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Home / Articles / Columnists / Life 101 /  Being part of something bigger than yourself
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Thursday, January 7,2016

Being part of something bigger than yourself

By Cary Bayer  

One of a human being’s deepest desires is to be part of something bigger than himself or herself. This urge is so universal that it finds its expression in a virtually infinite range of forms. Depending on your level of consciousness, the thing that you can be a part of might be a tennis team that you play for; a sports team that you root for; a club that you’ve joined; a political party that you volunteer for; a church or synagogue group that you donate your time to; a cause that you believe in; a charity you fundraise for; or, if you’re a yogi like me, the Universe that you want to be at one with. The wonderful thing about being a human being is that you can find fulfillment at any of these or a myriad of other bigger than yourself causes that you like.

What’s interesting about the power of the meditator or the yogi is that the thing that they want to be a part of that’s bigger than themselves is the Universe itself, which when they fulfill their spiritual quest, turns out to be their Self. But not the body that they look at in the mirror or the personal self that they show the world, but the transpersonal Self that they can contact in meditation at the quietest level of the mind, in the Transcendent itself.

Watching the 2015 World Series, I was struck by the passionate way in which New York Mets fans were roaring and cheering, “Let’s go Mets!” to inspire their heroes on almost every pitch. They were rabid for their heroes, ballplayers who wouldn’t know any of those fans if they met them at a party, not that these players with multi-million dollar contracts are likely to be hanging out at parties with the bus drivers or house painters who scream their lungs out for them. When I looked closely, I could see that these rabid fans were strengthened by the 40,000 other fans, who similarly cheered on their athletes that represented their city, in their stadium - Citi Field. It’s as if these Mets were defending New York itself against the men of Kansas City, whose Royals were somehow attempting to attack the Big Apple. The powerful fan support was an echo of the long-ago love that women and children had for the brave men who did in fact defend their cities against those who would invade them.

This impulse to be part of something bigger than yourself isn’t a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just a natural thing. I’m amused by it when, while driving in a gated community to visit a friend, I’m waved at by pedestrians who assume that I live there and am thus part of that something bigger that they’re part of, too - namely the community. This wanting to be part of something bigger than yourself, however, can be quite negative when there’s anger or hostility directed at those who aren’t part of that something that’s bigger than you. This often takes the form of a different political party than yours, a different nation than yours, or a different religious affiliation than yours. Lord knows, a lot of blood has been shed for far too long among nations and religions towards those who were not part of those nations or religions.

The good news about being part of something bigger than yourself when it’s aligned with the Universe itself is that there’s no hostility towards those who are not so inclined. What’s more, when you have successfully become a part of the Universe - being at one with and at peace with all that there is - a great deal of compassion swells up in the heart. The Buddhists talk about the Bodhisattva, the spiritual aspirant who vows to delay his own enlightenment to help all beings gain their enlightenment. One who has gone beyond his individual ego and its small concerns to be part of all there is has become identified with that which is bigger than himself, and that gives him the serenity to care for all those around him, no matter what they look like; no matter what their political affiliation happens to be; no matter what religion they belong to or don’t belong to; no matter what their sexual orientation happens to be. Such a person can look at humanity and say quietly in his heart, “Let’s go Men, let’s go Women!” And work to make the planet a healthy place for all to live in, no matter what group they want to be a part of.

 

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