How Changing I to We Improves Life
A collective approach to life seems key to happiness. The concept of self in meditation is an interesting point to consider. In my experiences in the almost two years I have been practicing daily meditation and reading about it I have come to understand that an important fundamental is a broader understanding and embracing of the collective as opposed to the self. This has resonated in me most recently as I have struggled with a sense of negativism and irritation toward myself and others. In looking back at the past two months and comparing my emotional state to the previous ten or twelve months in general I can see that the focus has been on myself. I have had an almost constant “them against me” perception and it has created resentment and a petulance that coats my mind and colors my view of the world.
Rather than seeing through a collective lens, putting the world in terms of us, I have reverted to a possessive me, mine and I. This view was my old default perspective that I saw life from for most of my existence. I have been framing my experiences and interactions with others so narrowly that my lens excludes much of reality – all of the others and all of the rest that is in the world along with the me. This is a lonely and difficult way to navigate life’s journey.
But this all sounds very meta – heady and conceptional. How does one actually switch the perspective and the lens? How does a person change that perception? I ask myself this as I think of a friend or two who constantly struggle with that sense of depression and desperation that I knew for so long. Some people find this through religion – accepting the teachings and the words scripted and prescribed for them by others. Collectively they embrace notions of we and feel bonded together by the practices suggested for them.
What do you do if you aren’t a believer in something prescribed? My realization came to me through meditation but it came slowly and incrementally and it ebbs and flows continually. My understanding of a collective, my embracing of something bigger than me allowed me to grow and feel a sense of joy and connection and commitment and I came to the understanding through a transformation of thought. The thoughts were my own and the thoughts are based on my experiences. I learned to see through a different lens, many different lenses, by letting go of myself as a barrier to the rest of the world around me. My depression was a result of improper viewing. Changing my lens resulted in freedom from depression. I changed my lenses by letting go of the singular vision and viewpoint that I had. I opened my mind’s eye to the possibility of a different understanding and different vision by actually thinking differently. I changed my definitions of myself.
These are concepts yet they are not. A concept cannot make the heart beat faster and keep sleep at bay at 4 in the morning – can it? It can. Concepts are thoughts and thoughts drive our actions but meditation teaches us that we can let the thoughts go and that we need not be subjected to the whims of mere thought. WE. Collective and inclusive. Viewing the world through a monocle does not allow for depth and clarity. Multiple lenses and perceptions are necessary for a vision that is truer to reality than the single I or me.