Sunday, March 8, 2009


Being unhappy with your life's circumstances is a very isolating experience. When we are dissatisfied with the way we look or feel, we disconnect from the deeper adventures life offers. We tend to become absorbed in our own thoughts, lives, and struggles. As a result, we lose sight of the vital connection that we share with all living beings.

Learn to see yourself in everyone by responding to the following questions in your journal or out loud.

1. All human beings have feelings. We feel joy, ecstasy, grief, and sadness. When we cut ourselves, we bleed and feel pain. Although the mechanisms of our injuries are diverse, our emotional and physical pain is the same. How is your personal pain similar to the pain of a billionaire or a homeless person?

2 This week, view everyone you meet as your own daughter or son. Instead of judging the surly cashier or belligerent client, try to see the small child that exists within her. Recognize that angry or contemptuous behavior is often a defense mechanism used to hide feelings of shame and disconnection. What do you notice when you observe other’s behavior in this way?

3. Rather than arguing or attempting to convince others that you are right, strive to be compassionate. Make every effort to distract yourself and others from pain by focusing on the positive aspects of a situation. How does it feel when your let go of your need to be right or be in control of every situation?

4. Spend one entire day this week viewing all people and things in nature as if they were a part of you. When you look into the eyes of your neighbor, boss, and mother-in-law, see your own inner reflection staring back at you. What is the common ground that unites you with others?

5. Try to remove all labels that you place on yourself. Our tendency to put ourselves in categories limits our potential and disengages us from the rest of the world. What labels do you place upon yourself and how do these roles lock you in a position that inhibits your personal growth?

6. Write about what you have in common with the following individuals: a heroin addict, a millionaire, a supermodel, an autistic child, and a monk. How is everyone you meet a part of you?