Today is Lunar New Year eve. Since I am a Chinese, “lunar new year” has a meaning to me. But it doesn’t bear any meaning to any other race. It is queer how being a chinese, the celebration becomes real. If I am born into a chinese family and do not look at all like any other chinese, and being adopted by another race, “lunar new year” doesn’t make any sense to me. Funny isn’t it?
Am I really really a “chinese” or is it simply a meaning the world gave me? I would not be called a chinese if I am adopted to a different family race. What has label got to do with my true beingness? But one thing is for sure – each label locks me into a separation from others. Each label is a meaning the world gave me and in return I give it to the world.
My name is a label, my gender is a label, my positioning in the family is also another label. Race, religion, citizen, marital status, career status, are each label that make specialness out of me. Even the “my”, “I” or “me” is the basic label that defines me different from anyone else. For that I am separated from each and everyone else. I am unique in that sense. But that uniquenesss is far from the truth.
At the bottom of all these forms are the same essence that you and me are carrying – experiences. Not the experiences of storylines and dramas, which are still in the level of form, but experiences of feelings and perceptions – joy, pain, upset, happiness, anguish, peace, jealousy, judgment, sadness and whatever that is. They are not new at all to you and me. My jealousy feeling is no different from your jealousy feeling. My anger is no different from your anger except probably in intensity.
My friend’s five year old child told her what it is like when she experience jealousy – it is not something new to the child, and there is no necessity to teach or explain what jealousy is – we are all ancient beings, going round and round in all these emotions.
So what is so different from you and me? Do I have more happiness than you? Probably yes, for each emotion is dependent on how I give meaning to each form, in other words, my attachment to the experience. One dollar could mean differently to anyone. To a beggar, a one dollar experience is different from a rich guy. A trickle of water in a desert has a different meaning from a trickle of water from the tap. The meaning we put into each form is all our experiences of feelings.
Do I have more jealousy than you? Probably too, depending on my views of what I am experiencing. Thus all my own experiences has nothing to do with the world except the game of my own views and interpretations. Yes, I can be threatened by the world, but how I go through the experience is all I am.
My journey and your journey to earth is like entering a massive amusement park. In it there are lots of toys for me to experience. How I experience those stuff is different from how you experience it. The intensity of my feelings derived from each experience is dependent on the meaning I give to it. But yet I am narrowed down to three types of feelings – pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. That is all it is.
Stripped from all the facades of form and label, we are simply that. Why am I so serious with life? Aren’t we doing time on earth, or anywhere else for that matter, so long as this being call “I” is blinded by labels? Let me share with you here the first lesson from A Course in Miracle:
Nothing I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place] means anything.