When you call me European, I say yes. When you call me Arab, I say yes. When you call me black, I say yes. When you call me white, I say yes. Because I am in you and you are in me. We have to inter-be with everything in the cosmos.– Thich Nhat Hanh
This can sound like a poetic expression or well-intentioned wishful thinking.
And if we look more closely, we may find something else. We may find it’s an accurate description of how it already is.
We share ancestry not just going back to the first cells but to the beginning of this universe. We share 99.9% of our genetic material.
We are basically the same, in all the essentials. We have the same basic needs, wants, fears, and so on.
If I have a story about you, and turn it around to myself, I can specific examples of how it’s true for me as well. I can find how it’s as or more true for me.
You are my mirror. You help me see myself. (If I allow it and notice.)
In this sense, you are me. What I see in you is what I know from myself, whether I notice or not.
WHAT I AM
My experience of you happens within my sense fields. If you are here, or I see a movie or picture of you, you happen within my sight and possibly touch, smell, and so on.
Whether you are here or not, you also happen within my mental field. You happen through my mental representations of you – my mental images, labels, memories, and stories.
I find I am capacity for you. You happen within and as my sense fields. You happen within and as what I am.
In this sense, you are me. You happen within and as what I am. And I am you. What I am takes the form of my experience of you.
I AM IN YOU AND YOU IN ME
In several ways, it’s true that you are in me and I am in you.
It’s true in a biological sense.
It’s true since you are my mirror. What I see in you is what I have in myself.
It’s true since my experience of you happens within and as what I am.
The question is: if I keep noticing this, and keep exploring it and seeing it’s undeniably so, what does it do to me? If I take this seriously, how do I live my life?