You and Me
“In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence.” ~ Kahlil Gibran
I don't remember precisely when it began. I couldn't have been more than a pre-schooler. The unmistakable notion that there was something I felt in the way I experienced "me" that was different from the me you said you were, than the "you", you said I was.
I recognized that being in my own mind, in my own body, felt unique and separate from what everyone else was professing their "me-ness" to be. Obviously, I knew physically that in my body I was an individual person, part of the human race, that we were all alike, etc., but what I'm saying is that I understood fundamentally that my experience was uniquely different. One of my older brothers would joke with me that no, I was "you" and he was "me", but I knew better. I remember asking myself, did he feel the same separateness, the same individualized from-me-to-others point of view that I felt?
At some point, I had nightmares, where I would wake up calling for my Mom or Dad. A story is told where one of them came in and I screamed louder, thinking he or she was some kind of monster (this is where my actual memory merges with the story that has been told to me by my family; although that part doesn't matter to the thought cloud I'm describing). The dreams had to do with being observed by other beings, as if I were separate and different from others, and on display, much like the character on The Truman Show. I was astounded when that movie came out, by the way, since that resembled the types of dreams I would have - where everyone was watching me, observing my movements, laughing at me or in some manner making me feel embarrassed. I know this is related to my being the youngest of four boys, since my reality was a little bit like that - since I was surrounded by family who thought whatever I did or said was cute, silly, or whatever. Birth order stuff.
But what of this sense of you vs. me? That I am a unique entity, capable of making my own choices, able to discern meaning both independently and inter-dependently with others. That at some point I will be in this present body no more, and you will no longer be in yours.
I'm not making a religious or belief-centered discourse here - there are far too many people trying to spoon-feed those to us. This is about looking inward and understanding my individually unique life experience, connecting it with yours, and seeing if you have thoughts and observations of a like nature.
Breathe with me.
“Perhaps the most terrible (or wonderful) thing that can happen to an imaginative youth, aside from the curse (or blessing) of imagination itself, is to be exposed without preparation to the life outside his or her own sphere - the sudden revelation that there is a there out there.” ~ Tom Robbins
Our core nature
You and I exist on parallel journeys. I assume what you see as “red” is the same as what I see as “red”, though whether it is or isn't doesn't really matter. As long as our inter-dependency on our perception of “red” patterns itself out in a way that gets you where you want to go, and me where I want to go, all’s well.
This may not seem like an important discussion. The truly important issues are seldom obvious on their face. The fact that I experienced thoughts of uniqueness at an early age just reminds me that a knowledge of this understanding is inherent; each of us is born with it. As life goes on and we learn how to cohabitate in this world with others, we learn to adapt, to compromise, to redefine ourselves and our roles as interdependent beings through our work, our relationships, families, etc. But at core, we are uniquely thinking, creating, discerning individuals who have the ability to exist and make choices all by ourselves. We know this. Yet so many of us surrender to a common will, to accommodate others, to show off to others, or for a myriad of other reasons.
While necessary to accept the need for interdependence (I mean if we all got to define what stopping at a red light meant existentially, we'd all crash into each other!), I think it's important for each of us to sit quietly and realize our me-ness, feel what is real and meaningful to us, and act on the core nature of our being. I think the highest qualities of human resilience and love are found there.
“It's enough for me to be sure that you and I exist at this moment.” ~ Gabriel García Márquez
The ego battle
“Life begins on the other side of despair.” ~ Jean-Paul Sartre
I find it interesting how we as individuals define ourselves. We identify with things that we think have value; we impose our views, our objectives on the world, and get frustrated whenever things don't go our way. Of course, correlated with that is that we get frustrated when we feel the energy of someone else trying to impose their will on us, so we engage in a battle, which exhausts both our energy and ours, and bears no fruit whatsoever.
In my observation, the world doesn't want to remember you. I know that sounds harsh, but when you think about it, who from history is remembered? Very few people. And when they are, it is seldom because they wanted to be remembered. A person's legacy is largely outside their control, because it is defined by others. Which means, we identify with a thing - pushing our agenda forward - that seldom bears fruit.
So why do we do it? We believe bad information. We identify with what we do and who we think we are. We believe that touchy little fucker called ego is actually us, when it's not. It's that bully who wants to intimidate us and try to make us do things that are not good for us, or for anyone, for that matter.
Who I am is undefinable. I presume so with you, but I am not you. My experience here could be completely unique, because it's all I truly know. Perhaps you are experiencing the same unique understanding of your "me", your true nature, as I do.
So here's the issue: I think my true "me" and your true "me" needs to be listened to, accessed for answers, and respected as the true source of discernment, perspective and decision-making. Anything that gets you "hooked" with a visceral reaction of anger, hate, pride or selfishness is ego talking. Not you. It's external BS infecting reality, driven by bad information.
“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” ~ Lao Tzu
I think, therefore ...
“To be, or not to be: that is the question.." ~ William Shakespeare
There is a beauty and perfection in the wonderment of existence that is our life experience right now. Last night, the wind and rain slashed through the night air, slapping against the windows, the house creaking and shuttering from its force. Here in the morning, the pelting has stopped and the clouds just parted, allowing the sun to peek through and illuminate the landscape with all of its sparkling brilliance – rippling river water churning, while swarms of birds dance in swirling patterns against the cloudy sky. I feel the warmth of the fire beside me, the elegance of a Chopin piano concerto fluttering through the radio.
Descartes said “I think, therefore I am.” I imagine, and ponder. I assimilate and discern.
Does it mean anything? Is there a unique aspect to my knowledge of self, or are we just all just jellyfish pulsating our fragile bodies through the water in search for sustenance?
We live in moments, each of us. Wanting, striving, living and breathing.
Me and you. You and me.
We smile. We hurt. We love. We cry. We live.
We are here now. Only for awhile, and yet forever.
The world isn’t changing.
I am. You are.
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl