“To you, I shall be unique in all the world…”
– The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
We are all waves in the vast ocean of life.
As the ocean, as consciousness itself, we are all the same in essence – in other words, there is no ‘you’ separate from ‘me’. That division never, ever happened. You are what I am – Life itself.
But at the same time, without contradiction, each of us is a totally unique wave in that vast ocean of consciousness. We are each individual, indivisible and irreplaceable expressions of life itself. Your face, your voice, your eyes, your hair, your unique talents and skills and gifts and life experiences, your sense of humour, your loves and passions, your imperfections and your little quirks. Your unique flavour. The scent of this totally original flower that you are. None of this organismic uniqueness can be denied.
But so much of traditional spirituality, religion and modern psychology has been about trying to erase our uniqueness, trying to get us to fit in to some image of ‘normality’ or ‘goodness’ or even ‘enlightenment’, trying to help us ‘lose our personalities’ and become One with All. But this attempt to destroy our precious uniqueness is based on a terrible misunderstanding of who we really are! For the Oneness that we long for and seek is not opposed to uniqueness, just as the ocean cannot be opposed to any of its waves, ever. Uniqueness is actually the way in which Oneness expresses itself. Each wave is a perfect expression of its Source.
All of which is to say, it is the denial of our wave-ness, our unique qualities, talents, atrributes, gifts and even imperfections, the rejection of this never-to-be-repeated expression of life that we are, the suffocation and blockage of this original and unparalleled life energy, that is the beginning of our misery. Reject your uniqueness, and you will suffer and eventually suffocate. Reject it for long enough and you will live a life of quiet desperation and anxiety, and you may even get to the point where suicide – through drink, drugs or the actually killing of the body – seems like the only viable option.
Seen in the light of awareness, though, this suffering is not a ‘punishment’, but is actually a passionate longing for the destruction of that which appears to block our uniqueness. It is a call back to the truth of ourselves. The longing for death is actually the longing for life. It is a call back to a radical honouring of life in the here and now.
We may be the ocean, we are also unique expressions of that ocean, and the denial of either aspect of this paradoxical truth is going to hurt.
We are One, yes, but we are not the same.