This has been a very difficult entry to write because my sense of self has undergone a significant transformation over the past few years through reading, reflection, and realization, and I am quite certain that I am nowhere near finished because life itself is comprised of continual change. . After several attempts to express my present understanding, I have discovered that conveying this process in this brief format is quite challenging.
For years, I, like most people in western civilization, viewed my body as “me”. I saw myself as a separate and distinct entity defined by the limits of my physical being. Though I had genuine concern for others, I viewed all events, relations, activities, possessions, etc. as they pertained to me, my desires, goals, and well-being. However, as I have considered the teachings of eastern philosophy and explored current scientific cosmology, my perspective has changed dramatically.
In light of the fact that our natural perceptions do not accurately reflect reality (as I presented in my posting Is Perception Reality), I now believe that the Hindu/Buddhist teaching regarding duality is quite accurate. Our sense of individuality is an illusion. We are, in fact, interconnected with everything in the material world through an energetic and conscious source. The challenge is to embrace this reality and nurture this realization on a conscious level.
For me, it is necessary to deliberately rethink old concepts. For example, several years ago I learned that the elements that comprise the world around us were forged in a star billions of years ago. That is a concept that I have to revisit periodically. As I consider the things around me, I contemplate the fact that it all is stardust and once existed in the midst of a thermonuclear fusion reaction. The fact that that awareness does not present itself automatically does not detract from the reality of the situation.
I go through a similar process regarding the identification of myself with my body. I look at my hands, arms, torso, etc., and my natural tendency is to think of it as “me”. In one sense “I” am 60+ years old. However, the cells of my body are continually dying and being replaced. Consequently, almost every cell in my body is probably less than 10 years old. Furthermore, the elements that make up the atoms that comprise my body are over 14 billion years old. Am I my body? No. I am viewing the material world through this life form at this point in time and space, but it is not me. For thousands of years, the sages have been pondering this very issue, “Who is it behind my eyes that is asking the questions?”
I happen to believe that God, the universal consciousness, energizes every living thing and is the self behind the eyes. Similarly, many people believe that the universe is becoming progressively aware of itself through evolving consciousness in the material world. If this is true, the implications are enormous. It means that there is no “me”, only “we”. It means that we are all part of one another and what we do to others, we, in fact, are doing to ourselves. Oddly enough, that is precisely the message that has been presented to us through various religions for thousands of years.
This is just one more aspect of reality that does not reveal itself naturally. However, I have discovered that as I ponder this concept, I am developing an ever increasing sense of connection with others. At times, I really do have an awareness of being one with them whether they share this perspective or not. It has given a whole new meaning to what Jesus may have meant when he said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Does this mean that I think I am God? Is a wave the ocean? Is a leaf the tree? Is one brain cell my entire body? I believe that I am an aspect of God, but that is all. However, through prayer or meditation I have access to the entirety of God and can become all that I am designed to be, fulfilling my purpose whatever that may be.
There are 10 clips associated with this video. I would recommed viewing them all.