What is the belief most widely held in today's world; the belief that underlies all other beliefs? It is the notion that we are separate. We believe that we are separate from everyone and everything around us. We even feel separate from ourself. We split within and relentlessly judge and compare ourself, convinced that something is missing in ourself and in our lives. We wish to be different, other than as we are which is a movement grounded in self-hatred. Moreover, because of this, we do not open-heartedly love ourself, or for that matter anyone else. Instead, our love is filled with judgement and fear.
A woman I know recently remarked that she learned to "do unto others as she did unto herself." So she hated everyone around her because she hated herself.
The Signposts of Separation
We relentlessly defend against anyone, including ourself, who threatens our precious separative self-image. This is because, as it is so apply stated in the Upanishads, 'wherever there is another, there is fear.' When we project separation we fear that we can be attacked and hurt by every 'so-called' separate other, including ourself. To see the truth of this we simply need to bear witness to the warfare that is unfolding on this planet on any given day, no less how much warfare is going on within any given family, relationship or within ourself at any given moment. Because of our separative stance, we constantly seek approval while avoiding rejection, all the while inwardly feeling abandoned. We suffer and all of our suffering is derived from our feeling separate. Suffering, judgment, anxiety, fear and our feeling of abandonment co-arise with separation. These attitudes are the signposts that indicate separation is present.
So why do we tolerate living in such a state of mind where we are held hostage by our thoughts and imprisoned by our judgments? For one thing, we may never have heard about life outside this prison. And for another, we are so deeply wedded to what is familiar that we do not realize that the prison door has always been unlocked from the inside. We feel safe living within the known limits of our self-generated worldview, even if it is full of conflict.
You may have seen the movie The Truman Story where the main character has been raised since early childhood within an enormous artificial biosphere. Truman lives in a totally fictitious town peopled by actors. His daily life is secretly watched by millions of TV viewers. His radio and newspaper, as well as all of the people around him, discourage him from exploring beyond the town's limits. As he pieces together various hints, he realizes that things are not as they appear and he attempts a desperate escape by sailboat. The biosphere's creator, a megalomaniacal TV producer, manipulates the weather to prevent Truman's escape and nearly drowns Truman in the process. Truman does survive and, apparently free on the open sea, is astonished to sail into the well-disguised limit of the biosphere. He climbs up to an exit door and then dialogues with the disembodied voice of the producer who, risking the loss of his enormously popular TV show, begs Truman to stay in this safe world. True-man's passion for the truth allows him to step into the unknown, despite the fierce resistance of the megalomaniacal mind. The Truman Story may well be the meta-story we are all living.
If you project yourself into The Truman Story you will see that you live in the prison of your worldview. The megalomaniacal TV producer is your ego-mind that reinforces the myth of you as a limited and separate self. The yearning you feel for freedom is that intuition that is most authentic in you, which is always pointing to the exit that will heal your sense of separation and suffering.