Is there really a “me” and a “you”? Are we really that different?
Of course, our parents gave us names, we’re skilled at different things, we have personality traits and life stories. But are these things actually who we are, or are they experiences that we have and labels we give to these experiences?
How unique are we really?
Although our experiences are unique, there is something to be said about how “unique” we actually are as people. Some people may read this and think it sounds a little depressing, as we have spent our whole lives trying to build up an identity that makes us feel good about ourselves. This makes us feel like we have a place to belong in this chaotic, competitive planet.
To many, the idea of letting go of your identity is somewhat close to death – a death of all of the bits and pieces of yourself you have built together and worked so hard for.
The true essence of love
Yet, when you do not attach meaning to the experiences that you have, (read "To experience is the only meaning of life") you will notice that a rather peculiar sensation begins to arise. This sensation is hard to describe, but it is close to complete peace, balance and an inner connection to everything that is around you. A feeling of deep oneness. You could even describe this feeling as the true essence of love.
This is a feeling that everyone wants to feel. It’s the feeling that we all crave and chase. Yet this feeling only arises when we are no longer caught up in the illusion of chasing it and feeling separate from our experiences and from other people.
Relax, everything is just "happening"
Let’s look at this another way. If you were to look out at a beautiful countryside landscape on a spring afternoon and see a flock of sheep, you would not stare at one particular sheep and say: “Wow, look at that. There is the whole world, and there is that sheep over there!”
Contemplating this, it is clear that this idea is completely absurd. For the whole flock, along with the grass, the trees, the hills and the streams are all part of the same landscape. It is a “happening”. An experience that is just minding its own business.
Yet humankind has appeared to have adopted this mentality of separation when it comes to ourselves. That there is the whole world, and there is us, trying to figure out the meaning behind it all and trying to fight to survive.
And still, we all know that there is something not right about the way we are living. Almost all of us go about our days with at least some sort of lingering, existential niggle that knows something is not right, and that there has to be a better way to live.
Whilst this confusion clouds our perception and we are distracted by all the noise, conflict and “meaning”, old mystics and ancient wisdom cracked the key a long time ago.
What is non-duality?
At the heart of ancient, particularly Eastern wisdom and philosophy is non-duality. Non duality is essentially the human experience of oneness. It is the idea that nothing is separate, and that everything exists as one, harmonious ecosystem. Whilst there are lots of people who are turned off by anything “spiritual” or “mystical”, non-duality is actually rooted in a lot of logic. When applied to your life, whether you fully understand it or not, you will notice the benefits in terms of inner peace, and what could matter more than that?
Truth is, we are not separate from each other or the rest of the world around us. We are not a product of the world, or in the world so to speak, but we ARE the world, experiencing itself in all forms – just because it can.
In this same way, it is clear to see that black implies the existence of white, bad implies the existence of good, and chaos implies the existence of order. The very spectrum of polarities that exist in this world is what creates the space for a diverse range of experience, but the common denominator is that absolutely everything is experience.
The simplest truth
Every wave has a peak and a trough, but when we’re at the seaside we don’t go about complaining that we can only see the trough of a wave – we watch the entire wave in its wholeness, and enjoy observing the rhythm of the shore.
So when we can observe our experiences as part of ourselves, we also naturally notice that other people are part of our experience, too. Even though your perceptions may be different, you are both part of life expressing itself. When you realise this, all need to compete and compare can gently fall away.
So, despite appearances, when you get down to the core of what is real and true beyond subjectivity, you will notice that there really is no “me” and “you”… but there is always an us.