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Esse Quam Videri

No two people are alike. While our basic needs may be similar, each of us carries a unique spark inside that others see from the outside; it’s like looking in to a house through the window. We see some of what exists, but not everything. Some windows are wide open, while others are draped shut with nothing exposed. Despite the beautiful and eclectic diversity that we represent as humans, many remain fearful of sharing with others what exists within; fearful of being judged, of being mis-understood; fearful of being excluded because of perceived differences instead of embracing individuality.

Society and culture put pressure on the masses to be ‘normal’ yet normal is subjective to each individual; it is a made up construct that insecurity clings to as a guideline for living. But who makes up the guideline, and who clings to it? In my experience we all have different versions of what ‘normal’ means, and rather than exploring the extraordinary differences and spectrums of colour that exist, most seem all too consumed with living within the ‘normal’ paradigm of a given social circle.

Finding one’s authentic voice is an important aspect of being an empowered, responsible human being, yet many of us are too shy or insecure to share it. It is sometimes easier to cling to another person whom we envy or admire than to put our best for forward and share what exists within. This is especially the case when we don’t like what we see, or it is not what society dictates as ‘appropriate.’

Someone I knew passed away recently, not from an accident or physical condition, but rather, a different type of suffering; she took her own life. Why did this happen? How could it happen, with so many people just struggling to get enough clean water and food to stay alive? From the outside, she appeared a bright, young, fit woman, a woman many people would have gladly traded places with. Yet she suffered greatly, perhaps in a deeper way than someone with an obvious problem that ‘normal’ people could sympathise with.

We rarely know what exists beneath the surface, beneath the semantics of words and expressions of the face and spirit. Many of us operate in a bubble. We approach the world from our self, and the ‘self’ dictates how we perceive those around us and the world at large. We are shaping things and at the same time being shaped by others. Sometimes, others shape us more than we’d care to imagine, and more than they comprehend. At the end of the day, who knows why any of us respond to things as we do. We all have different histories, different triggers of emotions and behavior. For a yogi, one of the most important practices is ahimsa; kindness to others. But as a yogi, the aim is to see ourselves in all beings. So who are the ‘others’, and what is ‘kindness’? Should we walk around lying to each other to appear kind, even if there is something important to say in the form of a critique that may end up helping the other person in the long run? And what do we do when being kind to another being impedes on our own well being? Eating meat, for example, is not being kind to the animal whom is being eaten; one way or another they had to die. But what if you have to eat animal protein for some reason to survive? Does that make you evil?

It isn’t always easy to put the all-knowing ego aside to withhold judgment of each other and offer compassion, and at the end of the day, all any of us can do is the best we can. Perhaps when we wake up to the truth that we are interconnected; beyond the insecurity and fear, beyond the makings of the ego, we are all the same. We all have the same inner light, the same perfect beauty; the great Divine within.

Our outside layers of thought, emotion and physicality make us ‘other’, and what we think, say and do in our ‘individual’ human form impacts all the others. The more we understand this, the more we can easily embrace our individuality and use it to benefit others rather than being embarrassed by it. My secondary school had the motto: esse quam videri- to be and not to seem. If each of us took a moment each day to reset our intention and live it, we could all walk with compassion and confidence knowing we are doing the best we can. What would the world be like if we were all happier, more loved and more loving creatures? It wouldn’t harm any of us to find out.

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