Look around the world right now, or even into our own neighbourhoods and everywhere we’ll see examples of our sense of separateness.
Where does our sense of separateness come from?
Am I really so different from you?
Science tells us we are made up of different kinds and combinations of the same matter.
And by ‘we’ I mean you, me, the garbage man, next-door’s dog and the tomatoes at the market. Yes – we may be made up of more kinds of stuff than the tomatoes at the market, but it’s the same kind of stuff nonetheless.
No need to get all ‘science-y’ about our similarities though is there? It’s perfectly obvious.
Take a look at your neighbour – arms, legs, a bunch of fingers and toes? Some hair on top?
Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck… probably IS a duck right?
We have so much in common with everything outside of us, like requiring oxygen and sunlight and water – exactly the same as those tomatoes.
Yet for some reason, we don’t believe our eyes.
Right there before our eyes, appear endless similarities with what we tell ourselves is ‘other’.
Yet we don’t believe our eyes.
Why do we hold onto this pervasive sense of ‘other’, so powerful it overrides the proof that’s right there before our eyes?
Why do we hold onto this sense of separateness from everything outside of us?
I agree with the answer my friend Andrew Gross suggests – that we’ve created a world separate from us, a world filled to the brim with ‘other’ because we’ve created the belief that the world is dangerous. Yes – this belief may have been created when we were young and didn’t know any better. This belief even felt like it was based in fact. But as we’ve grown, we’ve continued to believe that keeping a sense of separateness will protect us from this perceived danger.
Yes – there is danger in the world. And we are precious, quite fragile little creatures.
Going skydiving or mountain climbing or racing fast cars makes things more dangerous, but that’s not the kind of danger we are worried about is it? We are worried about being hurt, rejected, left out, not good enough. In order to avoid this hurt and make ourselves feel safe in this dangerous world, we have made up lots of stories about who we are, where we fit, what our life is for and who should be in it and how our relationships should go with those people.
We’ve made up story, upon story, upon story about how we aren’t enough just as we are because ‘those others’ said so and rejected us – in the days when the sandpit was our whole world mind you! Or maybe they didn’t even say so? Maybe our perception of events and what we told ourselves it all meant was all we based our belief upon?
All this childlike perception is total fantasy.
False Evidence Appearing Real = F.E.A.R.
We interact with life and people and then proceed to tell ourselves what happened and what everything meant – IN OUR HEADS – instead of just using our eyes and ears and taking in the facts. Too often perceiving those ‘others over there’, separate from us, as the cause of our pain, confusion and hurt.
I fall about the place laughing at the thought of myself pursuing this flight of fancy.
How insane of me to go to all this bother to keep myself safe from a world of perceived danger, when everyday I am walking toward death?!
Seems a tad foolish now doesn’t it? Keeping our sense of separateness; keeping those ‘others’ over there to avoid the hurt of not being accepted or having our hearts broken?
Keeping ourselves safe, when all the while THE clock of clocks is ticking?!
Not only is this absurd safety strategy completely nuts, our sense of separateness is actually achieving the opposite of its intention. Our sense of separateness is actually putting our health in danger.
Studies now show that loneliness is becoming a new public health challenge, not only in the context of increased suicide rates and mental health issues like depression, but also in other surprising areas of our health, like cardiovascular and cognitive health.
“The studies concluded that social isolation, loneliness or living alone posed risks for premature death that were as big as or bigger than obesity, smoking (less than 15 cigarettes a day) and air pollution”.
~ Julianne Holt-Lunstad
Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Brigham Young University in Utah, USA.
Loneliness is an internal and personal expression of our sense of separateness and is often well hidden by those individuals experiencing it. But right now in the United States we have a very external and obvious example of our sense of separateness. This social unrest has been triggered and exacerbated by lots of factors yes – but drill down to the source and we find our sense of separateness, letting us down.
Am I really so different from you?
As I wind up my first week of providing entry point Covid19 Screening for a multinational company in Melbourne’s CBD, I am reflecting on my week of work ‘out in the public’. How has it felt to be back out there, mingling and talking with strangers and possible Covid19 carriers?
I will tell you, it’s been fabulous actually.
A spring has returned to my step and a twinkle into my eye. And you know why?
Well like most things, it’s a bit of column A and a bit of column B. But the main reason for my bright and joyous feeling this week is being back connecting directly and in person with other Human Beings. We are so interesting! I have really missed that one-on-one interaction.
And because these days I am actively training myself to notice where and when I feel separate from others and am working daily to change that sense of separateness, I realise by smiling and greeting these strangers warmly, I am smiling and greeting myself warmly. And that’s exactly how it feels for me too!
Because I am them.
And they are me.
By holding this sense of oneness and sharing in our Humanity, I find myself noticing the sameness, the similarities, instead of the separateness and otherness.
I see me in them.
And after four days, they are opening up to me and this tells me they are seeing themselves in me too.
So instead of focusing on the differences, let’s look at the similarities shall we?
Let’s use our eyes and look at the facts.
And the fact is, we are all one.
Of this Earth.
Made of the same stuff – you and me and those tomatoes.
Let’s embrace the joy of true, authentic connection by creating a sense of oneness.
While we still have time.
Because we are all dying.
There’s absolutely no point in protecting ourselves from the false danger of ‘other’ when to do so means not really living.
There is no protection from death.
Living our lives fully is all we really have.
So let’s just get on with it – together.
LOVE Rachel x
Your Life Changing Coach
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