Are We Really that Different?

    There is so much us/them good vs evil talk flying around. Have you noticed? It’s hard to escape or ignore. This sort of dogma is limited in its thinking, arrogant and divisive.  Those who subscribe to this mindset believe that “we” are right and “they” are wrong.  So, who is right? Do you see the problem here? 

    Sure, it is important to have your opinions, to know your values and what matters to you in the scope of your world. Yet this kind of righteous zeal is rampant and exclusive, prohibiting any kind of synergy or harmony. This mindset is what causes war, right? You don’t have to agree with the opinion of others but please, for the sake of humanity, soften the focus of your beliefs in order to make room for others to exist in the same space. Who knows, you may even learn something new. At the very least, you will be contributing to a world of more harmony and less strife.

    I’m reading the book LSD and the Mind of the Universe: Diamonds from Heaven by Christopher M. Bache, a professor emeritus in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Youngstown State University. The author documents his experiences and revelations during 73 psychedelic journeys. 

    Early in the book he summarizes the overall premise that he experienced… the premise of oneness.  You hear new age people say “we are all one”, “we are all connected” and may wonder what in the world does that babble even mean?  It’s such an abstract concept especially when you consider how different we are.  It was too out there, even for me and you know how out there I can be! Admittedly, I used to do a mental eye roll when I’d hear this. Puhleeeze!

    But when I read Dr. Bache’s words, I was transported.  I literally had a moment where I lifted out of this dense third dimensional reality of earth, life, people etc and tapped into the Oneness that he described.  To paraphrase, he describes it as one unit breathing together… every atom, molecule, human, plant, everything… breathing together as part of a divine being/source of “unimaginable compassion, clarity and spiritual power”. When I was able to tap into that I was filled with an overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility. It was humbling and I felt insignificant. It made me realize how small and trivial the “stuff” of life really is.

    Ok I know I’m getting weird here but indulge me.  Think about this for a moment.  If everything is energy, as Einstein discovered, then all energy is connected. It’s not the same frequency but it is all energy. It’s not the same but it is all connected. So yes, we are all connected in a vast realm of oneness. Does that make sense?  Feel your way through that a little. Maybe you have experienced this yourself in your own practice.  Or go ahead and do a mental eye roll. I won’t judge!

    So, let’s bring it back to our earth reality now… Of course, we have our differences. There are the typical differences: cultural, religious, political, socio economic. Then there are the experiential differences: preferences, available rights and opportunities, lifestyle, interests, education, career, family unit and the like. Therefore, we are not the same in this regard. However, we are similar in the sense that we all seek to meet our basic needs.

    According to Maslow hierarchy of needs, we are motivated to fulfill needs according to a ranking of importance.  While the ranking can vary from person to person, the needs are universal. 

    The needs in order of his pyramid are as follows:

    • Physiological: food, water, breathing, homeostasis
    • Security and Safety: Financial security, health and wellness, safety against accidents and injury
    • Social needs: friendships, romantic attachments, family, social groups, community groups, churches and religious organizations
    • Esteem: need for appreciation and respect
    • Self-actualization: to achieve one’s full human potential 

    If we can see life through this lens, we would be much more understanding and patient with people and their views, their hardships and behaviors. Sure, there are bad people out there, people who cause harm to others without remorse. But most of us humans are simply bumping into each other as we try to meet our basic needs for ourselves and our loved ones. Every single one of us. As you acknowledge those similarities and create more harmony and less strife, it makes it easier for all of us to meet our needs. We would be working more together towards a common goal instead of fighting battles with each other.  Oh, what a world that would be! Not to mention way more enjoyable.


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