Awakin.org

Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

A Strange Predicament

--by Pavithra Mehta (May 18, 2015)


When I stop to consider the facts they astonish me.
There you are, couched in your own skin, and
Here I am in mine. No matter how close
We must each do our own living.
Your heart cannot be persuaded to pump my blood
My lungs will not consent to breathe for yours.
It is an odd arrangement.

Inside me, a mansion of memory and anticipation.
A place other people may visit, like a museum.
Inside you, a similar mansion, that I can visit
With your permission, gaze at pictures on the wall.
But only until closing time.

And is this not a strange predicament?
This seeming and inescapable individuality?
The hard shell of ‘I’ that we live inside,
Like soft-bodied sea creatures.
When did we choose this? On whose ill-advice?

How different the world would be
If we could waft through different identities
As easily as the wind inhabits the trees.

Then the woman selling flowers at the street corner would be me.
And the crumpled leaf of the half-blown rose in her bucket would be me. And the man reaching into his back pocket to pay for the bouquet – me. Me. Me. Me.

Then I would not be ‘I’ any more. And neither would you.
No not at all and never again.

Once out of the bottle no genie of sound mind
Ever chooses to return
To such cramped, uncom-
fortable quarters.

Pavithra Mehta is a poet, award-winning filmmaker and ‚Äčauthor, and ServiceSpace visionary. Her film and book "Infinite Vision," tell the improbable story of a crippled, retired eye surgeon who integrated innovation with empathy, service with business principles, and inner change with outer transformation.

Add Your Reflection:

Send me an email when another comment is posted on this passage.
Name: Email:

26 Previous Reflections:

 
On Dec 24, 2016 joni wrote:

 I is the core, me is the illusion.  I can never be manipulated, or changed.



On Dec 24, 2016 Maha wrote:

 1) Different Identities - I keep questioning who decides these and for what purpose. How can any being be different when one day we all leave? Still exploring what are those barriers which stop us from seeing the truth as it is and not as we want it to be.
2) I constantly question what i think, do, say or act. this way i may contradict what i said before, probably i can see/ understand things differently now. It is all perspective and i would like to explore all possible perspectives. Who knows there may be yet another way to see/do.
3) I question, juggle, find out, ask, LISTEN, evaluate ( limitation is my own knowledge to understand and experience ), and the best Meditate over it. If something is good for me and benefits others too i DO It. 



On Dec 24, 2016 Jay wrote:

A Haiku on Who I Am 

 I am a part of
All that is in existence...
Past, now, and future.

On Dec 24, 2016 Phyllis Solar wrote:

 



On Apr 29, 2016 wishyoupeace wrote:

 Absolutely beautiful!



On Mar 13, 2016 ankurnikkse wrote:

 



On May 26, 2015 Maalika wrote:

 This was pure poetry which touched me. Made me realize the fickle nature of our selfish desires.



On May 22, 2015 Usha wrote:

 Beautiful! 
 Seeing the little self (ego) trapped in a 'hard shell', closed to the limitless beauty just outside!
 Made my day today :-)



On May 22, 2015 navin sata wrote:

 when i decreses universal  one ness appears on horizon,then one can not love me and mine and you and yours.inner and outer are in oneness whole creation one family ,the word others does not exist,live laugh dance in that spirit .always unconditional love.n.n.c.



On May 22, 2015 Anonymous wrote:

I think this article/poem was not just thought provoking but a real masterpiece and scholarly. The author has so much talent and should keep on writing and keep sharing with people.   The predicament is about “seeming and inescapable individuality”. I think our individuality results from our “perceived self”. Individuality or perceived self results from our own perceptions and perceptions of others as to who we are and about the world around us. Our perceptions are usually limited by our observations of physical and material world around us. We tend to not go deeper as you did in your article. Many of us are not even capable of.    I think if we get out of or get rid of our perceived self, we can be one with “all”. “All” here is not limited to all human beings or even all living beings. It includes all in nature. The flowers, the trees, the sky, the stars, all that makes up mother earth. There is no limit, the  See full.

I think this article/poem was not just thought provoking but a real masterpiece and scholarly. The author has so much talent and should keep on writing and keep sharing with people.

 
The predicament is about “seeming and inescapable individuality”. I think our individuality results from our “perceived self”. Individuality or perceived self results from our own perceptions and perceptions of others as to who we are and about the world around us. Our perceptions are usually limited by our observations of physical and material world around us. We tend to not go deeper as you did in your article. Many of us are not even capable of. 
 
I think if we get out of or get rid of our perceived self, we can be one with “all”. “All” here is not limited to all human beings or even all living beings. It includes all in nature. The flowers, the trees, the sky, the stars, all that makes up mother earth. There is no limit, there is no bottle to hold us in. 
 
I also think that perceived self results from ego that we all have. Once we get rid of our ego, it is easy to be one with all. Our ego differentiates us from others. So, once we get rid of our ego, there is no difference. That is why our scriptures advise us to eliminate our ego. Eliminating ego helps us “surrender” – to God and also to “all”. Concept of surrender also brings humility and that is a prerequisite to getting rid of ego, which again helps us be with all. 
 
Finally, when did we choose this? The answer is when we “grew up”. We, as children, do not have these limitations of differentiations. As we grow, world starts influencing us and starts imposing limitations upon us. 
 
And on whose ill-advice? Obviously, material world that we live in and that influences us as we grow up (seemingly, of course). 
 
However, when we get down to the lower levels of reality of our world or the world that we live in, individuality is not always bad. It has its benefits. Perhaps, because of the world that we live in, with all its ills, individuality can be beneficial. It all depends on how we use or practice it. This is no different than technology. Lots of benefits when used judiciously. Individuality offers diversity, in views and in practicing life. No one can think comprehensively. So, group thinking provides diversity of views. That, I think, is the premise of Awakin Circles. It is a think tank. Different life styles and customs of different societies enrich our life and our experiences. 
 
Secondly, when tasks are complex, individuals with different knowledge and expertise can work together to accomplish complex tasks. That is teamwork. Complex tasks could not be accomplished without diversity that individuality provides. 
 
So, individuality, when practiced judiciously, can be very beneficial in the world we live in.
 
With love, for all, always

Hide full comment.

On May 21, 2015 Padma wrote:

 One of the best poems I have read in a long time. Thank you Pavi for this beautiful  piece .Helped me to dive deeper and helped me to tap into my real self , the self that is connected to every thing else.



On May 20, 2015 kunta wrote:

 So beautifully penned with a simple example on oneness!  What sadhana it takes to get into the skin of another identity?  When, we tangle in the game of deceiving ourselves of our own identity, how can we know identity of another?  Until we shed "I" the ego,  the attachment to our bodily success and failures, happiness and sorrow, we can not fathom the deep meaning of "I", the reason why we are who we are and how to menifest into who we should be.



On May 19, 2015 BH wrote:

 It takes such a long time to know ourselves (and do we ever really complete that process?) that imagining ourselves as other people would make the task of self-knowledge even more daunting.   The meaning of this plan of God's to make us physically separate, yet psychically unified is interesting.   The 'other' as stranger invites both curiosity and fear.  And does not knowledge of the 'other' help us know ourselves?  And does not increased knowledge of ourselves help us get closer to the 'other.'  Wise, wise God.



On May 19, 2015 Ashwin Desai wrote:

 A beautiful simple poem, yet such depth of meaning! Thank you for writing.



On May 19, 2015 Zoe wrote:

This kind of reminds me of a line in a Lenny Kravitz song where he sings, "I am one and you are me." What we see in ourselves we can easily see in others and what we see in others (if we're not in 'ego mode' and comparing ourselves) we may just as easily see in ourselves. 



On May 19, 2015 Micky wrote:

 This is absolutely true and so beautiful.  Thank you.



On May 19, 2015 Joseph Kloss wrote:

 Beautifully crafted. Prompts me to remember Tagore:
"He whom I enclose with my name is weeping in this dungeon."



On May 19, 2015 Leeann Atherton wrote:

 We are all expressions of God, thus we are ALL GOD. 



On May 19, 2015 ruby bedi wrote:

 I felt small and alone till one day I  suddenly woke up in a world where I was in all and all was in me. This was in 1992, pulled down the shutters to my businesses and started to support others find that same world in them. There are billions of faces on our planet and each one is me. Feel inspired and tickled to be part of this service world. Thank you Pavithra.    



On May 19, 2015 Mish wrote:

 Empathy/compassion enable this oneness I find.  Becoming the other. _/\_



On May 18, 2015 sam wrote:

 So well said Pavithra ! So much ,philosophy, knowledge, common ( or is it uncommon ) sense and.....But
after tasting everything on offer,we would come back to the original fit given by the Lord, as that would be the most deserved, and give heart-felt Gratitude to Him



On May 18, 2015 Poonam Virmani wrote:

 amazing insight, very well expressed:)) 



On May 18, 2015 Jgdish P Dave wrote:

 I know. No man is an island. We all are connected, branches of the same tree called The Tree of Life. However, most of us are taught and conditioned to create and live in an individualistic bubble. I am an individual physically. I have my own mind. I have my own personality, my own signature, my country, my religion and ME.When I operate with this perspective, my relating to me and to others who are very close to me have this I-and- You. It seems like the reality.There are moments in my life, when this unique and divisive separateness disappears and vanishes. This happens to me when I naturally and truly follow my heart. I feel one with me and with the other including nature. Where there is no TWO. There is  one flow of energy, the earth and the sky merging, no sense of duality, beyond subject and object.The bubble becomes the ocean.These are moments of awakening hard to express conceptually and verbally. This feels like the sound of silence. Is the firs  See full.

 I know. No man is an island. We all are connected, branches of the same tree called The Tree of Life. However, most of us are taught and conditioned to create and live in an individualistic bubble. I am an individual physically. I have my own mind. I have my own personality, my own signature, my country, my religion and ME.When I operate with this perspective, my relating to me and to others who are very close to me have this I-and- You. It seems like the reality.There are moments in my life, when this unique and divisive separateness disappears and vanishes. This happens to me when I naturally and truly follow my heart. I feel one with me and with the other including nature. Where there is no TWO. There is  one flow of energy, the earth and the sky merging, no sense of duality, beyond subject and object.The bubble becomes the ocean.These are moments of awakening hard to express conceptually and verbally. This feels like the sound of silence.

Is the first world of separation an illusion? I do not know. I know that it is transitory, like an ebb and flow, day and night, pleasure and pain.There is also another world- a world of oneness.How to live in the world of subject and object with the perspective of oneness is a challenge for me.And I accept it gracefully.

Namaste to all who live in the dualistic world knowing there is the real world that transcends the dividing boundaries and barriers. And we are blessed to have the awakened and enlightened beings who live in the world but not of the world.

Jagdish P Dave

Hide full comment.

On May 17, 2015 Sanjeev Verma wrote:

 Everyone is a spiritual being having a human experience- each experience is different.



On May 17, 2015 AJ wrote:

 This is pure and total GENIUS! 
AMAZED am I!  Thank you ( so much) for sharing your mind's eye!



On May 16, 2015 david doane wrote:

I love the question as to what comes up for me as I contemplate the ability to waft through different identities.  What comes up for me is that we are separate and we are one, individual and together, not one and not two but one and two and neither one nor two.  I resonate to those statements and they go beyond my comprehension.  They reveal the mystery that we are and that we live in.  Yes, I am I, apparently separate from you, couched in my skin, with my heart pumping my blood and not yours, and yet I know that at a deep level I and you are one, are different expressions of one spirit.  The cells in my feet are different from the cells in my brain and at the same time are cells sharing the same spirit and consciousness and are part of one body.  I and the other individuals have different superficial identities that are different expressions of one Ground.  In this awareness, I leave cramped, uncomfortable quarters and live more expansively.  A  See full.

I love the question as to what comes up for me as I contemplate the ability to waft through different identities.  What comes up for me is that we are separate and we are one, individual and together, not one and not two but one and two and neither one nor two.  I resonate to those statements and they go beyond my comprehension.  They reveal the mystery that we are and that we live in.  Yes, I am I, apparently separate from you, couched in my skin, with my heart pumping my blood and not yours, and yet I know that at a deep level I and you are one, are different expressions of one spirit.  The cells in my feet are different from the cells in my brain and at the same time are cells sharing the same spirit and consciousness and are part of one body.  I and the other individuals have different superficial identities that are different expressions of one Ground.  In this awareness, I leave cramped, uncomfortable quarters and live more expansively.  Articles like this one by Pavithra Mehta and reflecting and meditating on this mystery inspire me to go beyond small identities.  A friend of mine died of cancer and another friend commented that he got cancer for all of us -- comments like that are gifts that inspire me to go beyond small identities to the oneness that we are.

Hide full comment.