This is a rather strange take on an old topic. I’m going to try and show you the importance of kindness by making you experience your own consciousness – though I won’t claim it will work. Worth a try all the same.
First of all:
- Look at your hand.
- Acknowledge that you know you are looking at your hand.
- Acknowledge that you know that you know you are looking at your hand.
This is both more straightforward and more complicated than it first seems. You know that you are looking at your hand, and that at first might be what you assume to be your consciousness; but then what is it that knows that you know you are looking at your hand?
This is your consciousness – this is the thing that knows. It is the thing that watches. It’s what has watched all these years as we’ve grown up and realised who and where we are, without being those things. It’s the thing that knows that you are female or male, and that you are black or white, but it isn’t those things.
You must understand that your consciousness appears to be separate to the rest of your experience. A lot of people would conclude that this thing that knows you know is the real you, your soul or something. There’s a lot of speculation to be made there. But whatever it is, it is the thing that didn’t ask to be born, that didn’t ask to be black/white, male/female, working class/middle class and so on. This thing that we have inside us is exactly the same as what is inside every single last living thing on this planet. That thing is you – and, in that sense at least, you are everything that is alive.
I’m sure this will seem like a bit of a far-fetched conclusion to come to, but I think it’s a helpful one. If by directly experiencing the same thing that we are all experiencing we can come to an understanding with one another that allows us to be kinder, more caring and less prejudiced, then this is a good thing to think about. In some ways it is the ultimate shared experience, because it is beyond everything that separates people.
So when in doubt about whether to help someone or stick up for the rights of a group or individual, look at your hand and remember that they had as much control over their being born as your consciousness did over yours. This thing that knows we know can feel as if it is helpless to control what is happening to it, and if we can experience that, then so can people less fortunate than ourselves. If that isn’t a spur to be nicer to people then I don’t know what is.