, retain that awareness in their day-to-day existence, and others, like me, have caught glimpses of it and are dying (or rather, ‘living’) to share these experiences with as many people as possible. My articles are aimed at helping those who read them to connect more clearly and completely with our true self, and so, I’ll leave you with my favourite definition of the word Namaste: ‘I honour the place in you in which the entire universe dwells. I honour the place in you which is of love, integrity, wisdom and peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are one.’
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