Perhaps the deepest reason why we are afraid of death is because we do not know who we are. We believe in a personal, unique, and separate identity; but if we dare to examine it, we find that this identity depends entirely on an endless collection of things to prop it up… without our familiar props, we are faced with just ourselves, a person we do not know, an unnerving stranger with whom we have been living all the time but we never really wanted to meet. Isn’t that why we have tried to fill every moment of time with noise and activity, however boring or trivial, to ensure that we are never left in silence with this stranger on our own?
Buckle up, kids. I’ve had a bit of a break from some of my more mentally intense pursuits and I’m feeling revived and ready to go hard in the paint with some of the bigger conversations I’ve been having with the universe. I’ve had zero people to discuss these things with except my pen and paper for the most part, so I’d love to hear your feedback.
Earlier, I was listening to Jessamyn Stanley’s Instagram stories and she was addressing a question from one of her yoga followers. (If you don’t know who Jessamyn Stanley is, and you are even remotely interested in yoga, follow her and The Underbelly Yoga. This is some TRUTH.) I had already read my Zen Thought for the day and was contemplating it when I watched this story. I told you, this calendar is freakishly in tune some days. The question was:
“How can we balance out the idea of ‘we are one’ but there is the reality of races and gender identity that need to be acknowledged? Can thinking ‘we are all One’ dismiss the perspective of those things?”
I have been wrestling with this for weeks, this feeling of universal connection and then intensely feeling my unique individuality, since talking with my friend Jim about duality. Jessamyn’s comments were focused on the yogic way of looking at reality. We have a physical reality, which is our gender, ethnicity, nationality, hair color, taste in music, etc. That identity exists in physical reality and we can plainly see that we are not all the same. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t come from the same point of origin and will return to that same origin. Our births into this physical reality were completely luck of the draw. You could have been anyone. And this is why having compassion and gratitude is SO SO SO important, not just for each other, but for ourselves.
When we don’t practice compassion, it’s easy to see and reject the differences between us. But, when we go into it knowing that we all came from the same place, the same Oneness, and remember that you could have been ‘them’ it is far easier to feel compassion for other people and their physical realities and perspectives. It’s also easier to have gratitude for where you are and what you are when you consider the cosmic odds. As such, all people’s perspectives are valid, even the ones we don’t understand, innerstand, tolerate, or like. (Like Trump supporters… even their perspective is valid because it is the truth to them. I don’t get it, I really don’t, but I get that some people are living their truth and that includes supporting Trump. Mindblowing.)
So, Jessamyn came at this as a yogi. Yoga means unity. Unity between all our koshas: physical, energetic, mental, intellectual, and Anadamaya (love/bliss/peace/innermost) brings us into a state of total health. When I think of a perfect world, I don’t think of everyone being the same, except in this way of being perfectly balanced within themselves. Removing the separations within ourselves, internalized negative emotions and egoic mind controls, leads us to deeper compassion for ourselves and others. Removing those separations allows us to more clearly feel that we truly are all One.
Good stuff in the universe right now, y’all. Real good stuff.