You Are You, and Yet Not

You Are You, and Yet Not
We are part of this world, not existing within it.

Every cell in your body came from the duplication of a single cell inside your mother’s womb. We all share that as human beings—the origin of human life is our parents. But how often do we reflect on this fact?

One of the primary things Melanie and I focus on these days is helping others find themselves. That means, to a great extent, cutting ties between our identity and how others think we should act or feel. This individualization, or emancipation, if you will, has the effect of giving people more autonomy over their own lives. Of giving them the courage to take big leaps—to take risks. To succeed—and to fail.

Yet, there’s also an important perspective that seems, at first, contradictory to this emancipation: the perspective that we are not, in fact, completely individual. We were, quite literally, grown from our parents. Whether you like or love your parents or not, this fact alone is astounding. And it’s often buried under the heaviness of “emancipation talk” that happens in the world of personal transformation.

So I’d like to take a moment to remind us of this simple fact: we are part of this world, not existing within it. We are grown from nature. We are nature. To ignore this basic fact is to deny our humanity. To gloss over the sheer magnitude of that truth would be an insult to our true origin.

And what’s more, once we learn to truly embrace our connection to the universe, to nature, and to the world around us (including other people), while our sense of individuality may fade a little, something else enters the picture: the feeling of unity.

(stay with me)

“Unity” is a woo-woo word that is thrown around a fair amount, especially in psychedelic circles, kind of like “energy” or “aura,” BUT there is something very tangible to this word that I’d like to focus on, and it is best illustrated by a very short story.

I was riding my mountain bike. It was something like, mm… ten years ago. Maybe a little more. I was in Bloomington, Indiana (which was where I went to college) and I had a free weekend, so I took my bike to a local trail and started practicing my jumps. (Scary, by the way, when you go off a jump on a bike for the first time)

Anyway, after about 45 minutes of riding, I took a break. The trail I was riding on looped around this big pond in the middle of a forest preserve, so I hung my helmet on my handlebars, grabbed my water bottle, and sat on a rock.

And for the next few minutes, I meditated. I looked out over the water, listened to the wind whistling through the trees, and heard the birds chirping. I was fully and completely present. No thoughts entered my mind. There were no voices telling me to get moving, to go work on my homework—nothing. Pure mental silence. And I felt connected. Connected to everything around me. I was part of that scene. I wasn’t just a random biker student going for a ride, I was with everything in that moment. I had returned to nature. Returned to my source.

That’s the feeling of unity.

It’s the feeling that you are connected in such a deep and immeasurable way to the world around you that no force in the universe would be able to separate you from it. It’s like trying to separate water from water. There’s no point.

(Fast forward to my first ayahuasca experience—and that feeling returned a thousand-fold. And stuck around. But that’s another story for another time.)

But today, I invite you to reflect on how you are part of your own environment. How do you exchange energy with nature? How do you incorporate the genesis of your existence into your existence today?

Nature has a way of healing us in ways that we could never find through watching motivational videos on YouTube or taking pills from the doctor. Because it is our true, unadulterated essence—our source. The origin of our energy and matter—everything that makes us us.

Remember this today, and take a moment to breathe in the air. To feel the ground under your feet. To sit and reflect on the billions of years of catastrophic events, beautiful miracles, decisions, successes, and failures that led to you, reading this, right now, exactly as you are.

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