Recently, I heard about a metaphor that I liked a lot and it got me to thinking again about the impact of our frame of reference on our perceptions as we move through any kind of experience. The metaphor was about stained glass windows. The underlying theme is that, even though every stained glass window has a different pattern or scene on it, even if the difference is very small or incredibly large, the fundamental reality of it is that the same light shines through it and every other stained glass window. Light is light, and it illuminates every window, regardless of the pattern each window reflects.
This got me to thinking about a practice I’ve talked about before, one described by Charles Eisenstein. It has to do with remembering that we are deeply guided by the framework we receive from our cultures, religions, families, and peer groups. Charles talks about a practice of putting himself in the context of another person so he can get a feel for how they have arrived at their current beliefs and perceptions. As Charles travels the world talking about oneness and interbeing, he always assumes an underlying connection or relatedness among all people and has a powerful openness to wanting to understand what brings people into their convictions and actions in order to lessen his judgments.
With that in mind, I’d like invite you to play with this practice with an emphasis on the recognition that we are all “lit by the same light”, however you might understand or frame that “same light”. Every religion has a sense of Source, of what it is that gives us life. For this experiment, whether you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, Pantheist, Animist, Humanist, Baha’i, Shamanistic, or whatever your particular orientation to understanding the larger context within which you live, I invite you to play with the awareness that the same Source, or Light, shines through each and every one of us. We may enter the world with different patterns of belief and with different frameworks around how we see and understand the world but, behind it all, we emerge from this same Source, however you understand it.
As you explore this week’s experiment, notice what happens in both your psyche and your body when you give yourself time to experience the recognition that the Source that animates you is the same Source that animates every other living thing, every other person you encounter along the way—that the Light that shines through you is exactly the same Light that shines through everyone else. Does it change anything in your responses or judgments about the person to remember that you are “lit” by the same Source? I’ve written countless times about our tendency to create an “other” when we encounter someone or something with which we don’t agree. Notice, as you play with this week’s experiment, if there’s a softening in that tendency.
As with all these experiments, there are no right answers here. Instead, these experiments offer opportunities to more deeply explore living consciously, more mindfully. Remember that moments of mindfulness offer choice—the choice to shift from states of body-mind being that detract from our quality of life into those that support a more comfortable, regulated way of being.