Simple way to live a joyous, meaningful life: don’t forget that I am a speck in the universe.
Keep it always in mind. When I forget it, bring it back to my awareness. As I develop this practice – cultivate and nurture it – a lightness infuses my being. A radiance and letting go of my fears feels second nature, and nothing feels unnatural or unfair.
Three main ways I am prone to forget the truism of my insignificance:
– when I have bodily needs,
– when I intract with others and am in the web of emotions;
– when I am enthralled intellectually and am trying to figure something out.
At any moment in life, one or more of these applies to me. I am hungry, horny, have a headache. I am proud, jealous, nervous, happy. I am figuring out what to do for the weekend, reading a book, solving a puzzle, working to bring about social change.
In these contexts, in different ways, the truism of my cosmic insignificance recedes from my view. I seem essential to the world. What I do, or what happens to me or mine, seems crucial. The world can be this way or that way, good or bad, fair or unfair, and my fate seems to hang in the balance. Each moment feels like a lottery I am trying to survive and win.
How is it that in these contexts I so easily forget the cosmic truism? Why in these contexts do I seem so central to the world?
Because in these contexts the world as I experience it is my world, situated around my needs (physical, emotional and intellectual). The baby experiences the world as providing milk or not, and the baby’s hunger is the center of that world. Likewise, when I am angry, I experience the world (things outside of me) as appeasing me or not, and the issue of my appeasement is the center of that world.
This ego centric awareness of the world is true even in intellectual activity. When I am trying to creation political change, even with the motivation to help others, I experience the world as thwarting or aiding my aim. While the ego-centricness is explicit in physical needs, it is implicit in intellectual needs – but present all the same.
This is the basic illusion embedded in experience: the experience is of the world, which creates the sense of objectivity, but it is for the sake of the experiencer, which is the subjective reality.
The cosmic truism is a reminder that this double play is intrinsic to all experience. That the appearance of objectivity in the experience covers over its subjective structure. Remembering this is the only way to come closer to a more truly objective awareness of the world.
That border where the subjective, being aware of its essential subjectivity, seems to merge selflessly with the objective – that is the frontier of human awareness. It is the space of tranquility and being with the simple isness of life.