There’s really no such thing as “your question,” “his question,” “her question,” “my dilemma,” “your problem.” These are all shared. There’s only a pool of so many problems, so many circumstances, so many dilemmas, so many things to be worked out and understood, and everybody takes their little pile out of that common pile. Anytime you think of something as yours, the wiser understanding is that it’s not yours at all: It’s everybody’s. You just grabbed that one for now. It’s like reaching into a grab bag with your eyes closed. You pull out something and then that gets to be yours for a while. Understand well that it’s a common bag. If you’re thinking of it as your problem, you’re already in the wrong direction because you’re already misunderstanding that your problem is everybody’s problem. You aren’t that different from everybody else. If I wanted to say it more controversially, I would say you’re exactly like everybody else.
There really aren’t big differences between people. There are small differences, certainly, but big differences? You would have to argue with me for a while to convince me. I have been working with people for thirty years; I have yet to see any big differences. Young, old, tall, short, black, white—I have yet to see any big differences. But we walk around thinking there are differences. We walk around thinking that I’m this way and she is that way and he is that way. If you look a little more intelligently, a little closer, a little deeper, then you start to see very quickly, very easily that these so-called differences aren’t only clearly superficial, but they may not amount to any real differences at all.
The wise approach, if you ask me, is to consider yourself the same as everybody else. I’m saying to you that any time you consider yourself as “different”—whether better or worse, higher or lower, smarter or not as smart, more successful or less successful—whatever comparison you’re making, the wiser approach is to assume you’re wrong in that comparison. Because you will be, because there’s no correct comparison. Comparison means, “I’m not seeing clearly.” You’re only seeing part of something. You aren’t seeing the whole package. You’re only looking at one aspect and saying, “Ah, there’s a difference.” But if you broaden your looking and look at the whole package, the difference will disappear.
It sounds simple enough—it sounds easy to accept. Intelligent, spiritual-minded people like everybody in this room will probably accept that readily. But has it permeated everything you look at? When your mind says, “Oh, now I have this problem. Damn,” does the thought follow right after that, “Oh, wait a minute; if it’s my problem it’s probably everybody’s problem, or at least a lot of other people’s”? Until then, until it’s automatic to recognize the commonality of all things, you’re probably falling victim to the errors of comparison, the confusion of seeing yourself as not like everyone else.
The amazing thing is that you will be right so much of the time when you look at it that way, that you can use it as a rule. You will be wrong once in ten years, if at all. Since it’s ninety-nine point nine nine nine percent of the case, why not just adopt it as the case? A whole lot of problems, issues, dilemmas, suddenly don’t have the same shape. If they are recognized as common dilemmas, as everybody’s dilemma instead of “my dilemma,” that’s completely different. Suddenly you aren’t alone; you aren’t different; everybody else doesn’t have it better regarding that one thing. Suddenly maybe you don’t have it so bad regarding that one thing.
The wonderful vantage point of sitting in this chair is you get to see only one person. Whoever it is, it’s the same person again and again. Whatever the question, it’s the same question again and again. Everybody should sit in this chair for at least a day. You will be amazed. You will be amazed at how everybody is confused; everybody thinks it’s them, when it’s so clearly everybody.
This is what all worry comes from. The word “worry” is very significant because most people are caught in it. It’s not possible to worry when you really recognize, when you get it completely that what you’re worried about is everybody’s concern. It’s only worrisome, it only troubles you, it only anguishes you, when you think it’s yours. If it’s not yours, how big a problem can it be?
An excerpt from Swami Premodaya’s book ~ Truth Speaks: Answers from the Master, Volume 1