I believe that there are many, many, many facets to each of us. I believe that every single moment we have lived, every person we have met, every movie, book, song, food, we have experienced, has shaped us. We don’t even have to be conscious of it while it’s happening or remember it to be affected by it. In fact, there’s so much going on in every instant, we can be grateful that we have developed the skills of focusing on what we choose to and discerning what is important and what is not. But over time, as experiences occur and memories are stored, perspectives are created. You know, touch a hot stove and realize that touching a hot stove is painful and not something you’d like to repeat. Or taste something delicious, and form the memory of feeling good while eating that particular thing and boom, you’ve got an association. Added in to all of those sorts of memories and associations are the locations, temperatures, other people, time of day and more that were present at the time of the experience. Add, like, millions of these together, and you’ve got a bona fide human life. A life full of memories and associations and corresponding feelings and thoughts and hopes and fears and dreams and and and.
Instead of being all jumbled in a pile of experiences, everything seems to get categorized in very interesting ways. And things can be in more than one category. Like, the hot stove experience can be categorized as painful, and educational. The delicious food can be in the feeling-good and nice-summer day and home-with-the-family and sad-cause-now-aunt-elsie-is-dead categories. In fact, things can be in an infinite number of categories. Associations are endless. If you play the game that starts with a glass of water and ask yourself, “What does this glass of water remind me of?” and keep repeating that question for every answer you think of, the game can literally go on forever and ever. I love playing this game with people. One person might be reminded of a swimming pool which reminds them of summers 20 years ago which reminds them of apple pie which reminds them of fireworks, and another person might go from a glass of water to a river to fluidity to the cosmos to the flow of their emotions. Water, fireworks, the Universe. Ad infinitum.
So we can never really know what’s going on in someone else’s head unless we ask and keep asking. We will never find someone with the exact same associations in the exact same order. We’re all snowflakes. Totally, utterly, completely unique and special. And in that uniqueness we are all totally the same. To the degree that we can recognize our incredible uniqueness and delight in each other’s totally one-of-a-kind perspectives brings increasing ease and wonder and adventure in life.
As I developed this ability…to ride on the awareness of all of our unique experiences and associations, I first had to get really acquainted with my own associations. The good and the not so good. The ones that lifted me up and the ones that pulled me down. Especially the ones that pulled me down. And as I started to wake up to the patterns of my mind, I realized the patterns had their own sort of regularities and personalities. I know, it may sound like I’m saying I have multiple personalities and hear voices in my head…and, well…
That’s exactly what I’m saying.
I think we all have lots of voices and patterns and perspectives and personalities in our heads. And they’re all vying for attention. They’re all wanting to be heard because they all believe they have something very important to tell us. It’s quite precious really. More than that, it’s quite amazing that we’re all managing this rush of influences at any given moment.
I lovingly refer to these voices now as The Committee. Soon we will talk more about The Committee.
Like I said, all of these experiences and memories and sensations aren’t just stored as one big blob in our bodies and brains. Though it is easier for some more than others and easier for some circumstances more than others, we humans have a really awesome ability to see things one way and then choose to shift our perspectives to see the same thing in another way.