What do we most fundamentally take ourselves to be? And how does this influence how we see others and the world?
TAKING OURSELVES AS MOST FUNDAMENTALLY THIS HUMAN BEING
If we take ourselves to most fundamentally be this physical human being, an object in the world, a few things happen. We become object-focused. We see others as fundamentally objects.
And anything else – including the space this human self and other objects happen within – becomes the background. It’s a kind of stage for everything to happen, and in itself not very interesting or important.
FINDING WHAT WE MORE FUNDAMENTALLY ARE IN OUR OWN FIRST-PERSON EXPERIENCE
If we find what we more fundamentally are in our own immediate noticing, then this background is revealed as what we more fundamentally are.
We are what all objects, and any content of experience, happen within and as.
Even more fundamentally, we are capacity for all of this. And this capacity may not even be anything we notice if we are more object-focused.
We can take ourselves to most fundamentally be an object in the world, or what the world to us happens within and as. And which one we function from profoundly shapes our perception and life in the world.
So what does it mean for how we see others and the world? And consciousness and oneness?
a. HOW WE SEE OTHERS
If we take ourselves most fundamentally to be an object in the world, we see others as the same. To us, objects are primary and anything else secondary.
If we notice what we are in our own first-person experience, this shifts.
When we see others, we know they likely are the same in their own first-person experience, whether they notice it or not. They are more fundamentally what the world, to them, happens within and as.
They are, most fundamentally, capacity for the world as it appears to them.
And the oneness they are may notice itself as oneness, or it’s identified as something within itself, as this human self, and everything else it is becomes a kind of background and “other”.
b. HOW WE SEE REALITY
I have already hinted at how this colors how we perceive reality.
If we take ourselves as most fundamentally an object, then the world mainly consists of objects to us. They become primary and anything else a background.
If we notice our more fundamental nature, then we also notice that the world to us happens within and as what we are. It’s like a dream to us in that it happens within and as consciousness.
To us, the most fundamental nature of reality appears as consciousness. (I say “appears as” since we cannot know how the word, in itself, is. We can only say something about how it appears to us. It’s not a given that our nature is also the nature of all of existence even if it appears that way to us.)
c. HOW WE SEE CONSCIOUSNESS
If we take ourselves to most fundamentally be an object in the world, then we may see consciousness as something we “have” as a kind of appendix. We may not even consider the relationship between ourselves and consciousness very much.
If we find ourselves as what our content of experience – this human self, the wider world, anything else – happens within and as, then we find ourselves as what a thought may label consciousness. To us, that’s what we are and the world happens within and as consciousness.
d. HOW WE SEE ONENESS
If we take ourselves as fundamentally an object then the world consists of innumerable larger and smaller objects. Any idea of oneness is understood only at a story level, or it’s seen as imagination and wishful thinking.
If we notice our nature more directly, then oneness is inevitable. To us, the world happens within and as what we are, and that gives oneness to it all. To ourselves, we are oneness and the world happens within and as this oneness.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO TAKE OURSELVES AS ONE OR THE OTHER?
What do I mean when I say “take ourselves most fundamentally as”?
I don’t mean our intellectual worldview. That doesn’t matter so much.
This is more about where our metaphorical center of gravity is located.
Is it located in ideas of being a separate self? And does our human self mostly operate from separation consciousness?
Or is it located in a direct noticing of our nature? And how much of our human self and psyche is aligned with this noticing? Does our human self largely operate from oneness?
When we notice our nature and keep noticing it and exploring how to live from it, our center of gravity gradually shifts more towards operating from oneness. And in this process, it will wobble a bit and shift in one or the other direction depending on the situation and what’s activated in us.Read More