I’ve been thinking about how each person is a world unto themselves. We all have so much going on inside ourselves. So many emotions and thoughts. Each person has this complex landscape of activity going on inside their head. We live in an external world where all these inner worlds are interacting.
I have a world inside myself, you have a world inside yourself, and then we interact with each other. It’s like two iceberg tips passing by each other across a distance, neither one fully realizing the depth of the other.
People often try to find some path, some sort of universal truth that we can apply to ourselves and everyone else. Something where we can say, “this is the right way to live.” Yet how can any one person conceive and understand how all people should live? Ironically, as we begin to fully embrace our own individuality we begin to look for one path to truth that can accommodate all individuals. In the process of actualizing ourselves we don’t realize that others are similarly actualizing in an equally unique way. Each person has their own path to truth. By recognizing that on a collective level we can hold space for true individuality to emerge.
As individuals we are acutely aware of our personal perception of reality but less aware of our collective experience of reality. Is there a collective awareness that somehow functions as a sum of all individual experiences? And, if so, would it not make sense that there are aspects of our reality that we cannot fully understand purely from the basis of our individual awareness? How do we open ourselves up to tapping into this collective awareness and becoming more aware of our own true nature?
One bridge to bring these pieces together is deep listening and empathy. To allow yourself to truly feel the other person. To allow other people to change you. How often do we have conversations where we disagree with someone and automatically respond with our opinion? We don’t step back to listen deeply and aspire to understand the other person. We are consumed by the perspective of our own awareness. We try to change the other person, instead of letting the other person change us. If you can deepen your listening and come to a deeper place of understanding, you’ve been changed. In a sense you’ve tapped into a certain collective understanding by expanding yourself from your personal perspective. You’ve engaged in a real dialog instead of a debate. In this way, it’s not a matter of being right or wrong, it’s a matter of growth – learning from our common humanity.
There is the potential to recognize common humanity in every person. That crazy voice in your head, your insecurities, your fears, the things you suffer, all those things are in the other person as well. Your hopes and dreams, your desire to be recognized, to be loved, to be validated in some way or another, all of that is in the other person as well. The world that is me is not dissimilar from the world that is you. Your insecurities are likely not much different than mine. And if I seem different when you talk to me, well rest assured that you do too.