The Full Identity of Anything Includes Absolutely Everything

Today, I was asked “What do we do about the problem of identity?” This is a really great question. My answer is to begin by directly realizing that nothing is separate from you. Things appear distinct and have distinct properties, but are not separate in their being — nothing stands alone, everything exists only in interdependent relationships.

In a very real sense, to be is to be together, to inter-be. When we come to understand interbeing, we begin to see that the full identity of anything includes absolutely everything.  This holds true for you, too.

Don’t take this on faith; investigate it for yourself.  Reflect on things and on what conditions they require for their being.  Then see how those conditions have conditions of their own.  See how everything exists together, nothing alone.  See that though there is no separately existing self, we all share a common Self composed of the whole web of interbeing itself; all distinct animate and inanimate beings and the contingent, unidirectional, bidirectional, and multidirectional relationships between them are included within this nondual identity.  Keep looking and inquiring for yourself; question and look deeply.  Look to your direct experience and knowledge to lead you to the insight of nonduality.

Once you achieve it, let this insight sink in from your head to your heart to your gut and down into the very marrow of your bones. Then try to live its implications; relate to others directly from the realization that they are not separate from you and their suffering is your suffering. For me, this means practicing compassion, kindness, and mindfulness as best I can.

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