A new leaf unfolded on my awakening journey this week.
For years, I have been comforting myself with the placations offered by simulation theory, the experience machine, brain-in-a-vat theory, and other philosophical thought experiments designed to test the boundaries of what is real. If someone is unkind to me? Well, they’re not even real. If someone drives by me crying? Not real. Not having a real experience. If someone offers kindness toward me? They don’t even truly exist.
It’s the pinnacle of a maladaptive coping behavior: seeing others as “other” and myself and the only person that dictates experience on this planet. After all, in The Egg by Andy Weir, it is said that there is only One Person, simply existing over and over until they have existed as everyone. It’s a convenient way to write-off the experience of fellow humans.
So, what changed?
I don’t know if a single thing did it, but I remember the moment that it happened.
I’ve been meditating on my own expansion into limitless abundance for months now, every morning at work. I turn on the same daily meditation by Manifestation Babe (Kathrin Zenkina) and breathe green light from the tip of the universe to the core of the Earth, and then expand that energy field outward. I’ve been studying the work of Edgar Cayce on psychic awakening. I’ve been studying under the extraordinarily gifted teacher, Gypsy Valentine of MirrorMoonology and taking the courses inside the Activation Academy offered by Natasha Edwards and JoJo Ellen.
In fact, all this learning is exactly what prompted me to take my coaching website down and work on learning the patience that my Guides kept insisting on.
And a few days ago, as I was driving, I witnessed something amazing. A teenage girl was sitting in the passenger seat of a car with a large white poster board. She was writing something with a large red marker and having an animated conversation with the fellow teenagers in the car. And it struck me: She’s really, really, really real. As real as I am. Having experiences of her own that I will never know anything about. Living a complex life full of choices and heartbreak and sadness and fear and joy and love and passion.
More about sonder
Sonder: n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness.https://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com/post/23536922667/sonder
I’ve experienced sonder before, and it has historically made me very uncomfortable. I can’t even conceptualize of a world that big, let alone know how to live in one. To me, the world has always seemed very small. As a child, it was just my mom, dad, sister, and me. As I got older, my world contained my friends and family. And once I became an adult, I made my own family. But that was it. Just a small world containing the people that I know and love. Everything else just faded into the background.
As a college student, my ethics professor and I got into many heated debates about whether he truly existed after he left the room. I held firm to my faith in The Experience Machine, a philosophical thought project wherein the person thinking (me) is not truly living in our 3D world, but rather lives in a machine that is generating experiences for them and these experiences (him) do not exist when they leave the view of the thinker.
I profoundly remember a conversation we had at a coffee shop where he left to use the bathroom and came back with his hands purposefully still wet just to prove that he had existed within the bathroom. I denied his existence, telling him instead that my machine simply generated my experience of his wet hands. He was not pleased, to say the least.
What if it’s all real?
The thought that everything, everyone, and all of creation is truly real, existing, and manifesting this reality around us seems almost unbearable. The pain of my empathetic gifts can feel suffocating. And yet, as I grapple with this question, something inside of me has shifted. I can no longer write off the experiences and lifetimes of others as simple particles of light within a simulation, or manifestations of my mind within a machine.
In some ways, I think that my study of philosophy gave me a way out. A way to run away from the problems facing our planet. A way to dismiss the persistence of emotional turmoil and needs of others. But that’s just it: by shutting others out, I was shutting myself down.
I was lessening myself. Reducing my own being to a mere formality. I wasn’t really living the colorful, abundant life that I am here for. I was deadening my senses in order to avoid the pain that might occur.
Well, no more
Today, I am uncomfortable. My ego is going through another layer of ego death. My empathetic gifts are turned on and tuned in. It hurts. I think I disliked the notion of others suffering so much that, in a way, I found a fairytale where I don’t have to acknowledge it. And now that I am peeling back the layers of that fairytale, I am finding raw, unhealed parts of myself that this bandaid was hiding.
In 2013, I remember telling my ex-husband that I was “hearing all the prayers of all the people” during an episode of psychosis that felt unbearable. Today, I’m feeling their prayers.
It’s not that I wish I didn’t, don’t get me wrong. I am extremely grateful that my learning and awakening process is leading to an unfolding of coping behaviors that won’t serve me on my mission. But the desire to dissolve all pain that everyone on this planet is experiencing, will experience, or has experienced feels so profound that it is almost immobilizing.
The key word in that sentence, however, is almost.
Where does that leave me?
I am dedicated to this journey. To this path. To awakening my own servant’s heart and becoming a conduit for good, healing, and kindness in this world. To asking for and offering forgiveness.
So, while I am awakening to the reality of… well, reality, I hope to use my new insights to bring more love, hope, and joy into this world. After all, I’m getting closer every day to finding my Red Road, and with every expansion in my awareness comes new and beautiful gifts.
And if you’re still sticking to your guns on simulation theory, maybe ask yourself what purpose that serves in your life. Is it a mere oddity/curiosity, or is it a wall you have built up around yourself to avoid meaningful connection with others? Only you can answer that for yourself.
I love you so big.