A couple of weeks ago someone in the Afterlife Topics group I help moderate made the observation that for her entire life she has felt as if “no one totally understands me”. That prompted me to do an impromptu survey on the site. Granted, this is far from a random selection of people. These are people who self-selected to be in a group that studies a topic most people think is either crazy or just ignore. I asked the question “How often have you felt that no one totally understands you?” The results were just as I expected. The overwhelming majority of people selected the two answers indicating they have either felt this way “all of my life” or “most of my life”. We are an odd bunch of misfits.
I accepted a long time ago that I don’t fit into this world. I don’t recall how old I was. I know I was at least 8 years old because we were living in the house my parents still live in. I remember lying in bed at night and realizing that, in this world, we are on our own. My parents were there for me, for now. But, I realized they wouldn’t always be there for me. One day I would grow up and have to “earn a living” like all adults. Sink or swim. I recall taking piano lessons in a lower income part of town. As we would drive through the neighborhoods with people hanging out on the streets and run down houses, my parents would drive home the lesson “Make sure you get good grades, so you can get scholarships, and never have to live like this.” The lesson I took from this. “You’re on your own to make it in this world. Screw up and you’ll starve.”
In America, we thrive on the idea of rugged individualism. We think it’s what’s made us great. Competition is good to produce creativity. Competition means winners and losers. Capitalism forces the survival of the fittest. We ignore the flip side of that. There are winners and losers. If you’re a loser, too bad. This idea never seemed right to me. Why don’t people share and share alike? There’s more than enough to go around. I didn’t realize at the time the thoughts I had were called “socialism” and socialism is evil.
Finally, I accepted this notion that I am a separate being, wholly on my own, and I and I alone am responsible for me. Others might help here and there along the way, but no one will care for me like I care for me. It made me lonely, it made me fearful. But, that’s the way of the world. Suck it up.
Church would tell me to be generous. The more you give away, the more you get back. But, then I’d see churches allowing church members to suffer. My heart told me to be generous, but my brain said “What about tomorrow? Who is going to take care of me?”. To this day, I have a deep seated fear of being homeless, on the streets on my own. When I say deep seated, I don’t mean an unconscious thing buried deep in my psyche. It’s something that still keeps me awake at night. it drives me to work hard on my business. There are only two people in this world other than myself that I can really count on- Tywana and Kayla. And, it’s my responsibility to provide for them, not the other way around.
A couple of years ago I heard of this thing called the Universal Basic Income (UBI). Ironically, it’s an idea put forth mainly by Libertarians. The idea is that everyone is given a modest income to live on. It would not destroy capitalism by removing incentive to work because we would retain the option of working to have more. It would provide basic sustenance. It would essentially ensure that you could afford food, shelter, and healthcare. This is the idea I had as a child. I was surprised someone else thought of it, too. “Yeah. Let’s do this!” I thought. Then, the objections came. “Why should I pay for someone who doesn’t want to work?” “No one will work.” I asked people “Would you continue to work?” “Well, yeah. I would, but that guy over there wouldn’t.” The idea is being tried in parts of Europe which is already way ahead of us on the idea that what helps my fellow man helps me. It’s got a big uphill climb in the United States.
Now, in my mid-50s I’m being introduced to this teaching that we are “all one”. It’s a lesson driven home over and over again in Near Death Experiences. I’m told I have a team of guides, angels, and departed loved ones who are actively engaged in my life. People are telling me I am never alone. Wow. This is news to me. It’s a difficult teaching to accept.
Anything that happens to anyone, in a sense, happens to me. We’re all in this together. I came in knowing this. I know I knew it at one time. But, I was told “No” so many times, I gave up on the knowledge.
Last night I was watching Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Charles Einsenstein was the guest. He’s written a book called “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible” The gist of the book seems to be to get people to realize that we are all aspects of the same Being. We are Consciousness experiencing itself through various forms. He dropped some deep wisdom like “If you are judging another person for their behavior, you’re assuming you wouldn’t do the same thing in the exact same situation, which means you have not understood their situation.” He gave a vision for a world where we drop the winners and losers labels and realize when one wins, we all win. He’s talking about a seismic cultural shift, which he actually believes is possible. In the book, he talks about our current cultural narrative and what a new cultural narrative might look like. He’s a geeky, introspective, nerdy, dreamer- reminds me of myself in my younger days.
Here is what gives me hope. When I was younger, I thought I was a freak for dreaming of this world that doesn’t exist. I wondered why I longed for something in a way of almost “missing it” when no one else seemed to have a problem with the dog eat dog world I found myself in. What I am finding is people like me coming out of the closet to say “Hey, wait a minute. I have that dream, too.” If enough of us come together, maybe we can make it happen. It’s not only the more beautiful world we know is possible. It’s the more beautiful world we know we’re supposed to have.