This series of blog poste are based on a conversation I had with Shana James.
She and I were investigating the art of getting someone’s world.
The part I want to go into first is – what exactly do we mean by someone’s world?
Because, we could call it – the art of getting world.
Consider this: what if we say that there is no such thing as a world. What if we actually said that perhaps the greatest superstition we all share is that there is a world our there – that there is one world. For instance, when the alarm clock goes off in the morning, and I hit the button, open my eyes and look out – that I think I see what’s there. That there is one world. Seems like it, right? Seeming, that’s an important word.
Yet, I think that it’s pretty easy to understand that if there was just one world, then there would be no reason to get someone else’s world. Right?
This is important, because in order to practice the art of getting another persons world that is an idea that makes the difference. There is no the world.
Because, if there was only one world, then I could just read about it and everyone would feel deeply gotten. Right? Au contraire, no, it’s their world, your world, my world. And then we have to ask: what exactly does that mean? And what do I (or each of us) have to do with it? Do I have anything to do with the world?
If there is your world, and my world, does that mean that we are all only living in our own little worlds? Its kind of like Linus, from Charlie Brown – remember him, the kid who always had a cloud over his head everywhere he went? Maybe we all have our own little worlds that we are born with and walk around in.
And, then, we can practice the art of getting another persons work and get Linus’s world: “Oh, Linus I get your world, its kind of like its raining all the time.” And he goes, “Oh, I feel so deeply seen by you.” And at that moment the cloud parts for the first time, the sun shines, and then he doesn’t know who he is… so he has the cloud come back above him again.
Shana: Can I ask a question? In some ways he (Linus) may not feel fully gotten in that moment. He may be like, “Yes, of course its raining all the time. That’s the world. Don’t you see it?”
Guy: Yes, and lets assume that Linus was talking earlier about how he felt separate. And I would ask him, “Is that something you experience often? Because the moment you said felt separate – how was that for you?” Again, practicing the art of getting another’s world…
So the idea here is that we are starting to go into really being with people. Being with them and seeing what they are seeing. All we are always seeing is what we call “our world”. And it is our world. But, how exactly do we do that? What’s our involvement in continually creating our world? Do we create it?
It’s definitely a big Northern California sort of assumption, right? We create our own reality. I would imagine, on some level, that many of us think that. We may find that – on one level this whole world thing is really complex, but on another level its very very simple. I often find that to be the case when we start talking about deeper truths – that there’s this combination of deep complexity and butt ass simplicity, like duh.
So, here’s an example. At the end of the day, when someone asks me how I’m doing, and I don’t just give the – ‘I don’t want to relate to you so I’m good’ answer – and I check in with myself before I answer, what exactly am I checking in with?
I’m checking in with my experience. I’m feeling my sensations, seeing how I’m feeling and thinking, and then I arrive at this overall gestalt of the quality of my experience. And whatever that quality is, has me determine weather I say good, bad, or something else.
So, really, at the end of the day what I care about is the quality of my experience. Yet, often I don’t realize that. Often I don’t make that distinction. I think that most of us hardly ever make that distinction. So lets call out this important distinction right now: the distinction between the quality of my experiences verses what I’m experiencing.
Advertisers know and feed off of the fact that we usually collapse these two things, right? They know that, actually, you don’t want the BMW; rather you want the experience that you think the BMW will give you.
That’s why, when I’m coaching people, I ask them, “What do you want?”
And they say, “I want a BMW.”
And I say, “Of course you do. Now, lets say you have the BMW in your left hand. If you had that BMW, what would that give you?”
And you say, “Well, people would look up to me.”
And I say, “And if they looked up to you, what would that give you?”
Your response, “Well, then I’d feel better than everyone.”
So I ask, “Oh, if you felt better than everyone, what would that give you?”
And you say, “Well, then I would know that I was ok. I would know I was doing the right thing.”
Now, lets say that ok-ness was in your right hand. BMW in your left. You could have either the BMB or the ok-ness. What do you think most people say to that choice?
10 times out of 10 they are going to say the ok-ness.
We buy things and want things largely because of what we think the things will give us – the experience, rather than the thing itself.
And we often don’t distinguish between the two. And advertisers will bank on that. They go – something’s really wrong, but…here’s a way you can make it better…
In other words, they confirm that you’re messed up and flawed, but…then they say they can make you feel better by having new objects rather than a new relationship to your world. They just do what your mind is already doing anyway; they just take it and amplify it.
Really, at the end of the day, the difference that makes the difference that has me say if I’m doing good or doing bad is the quality of my experience.
So, in thinking about this, the question that I’ve been inside of is this: what is the difference that makes the difference in the quality of my experience? And do I have anything to do or say about the quality of my experience? Or don’t I? Do I just wake up into it, and it’s the way it is, and I just am supposed to embrace and accept it?
Or, do I have a lot to do with it?
Or, do I meet it halfway?
What is the difference?
Lets look at it this way: lets say that Shana and I go out to the park for the afternoon. Lets imagine that we finally have a break, its sunny, it’s the perfect day and we are chilling. We lie out a blanket and sit down, relaxing, not saying anything, and just enjoying the sun. We are finally resting. It’s so perfect.
Then, out of nowhere, a cloud comes over us ant it starts dumping rain.
And I get up and I’m like, “God dam it! It always works out like this! #%%#*”
But, alternately, Shana just sits there and enjoys the way the rain feels, and the sensations, and she is having thoughts like, “Oh, isn’t it so cool how unpredictable life is.”
We both experience the same what. Yet, the quality of our experience is so different. Why is that?