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Are we living in different worlds?

awareness mindfulness questions answered spiritual Nov 24, 2020
What we see in the universe is determined by our desires and needs awareness ram dass


(By Eldad Ben-Moshe Reading Time: 3 minutes)

❤ Hey there Better Lifers!

I get asked a lot,

“What do you mean when you say that we see different realities, different worlds?”;

And “What does it mean that we each live in our own universe, our own reality?”

Well, there’s a psychological explanation to that and a spiritual one.

And as you know, I’m a fan of using
both psychology and spirituality for authentic, grounded understanding and growth.

Here’s a great explanation about it that I heard from one of my favorite spiritual teachers (who was also a psychologist and taught psychology at Stanford & Harvard), Ram Dass. 

This explanation focuses more on the psychological answer,
but it’s also one of the doorways to the spiritual answers to those questions:


What I see in the universe is determined by my desires and my needs.

If we were each to describe who is here,
we would each be seeing a different scene.

And we're seeing a scene dependent on our own desires and our own needs.

If you and I walked down the street together and you are full of hunger, and I am full of fear, you will notice on the street restaurants, and I will notice threatening people, and we will each have lived in our own universe, which is a different universe.

My universe was full of potentially threatening people,
and yours was full of McDonald's and pizza restaurants.

And it seemed like we both walked down the same street,
and yet we didn't walk down the same street,

and in that way, the internal quality of our own predicament determined the outward universe we are living in.”

In a different talk, Ram Dass added:

“Who do I see when I look at another human being?
Am I focused?
Which level is my microscope focused at?
Do I see the body?

If my sexual desires are what I'm attached to,
that is what I will see.

A beautiful entity goes by, and I'll go, "Umm."

And you know, yourself, when you walk down the street,
and you're horny, or you're sexually lustful, that's all you see.

You go by a bakery,
and you never even notice it.

But if you are hungry, you notice the bakery and the beautiful whatever-it-is doesn't do a thing to you ...
unless it has a ron in its hand.

That's the predicament:
your desires, your motives, affect your perceptions.

… And if you want to dive a bit deeper,

this one is from his book “Paths to God: Living the Bhagavad Gita”:

“What is getting through and being reflected on your screen is determined by a number of translucent veils that the light has to go through on its way out.

And those veils are the veils of your mind,
your thinking mind.

The veils are your thoughts, the veils are your sense desires, the veils are your feelings—
they’re all the different parts of your personality.

They’re what’s called your ahamkara,
your ego structure.

What that means is that what you end up seeing out there in the world is merely the projection of your own slide show.

That’s nothing new, of course—
I think we’re all basically familiar with that idea;
it’s certainly a common one in modern psychology.

Any psychologist can cite dozens of experiments that prove that motivation affects perception.

If you’re hungry and you walk down the street, you only see what’s edible—
you only notice the doughnut shops and the pizza parlors.

On the other hand,
if you’re horny and you walk down the street,
you only notice what’s makeable.

Now it may be that when you’re horny,
and you walk down the street,
you pass a really good doughnut shop. You’d never notice it.

Later on,
somebody might say, “Is there a good doughnut shop in that town?” 

You’d answer, “Gee, I don’t really know”—
but you could tell them how many sexual competitors, potential makeables, and irrelevants there were!

In other words,
your desires determine what seems to be out there.

Seems to be out there.
You don’t know what’s
really out there —
you only know what you
think is out there.

The manense desires and with thoughts;
it’s collecting now this sense desire, now that thought, now some emotion,
and building a whole mosaic out of it, that we experience as
our ego universes.

What you think is out there, and what I think is out there,
is just us out there.
We don’t know if anything’s out there.

Maybe if neither of us were here, there wouldn’t be anything out there at all . . . or then again, maybe there would be.
We just don’t know.

We can sit around inside our opacities and think about all that, but all of our thoughts will be affected by our opaqueness —
by our desire that there be something out there,
or by our desire that there not be something out there, whichever.

Finally, the only way to get a truer picture of it all is to become less opaque.
And doing that is the game of our sadhana.”

-Ram Dass, “Paths to God: Living the Bhagavad Gita”


To your better life,
with tons of 💖

Eldad Ben-Moshe
Founder, Teacher, and Coach
Better Life Awareness Center