“You are one with the universe” — we’ve heard this phrase. But what does this really mean?
If this is the truth in a literal sense, why do we have our own bodies and minds that are separate from others? Shouldn’t we easily feel connected to others, and without a doubt, realize that others are a part of us?
This separation and lack of unadulterated connection with everyone and everything else are fueled by our mind’s conceptual versions of ourselves.
This conceptual version of “self” splits who we think we are from others.
Our sense of identity is derived from what we think of ourselves in comparison to something else, through the filter of differences and separateness.
For instance, our default thinking such as “I am human and the other being is a fish” characterizes our separateness from a fish. Thoughts such as “humans survive on land and fish live under water” highlight the differences between the two species.
Other descriptions of fish vs. humans further underline the separateness and differences between the two species. It also feeds our conceptual identity of who we think we are compared to the fish.
The separateness and differences between fish and humans may seem obvious and not just conceptual. But is it really?
Just imagine if you were still a baby and your mind has not yet learned to attach labels to differentiate yourself from everything else. As a baby, your experience of the fish would be different, as your mind would be free of concepts.
As adults, we mostly live in a world of concepts during our waking hours, with labels to distinguish one being from another and one thing from another.
This conceptual world feels real because we often don’t question it enough, if at all.
Will dismantling such concepts help us to experience oneness with everyone and everything else? If being one with the universe is truth, how do we experience such truth?
Here’s an exercise called “I without Me” to help you momentarily dismantle your conceptual world to find out the answer for yourself.
This exercise is easy and it’ll take less than a minute to experience life without the veil of concepts.
Exercise — I without Me
Close your eyes for a few seconds. Imagine yourself WITHOUT your “self” as you know it.
This “self” includes your entire identity, such as nationality, gender, age, socio-economic status, your body, your past, your goals, and even your values.
In other words, imagine that [insert your name] didn’t exist.
Open your eyes. Continue to imagine that you don’t know that you have a body or a mind.
In this state, imagine that you cannot even comprehend or conceptualize what a body is. You cannot understand or relate to your thoughts. You cannot identify with your thoughts or with the concept of your “self.”
It’s as if all your memories are gone — poof! Just like when you burst a bubble!
As you do this exercise, every time you remember your “self” or become aware of your body and thoughts, just burst your “bubble of self” repeatedly.
Without your body and mind, what do you experience? Where do you begin and where do you end?
Make this exercise more effective
The experiences are more profound when you do this exercise outdoors in nature.
You don’t need to be in any particular mental-emotional state to do this exercise. You’ll feel the effects of this exercise in a minute or less.
However, if you want to prolong the effects, you can continue to burst your “bubble of self” as long as you want and as many times as you like.
For further details of this exercise and other easy exercises to help you experience peace and discover insights outside the limited constraints of your mind, sign up for the free e-book I without Me: For your journey within & without.
Featured photo on top by Josealbafotos on Pixabay.com
Originally published at Medium on 27 March 2019