Recognize that the other person is you

So many epithets and accusations are being hurled these days (especially in my country, and I bet you might guess which one that is). What’s the last one you heard online or on the news? “You *&#%!” “Those people are _____!” It’s almost as if the person hurling the insult and the other person it’s aimed at are completely separate beings…. when in reality, we are made of the same spirit and stuff. We are all deeply connected, even if we haven’t yet met or never will. We may have been taught this as a spiritual truth, and we can also experience it for ourselves through our deepening practice.

The other person is you

Judgement and accusations are very convenient ways to get rid of the aspects of ourselves that we are uncomfortable with, what Western psychology calls Splitting and Projection. Here’s this part of myself that I cannot accept, that I’ve been told is bad or ugly or undesirable for whatever reason, so I’m just going to split it off of myself and project it onto the next available person! And this is terribly easy to do, if you experience others as totally separate from you.

Some years ago, I began to notice my judgements about other people. When I was looking around in public absentmindedly, I found myself thinking things like, “She should really _____.” or “He shouldn’t _____ like that.” Instead of telling myself not to judge or that I was a bad person, I was very lucky to get curious about these thoughts! When I got intimate with each judgement, I could sit with it, get good and comfortable with it, and ask myself, “What’s this really about?” When I got really friendly with my judgements about other’s unique or unusual appearances, I found that they were really about my fear of looking different or standing out. When I got really friendly with my judgements about other people talking too much, I found they were about my reluctance to use my own voice. When I got really friendly with my judgements about other people being messy, I found they were about my need to comply with others’ ideas about order and cleanliness I had received as a child. Each and every judgement pointed to a specific part of myself that I was cut off from! This was truly a revelation for me. And, with practice, I could read these road signs in the moment, even as I was making a judgement about someone, asking, “Wait, what am I really feeling about myself that this person is reminding me about?”


Then I had to do the work to reclaim all of these lost and hidden parts, in which my yoga and meditation practice were instrumental. It was a long process, but now I no longer need to think of myself as good or bad, but as a human being, who sometimes does things that turn out well and sometimes causes unwanted consequences, like we all do. And here’s the magical part (not really magic, but it sure seems that way sometimes): When I could tell myself, “I love and accept my body and my weight.” I did not have any need to judge other people’s body weight at all. Accepting myself fully allowed me to interact with others from my wholeness, and that meant that I could also accept them in their wholeness, exactly as it presented itself. There was no longer any need to judge at all. The founding Teacher of my tradition gave us five Sutras for the Aquarian Age, the intense and profoundly changing times we are living in. They are similar to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, short aphorisms that describe how to live our yoga. I never understood and always wondered about this one: Recognize That the Other Person Is You. Now I believe this is what he was trying to tell us, each person we meet is us. We are all one. So my every interaction with you can show me more of myself. And from that understanding, I can do nothing but become more whole and appreciate the whole of others. My prayer is that we may all do this work, to eliminate separation and make our world whole.

Livdhyan, SivaOM Yoga

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