Enjoying the 10,000 Universes
When we walk into a room with 100 people in it, truly, we have walked into a room with 100 completely different Universes. Even if everyone there is part of the same club. Sure, if we ask around, we’ll probably find about half agree that the greatest classic rock song ever was “Stairway To Heaven.” We might find as much as 30% like-minded palates who insist that chocolate is the best ‘treat’ flavor. And we may get a whopping 90% alignment from the other parents in the room that spanking or striking a child is simply wrong.
But as we press a little deeper into their personalities, preferences, lifestyles and nuances, we quickly get the feeling that, “Everyone seems to see things so differently than I do!”
I made a special effort, at all the small-to-large gatherings I participated in last year, to inquire deeply with as many others as I could. At parties, conferences, and spiritual gatherings, I asked, not just how old are you, where did you grow up, how many children, what do you do for work, what’s your favorite music, etc, but also how do you see the world, life’s purpose, achievement and success, death? What really matters in relationships, what does love mean to you. What’s the point of living & acquiring all sorts of things and experiences, when we just have to give it all up after less than 100 years, sometimes well less?
The clear conclusion that materialized, over & over again, was that each one of us is our own little universe, walking around in a life & world we see as no one else sees it. I found that, beyond the general similarities, even friends and spouses who consider themselves very like-minded and have known each other for a lifetime, when pressed, had so many disparities and unique angles on how they experienced the world and interpreted what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s really important and what’s not at all important, what it all means or whether we should even bother examining what it all means. Even identical twins!
From the perspective of an Awakened soul, this makes total sense. These body-mind-personalities are just a dream, an illusion, they don’t even really exist; all that exists is Awareness, and if that Awareness seems to have manifested billions of beings through which it can ‘experience Itself,’ why would it bother making any exact copies? Each rock, tree and human is a chance to experience existence in a slightly different way.
What’s interesting is how disturbed or annoyed we may get by others who experience the world quite differently. We pass intense judgements on those ‘others’ – those Republicans or Democrats, those young whipper-snappers or old geezers, those rich or poor, selfless or greedy, radiantly healthy or chronically ill. We cliquishly avoid all those we don’t consider like-minded peers, only fraternizing with other “hipsters” or “Fundamentalists” or “spiritual seekers.” Even within our significantly narrowed-down party list, the chasms can be vast, striking…and sometimes even lead to striking, if the conversation reveals another’s obvious “ignorance” about life or their totally “wrong-headed” political viewpoint. I’ve been at friendly parties where two or three lifelong bosom buddies were nearly coming to blows…”Are you crazy!? How can you possibly see things that way??”
So it is worth examining why so many people get so uncomfortable around others who’s skin, politics, parenting, tastes or worldview shows them to look, act and think very differently from ourselves.
Once again, on the Absolute level, there is only One. There are no billions of separate beings. It’s all Spirit and all One, and fighting with another person who holds different values from yourself is like using your own right foot to keep stepping on and inflicting pain on your left one. On a more worldly level, where we see ourselves and each other a separate beings, there’s only one reason for feeling uncomfortable or concerned with the 10,000 universes, instead of delighting in them: fear. We see all these different outlooks as a potential threat to our “survival.” If Tom or Marian or some particular sage you just read says, “No, you’ve got it all wrong, this is the right way to see things,” you start to worry that maybe you’ve ‘got it wrong,’ you’re ‘doing life wrong,’ and as such, you could end up going down the ‘wrong’ track,’ outcast, abandoned, or maybe even dead. You might miss all the best opportunities, the ‘life well spent,’ or even the perfect formula for getting enlightened. Getting people’s explicit agreement proves that we, too, are also “right,” which makes us feel secure and “in control” of our lives.
When you identify yourself as a separate Jiva, it’s very difficult to sit across from others and just take in everything they express, every difference in taste and choices, with total enjoyment and discovery, even when some of their viewpoints seem pretty bizarre to you. A friend of mine passed a homeless man on a local street, and decided to give him $20 and sit with him for awhile. He listened while the man carried on incoherently for awhile – all kinds of concerns about parasites and invading spaceships, and very little cogent sense useful in the ‘real’ world. But my friend felt a Oneness with this individual, and as he patiently, without judgment, absorbed all this wandering soul spouted, he found a common ground where he deeply understood everything this man expressed and where he was coming from, and how ultimately, they both were looking for the same answers and truths in life. From this, he was able to have a thoroughly enjoyable and beneficial exchange with him. Moreover, he was able to experience deep wonder and delight in this ‘other version of himself’s’ uniquely different vision and ‘take’ on life, and walk away deeply enriched by the experience.
We are all aspects of the same One, the same Awareness, living out the playfulness of the 10,000 experiences. We are the otters of the Universe; no gets hurt, no one ‘dies,’ and through us, Consciousness gets to experience anything & everything: birth, death, good times, challenges, successes and failures, growth and love, always love for it all. Enjoy all of it with a childlike view of wonder, and never worry, even if you cannot find even one other who experiences it as you do. It’s your universe, to create, live and add to the bounty, however the True You sees fit!