the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness.
From the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
Self centeredness is what I have identified with for almost as long as I remember. I have always felt that I am the center of the Universe, the point from which everything radiates. My perceptions have been important to me; my experiences very unique. As a young person, I felt as diiferent from others as could be.
Popular culture only reinforces this notion of ‘uniqueness’. The modern society puts a premium on being strong, independent, initiative taking, visionary, chasing ones goals to the exclusion of everything else. And so it has been for me.
My own self has been centre stage even in a public place, in crowded shops, in places where the throng of humanity presses you to the other, so that all you become is a mass. Even at those times, I felt that I was the centre of my universe.
I like to observe people, in places of worship especially, wondering what is it that brings them there. What joys they thank for, which sorrows they want assauged. I imagine that a temple is a place where people seek something. Only for a very few is it a matter of routine. Most come with prayers in their hearts and as they bow their heads, eyes closed, lips moving, I try to think of their lives and their stories.
But something has changed in the recent past. I see this mass of humanity, separate them out in my mind, each person different, living a life parallel to my own, different yet like mine.
And as time goes by, I see myself more and more in others, in the people I meet and in the people I am aware of. It is easier for me to imagine myself in their stories, how their lives unfold, their little joys and sorrows, the misery and the euphoria, the struggles, the wins and the craziness.
Gone is the concept of me as a different or a unique individual. I wonder what is it that makes me just me? Are my struggles not reflective of many others? Aren’t my joys widespread?
I wonder whether our stories are really that different. Are there not patterns to our lives, our aches and joys?
If you look around you with compassion, I feel that you can see that all our lives, the individuals are like a labyrinth, mazes that they navigate and that sometimes intersect.
I find myself as simply a point, of light perhaps, as opposed to the feeling that I am the center of the universe. Everything came to me and everything flowed from me. I am not the centre. I am the diffused light that suffuses everything and everyone.
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