The human brain really likes to categorize, divide, assume, box-in, make judgments, stereotype and carry prejudices into the future interactions. This is our friend EGO, who helps us navigate the world in a safe way. Thank you Ego, but I can take it from here…. As children, we built an ego that perceived and functioned OK in the world. As we evolve and grow, we can expand and refine the way we relate to the world. Some people call this raising our vibration/consciousness.
So, the challenge is to see the world in a transpersonal, or less personalized/more expansive way. Really consider the perspective gained by respecting other people, species, lifeforms, and ways of being. Also, consider that you yourself are more than your personality, body, culture, history, knowledge, status, material possessions, etc. It can be comforting to accept that there is, “more out there…” but also unsettling. There is comfort in keeping the world small. It can be reassuring to be an “Us” that is against the “Them.” Us against the police… us against liberals, us against those polluting the environment, us against criminals, us against the rich 3%, us against “the man, us against China, us against china, us against getting our rights taken, etcetera” When we become entrenched in this pattern there can be not harmony, flow and healing. So… do you want to be comfortable and limit your life? Or uncomfortable and grow as a person? Don’t worry about challenging the world, challenge yourself. Be true to who you are, work for what you believe is right and allow other people to experience life at their own pace. When we judge others and their progress, we are judging the parts of ourselves that are still evolving. Last year that struggle could have been your own. “Keep it on the I.” But also realize the “I” is a part of the “we”.
In this fast-paced world we can become desensitized to anyone that is too different or in a role. We see an elder Latino person, a hot woman, a trans teen, a grocery attendant. Really try to be present to the people around you rather than seeing them as representations of reality. Notice who people are. We continually separate ourselves from others and objectify them by labeling them. When we are working we see people as: clients, patients, students, customers, etc. When we are out in the world we label people as: doctors, teachers, police, servers, workers, salespeople. When we get to know someone well, we are less likely to see them by their outward appearance and roles that they fulfill. We instead relate to them as a person.
We need to train our ego to humanize the people around us and respect life.
Ram Dass says the following about accepting people for who they are, without an agenda to change them or being critical.
That when you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.
The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying “You’re too this, or I’m too this.” That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.
The most amazing people are not on the TV, in a magazine or living in posh suburbs in exotic locales. The every day people living in your community, who are experiencing their lives in a raw and real way, are the most interesting. Pay attention. Connect. True power is sinking into your unique being then connecting in a meaningful way to those around you.