We Are Everything


Why We Are All Responsible For The Suffering in This World

The hail intensely ticking on the window served as a reminder for me to be mindful. All around me the world quickly passed into my rear mirror. I could barely see a thing. The truck in front of me created a cloud of rain, pushed up into the air by its thick back tires. The windscreen wipers were desperately trying to wipe the window clean. It was an un-winnable battle with the hail and the cloud of water. In the midst of all of this force and speed, I sat rather peacefully. I gently listened to the soothing sound of the tires roaring on the asphalt, my breath moving in and out of my body in a slow but steady rhythm and the smooth voice of the audiobook narrator sounded through all of this thunder. My hand rested on the top of the steering wheel whilst the other laid on my lap.

We were all one. All of it at peace. The car, the hail, the truck, the cloud of rain, the flowers on the side of the road, my hands, my body, the narrator, the book, the writer, and the passing asphalt underneath the car. Everything moved as it should. Everything was as it should be. Everything was alive and lived. Including me. Although I moved at such a high-speed everything felt peaceful, everything felt calming and serene. All of it had to do with but one thing. I was connected…

Part One: Oneness

We are all one. It’s not some cheesy line out of a celebrity charity song for Christmas. It’s a profound understanding of the world. A life lesson. Maybe one of the hardest ones to fully understand and grasp. That we are all connected. Not just us living humans, but also nature, objects, ancestors, animals, and our actions. They are all connected. When I sat in the car today, driving across my home country I had a strange revelation. For a moment in time, everything felt at peace. Not just that but I felt at peace. Unable to understand why, until now.

We are all one. It’s not some cheesy line out of a celebrity charity song for Christmas.

We are all connected, and at that moment of peace, I felt that connection. That’s why everything felt at peace. And this might sound strange to you, it actually is because I never thought I would realize this connection in my lifetime, but now I have. It wasn’t a magical moment or anything, so don’t believe it is something special. All it was, was a moment of mindfulness, and total presence. In which I was connected with the car, my body, the truck in front of me, and the rain. Everything was one because everything worked together. At that moment it wasn’t any longer just me driving. It was the car as well, without the car I wouldn’t be able to be there, it was the rain as well, and the truck with the truck driver in front of me. Everything worked together so that I was able to drive behind the truck, and eventually overtake it.

Why is this so special? Well, because I always say “I am driving”. But today I realized it isn’t just me who’s driving. It’s my body moving, my mind making decisions, the car engine transforming fuel into power, and the power is making the wheels spin. The road is the surface to which the wheels grip and push the car forward. The rain was the one who made me mindful of this and therefore too was part of the driving experience. Each one of these components is necessary to have that very experience. To be alive. Not even the rain could be subtracted from this very experience, because then it wouldn’t be that very experience anymore. It would be some other experience. Now, this is all very spiritual and maybe a bit vague to you, so let me simplify it all.

To understand that we are all connected I want to give you an example of you making your way through a crowd of people. In front of you is a long hallway, with a lot of people. You are in a hurry and want to get to the other side of the hallway as quickly as possible. You start to make your way through all the people. Pushing them aside, or dodging them. Now how would you perceive this, how would you describe what is happening?

1) You are making your way to the other side of the hallway

2) You and the people around you are making your way to the other side of the hallway?

I guess that most of you will describe it as the first one. That you are making your way to the other side. But what about all the people in the hallway with you. Aren’t they stepping aside for you, aren’t they allowing you to push them away, or trying to make room for you? Aren’t they, therefore, helping you make your way to the other side of the hallway as well? Aren’t you therefore connected with them?

This is what I feel is the hardest thing to understand about being connected with the world around us. That we are everything and everyone. Not literally. I am not you, in that I am not within your body, but I am connected with you through this piece of writing. Through the words on your screen. Therefore we are connected. But why is this such an amazing thing?

Because if we are connected with everything and everyone we understand everyone and everything. If I am connected with, let’s say, my mother, I can feel her. I am compassionate and can feel what she is feeling. I can feel her happiness, or joy, or anger. And when she is around I can feel her presence. That connection with my mother in this example makes me understand her better, and that understanding results in a natural kindness and compassion towards her. I would never hurt her. This is a logical thing to say because she is my mom. But the same goes for you. I am connected with you and therefore would never hurt you. Because if I hurt you, I in some way hurt myself. By understanding this we can be at peace. By knowing that we are connected with all forms on this earth, including the physical objects that are seemingly lifeless, we can see that if we are not at peace they are not at peace. But if we are at peace the things around us will be at peace as well. Our connection to one another puts us in the seat of responsibility and ‘control’. In a sense that we take responsibility for our compassion, kindness, and peace, and therefore have control over our lives. If we do this, our lives, and eventually the entire world, will be at peace.

Part Two: Me and The Killer

Now I want to share with you a rather radical example of this, with a beautiful take on it. Jesus, as well as the Buddha, and other religious figures like Gandhi all shared with the world an attitude of non-violence, of loving thy neighbor as you love yourself. That you do not hurt anyone, not even your enemies. That you instead love everyone, even your enemies. This is impossible because if you love your enemies they are no longer your enemies. This lesson, that many great leaders and religious figures shared, has everything to do with connection.

“That boy or girl is now a killer”

In some poor country or a suburb of some wealthy town, there is a boy or girl who has too little food to get by. He or she is in desperate need of food, and the only way to get it is through stealing or criminality. In these countries and neighborhoods, criminality is easy to get into. Because for these kids it’s the only way to survive. That little kid in the suburbs starts by robbing and stealing, then threatening people, and eventually, he is tasked to kill someone. He receives a gun from one of the criminals and he or she goes out into the streets and shoots that man or woman. That boy or girl is now a killer. And I have a question for you. Are you and I responsible for his or her act? Are we responsible for the death of a man or woman? For the boy or girl who is now a killer?

We are.

We are not directly responsible for the murder of someone of course, because we didn’t hold the gun in our hands that killed this human being. But we all have a responsibility to help those kids in need. To give them food, help them out, do everything we can to better their lives, so they don’t end up in a criminal group and kill someone. I am just as much the killer as I am the victim. I am all of them, and therefore I am responsible for doing everything I can to prevent more of this. How can we prevent this? Not just by giving money alone, we can start by eradicating the seed of violence within ourselves. Eradicating the idea of hurting someone, or doing so.

Now this means that we hold no thoughts of hatred or cruelty towards the convicted. Towards murders, or rapers that are in prison. I know how radical this sounds, and I am not saying that they should be free, having the chance to inflict even more pain on the world. I am only suggesting and inviting you to be compassionate towards them. These people are just like the kids who grew up in poverty. They had a lack of love and that manifested into hatred, which then turned into violence against others. If we in our turn start to punish them in cruel ways we are no better than they are. If we punish their act of hatred towards a human by giving them the death penalty we are just as much a murderer as they are. If we lock them away in prison without helping them become loving human beings, we are feeding their hatred. The same goes for war. For rape. For all things that come forth from hate. Hate is not fought with hate. We should, in fact, never fight hate. Because fighting is a form of hate. We should love those who hate, and inflict actions of hatred towards others or the world.

“None of the haters should be hated”

This is what Jesus, the Buddha, Gandhi, and many others shared with the world. That none of the haters should be hated. That’s why Gandhi fasted for days and held thoughts of compassion and love for both the Indian people and the British. He knew that the only true way out of this was with love. Hatred or acts of hate will never be eradicated by force. Because we are all connected. We cannot hurt someone or something else without hurting ourselves. The very thought of anger or hatred is in itself unpleasant and therefore is the very first act of pain inflicted on ourselves. That is even before we actually hurt another being. The thought of hurting another is enough to hurt ourselves.

We are all responsible for the poverty of others. For the wars on this planet. For the rapers, and killers. For the thieves and dictators. We will never eradicate them from the face of the earth if we have no love and compassion for them within our hearts. Many of you will not agree with this. And I might get a lot of blame for this. Which is fine. I am not here to convince you of this truth. I am not here to hurt you or judge you. It’s okay to see this differently. I will not hurt you in any way, shape, or form. But I will do my very best to prevent myself, and you from hurting another being on this planet. That is both human, animal, and others alike. None of these deserve to be hurt.

Isn’t that what God was speaking about when he said that one day Jesus will return and the kids will be able to play with the lions and the snake on this earth? Isn’t it this that he meant? That we should never harm anyone or anything. That peace is the way.

Part Three: To Live is To Connect

If there was no connection there would be nothing.

We are loving and kind creatures that have a great potential to change the world. That is both for the better and for the worse. We have both sides within us. One to learn from, and the other to grow with. To live a loving life, and a kind life is to embrace this connectedness between all of us. That I and you are connected through this piece of writing now. To live means to be connected. We can not live without connection. To be where you are right now, means that you are connected to your body, and the place you are in. If you are sitting that means at that very moment that in order to live you need to be connected to the chair. If there was no connection there would be nothing. You and I would not exist. It would all be nothingness. It’s not even nothingness because saying that there would be nothingness means there should be ‘somethingness’ in order to make the nothingness exist. Something we could never understand with our human brains. That’s the duality and connection of life. Which is a tough topic to wrap your head around.

So give it some thought. Most importantly see that by hurting someone or something outside of you, you are hurting and inflicting pain on yourself. We all have a responsibility to be loving and kind. That starts with our thoughts. To hold loving thoughts towards ourselves, our lives, the world, and others. Those thoughts expand into beautiful actions. Actions of love, humanity, kindness, compassion, joy, and playfulness. Start by holding thoughts of connection. Of interbeing with others. Hold thoughts of your connection to the world, the connection to your body and mind. We are all one, we are all needed, if one of us would not have existed on this planet, the planet would be out of balance. Everything is as it should be. Everything is connected in a profound and intricate network. That we will never fully grasp.

To live is to connect. To connect yourself with the world. Those around you. The things around you. And your own thoughts. Appreciate all of them. Love all of them. Love your family, and your enemies. Love those who hurt you. Love the anger within your brain, and love the sadness you feel. But also love your happiness and joy. Love the murderers and dictators. Love all. Love, and see that peace is the way. That peace is life. And that to live is to live in a peaceful connection with everything. To end your day, and say Today I Lived. I made the most of it!

Thanks for reading. Let’s open discussions about this. Let’s help one another. Come over to my Instagram @today.i.lived where we’ve to build a community together, all about living a beautiful life. Or send me an email at daan@todayilived.com

Once more thanks for reading, see you in the next one. Remember that today you live. Make the most of it!

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