As You See Others, You Will See Yourself
“When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.”
– A Course in Miracles, T-8.III.4:1-5
A Simple Technique
Over the past few weeks, I have made a concerted effort to see everyone I interact with as Divine. It is a simple technique, but that does not mean that it is always easy. The terminology is not important—sometimes I like thinking of them as Christ, sometimes pure love, but I’d be just as happy to say “Buddha” or “Buddha Nature”, “the evolutionary process”, or “their highest potential”—what is important is that I see their innocence and perfection. I open my heart to them without automatic judgement, categorization, and emotion. I try to see them with fresh eyes of curiosity.
All Waves are Equally Wet
Equally important is that I see them not as a separate being, but as one. So it is not like the barista is one divine being, I am another divine being, and the bus driver is yet another; in reality we are all the same divinity. One way to think of this divinity is wetness. Which is more wet, the bottom of the ocean, or the individual waves? The question doesn’t make sense. The quality of wetness is equally inherent to all of them. Wetness is to water as divinity, or God, is to humanity. Whether or not we see the waves as separate from the ocean, they are all actually wet. Whether or not we see ourselves as separate from each other, we are all actually divine. I try to hold this underlying recognition of wetness even if in the moment I think I am separate from the image I have given to the power that is higher than me (ie: separate from God/enlightenment).
Imagining a Heavenly World
Can you imagine how happy you would be walking around in a world chock-full of divine beings? Perfectly loving creatures who simply couldn not make mistakes, and were always either expressing love toward you, or requesting to be loved, regardless of whether they were crunching numbers in an office building or serving up french fries at a burger joint? Where because you knew they were innocent and loving, you were open to their advice and opinions and felt comfortable correcting their errors. I think this would be more than a happy place; I think this would be a heavenly existence. That is why I believe this technique could be an essential, central practice to daily happiness.
Try Before You Buy
Of course it is easy to say that this heavenly idea is just a fantasy, and therefore the technique of seeing people this way is foolish. I recommend just trying it out. Don’t take my word for it, and don’t do it if it doesn’t work for you. But don’t write it off until you’ve given it a shot, since it will not cost you anything. You do not have to act weird, or say something funny, or write anything down; you simply have to change your mind about the way you see other people in any particular moment.
The Science of Constructing Our Own Reality
We construct our own reality through categorization and selective attention. You do not have to believe in some strange new age mumbo-jumbo to see that reality to you as a child was different than reality to you now, because you are more aware now than you were then. You include information you did not then, and you exclude information that you no longer deem useful. The science of how we construct our reality can be found in constructive developmental theories and models, from Jean Piaget to Robert Kegan and beyond.
Simply changing your mind about something can drastically change how you experience it; I am sure most of us have had the experience of meeting someone we thought was a total jerk, only to become really good friends with them (and vice versa). What they do doesn’t change, just the way you see them does. So try out consciously changing the way you see everyone, and try doing it in a way that will fulfill your goals (which I imagine include happiness, if you are reading this site). Even if you don’t buy the whole divinity thing, which I can almost assure you will be the most powerful application of this technique, just imagine that everyone is here to help you out. Even the guy who cuts you off in traffic. I think the difference in your experience of the day or event will be astounding.
Loving Yourself and Clear Boundaries
It is also easy to be afraid that such a practice would lead you to be walked all over. If you properly apply the technique, this cannot happen. The trick here is that you have to include your own self as part of the divine (or that you are here to help you out too). If you are perfectly loved and innocent, and you see others the same way, it is simple to communicate emotions and set boundaries. You trust that you will find the words and or gestures that are most loving, most easily heard, to express whatever is going on inside of you. You honk the horn as a piece of information, not as an act of hostility.
In the end, you can misuse this technique. You can misuse any of my articles, or anything else on DailyHap, or the internet. You can misuse anything that appears here on the planet, from guns, to meditation, to bacteria, to breathing. That should not stop you from checking this particular idea out, because you have very little on the line and stand to gain a lot. I would not encourage you to try out a nuclear bomb on the other hand, or that awful new Krokodil drug, because there is more on the line there, and almost nothing to gain.
A New Kind of Sight
What I hope you will find is that as you see others, you begin to see yourself. When you see everyone out there as loving, peaceful beings, you start to think that is a legitimate possibility for you. You might occasionally, automatically start acting accordingly, and people will occasionally, automatically respond to you accordingly, at first in very subtle ways. Perhaps just a smile, or a friendly comment. But eventually this feeling will grow, and you might start to see that we are all on the same planet, we are all trying to make sense of being alive, striving for meaning and purpose, and even in spite of the incredibly vast range of differences from each being and culture and time and age, we can help each other find ways to express and experience love. And I think you will find this kind of sight very relaxing and joyful.