Topic 15 – Will the Real Bill and Sally Please Stand Up
Even if we filled up the University of Michigan stadium, the largest in the States, among those 109,000 people, there wouldn’t be one person who could legitimately respond to the request made by this essay’s title. Why? For one reason, it’s somewhat a trick question, because anyone who was in a position to stand up would long ago have ceased to exist in any sense of dichotomy, least of all regarding what is real and what is not. And as for the rest of us, we are so deeply mired in believing that the way we see the world is the way it actually is, that such a question appears as silly nonsense.
The way we see the world, our worldview, is as isolated objects, delineated by boundaries, thus separate and distinct from one another. This view determines our experience of life on earth—period. It makes it possible to believe without doubt that you can do and say things that impact only you – that the effects of your choices can somehow be retained within your small sphere, that your secret desires are actually unknown to others. You’re pretty safe where your fellow human beings are concerned for they live in this delusion as well. But your dog doesn’t. Good thing he can’t talk, eh. Seriously, everything that haunts us, daunts us, sickens, confuses or defeats us threads right back to our worldview.
For example, why don’t we ever achieve peace, I mean peace not respite from fighting? Why doesn’t the notion of having to fight at every turn drop out of our realm of possibilities? Because fighting is a natural response in a worldview that promotes, by the way it defines the world, a sense of divisiveness that ultimately frightens us enough to justify maiming and killing others. Racism is natural too from that view as well as judging and categorizing and …oh deary me. It’s frightful isn’t it?
It sickens us to behave as we do. You know that. Deep down in us we know that we know better. But we can’t sustain an effort, in most cases, to effect a single permanent change. How would you explain that?
Here’s another question. Do you think it’s natural for a populace in the richest country in the world to be so overrun by disease? Do you wonder about that? We’re given explanations that involve, pollution, stress, less nourishing food, tougher germs. These are indeed all results of our worldview. But we’re intelligent beings. So what stops us from being able to bring about health and well-being?
Technology is not our way out. It is merely an outgrowth of our mechanistic worldview, one that believes the whole is a sum total of its parts. It reflects a dichotomy that creates with equal élan an atomic bomb and a medical advance. For every problem it solves, however, it creates at least one more. If this is what we’re relying on to get us the hell out of Dodge, we are in deep trouble.
What’s so crazy is that our worldview prevents us from acknowledging our redeeming graces. It literally blinds us to the fact that the real you is an exotic mix of what can be seen as well as something that can’t be seen. What goes on in this unseen aspect is as real and constant as what happens in your body. One of its functions involves our attention, a monumentally creative aspect of us. You can place your attention anywhere you choose and what happens when you do is that energy is directed by it toward some end, toward creating something. Through the force of your focus, you determine if any particular “creation” comes into being, but like Midas and his gold touch, we are creatures of awareness whose attention is a creative wand, so to speak, operating on an on-going basis. We have no choice about that, just like we have no choice about whether or not to breathe. Our only choice is whether to be aware or not of where we place our attention. It is neither unkind nor inaccurate to say that we presently are almost never aware of where our attention resides or how much focus we’re giving it. Instead, we have a life filled with questions such as “How did that happen?” or “Where did that come from?” Etcetera, etcetera.
The real Bill or Sally is a being who is aware that through its attention it creates its experience of life, and it takes responsibility for that fact. I purposely used the pronoun “it,” because what we truly are is not restricted to a personality or time or space. We are not leaves in the wind; nor are our lives happenstance. When the real Bill and Sally stand up, it is not as a creature of total self-absorption or victim of chance, but as a being of stunning awareness, conscious of itself while uniquely woven throughout the tapestry we call our universe.
Next week see Topic 16 – The Ticket to Admission
If you’re curious about what the journey toward greater awareness might look like, Calli Morrow, in Dying to Know, will give you a front row seat.