a simple book that will change your life
The ocean and the drop
The ocean and the drop is a simple analogy but it is fundamental to achieving balance.
It hinges around the way that you perceive yourself (the individual) and everything that is around you (the collective).
It would be fair to say that most people see themselves as a distinct person that is separate and unconnected to everything that is around them. This view of life is known as a dualistic ego perspective. The perspective is dualistic because it implies that you and the rest of the universe are two separate and distinct things. The ego is the sense that a person has of being a separate entity or a separate individual.
The fuel of the ego is fear.
So what is wrong with someone seeing themselves as an individual?
In short there is nothing wrong with this view but to achieve balance someone must understand the exact opposite perspective to this, the holistic view.
Let us first imagine that the universe is like a vast ocean of energy. Einstein told us that E=mc2, which means that matter is actually only a different form of energy. So in effect everything, including you, is merely energy in different forms! Please excuse the physics but it is the best way to explain the ocean and the drop.
So it turns out that you are actually a little squiggle or drop of energy, in a vast ocean of energy that is known as the universe.
If you imagine a drop of water in an ocean, and then ask the question ‘Is the drop a separate drop of water or is it just a small and integral part of the whole ocean?’ The answer to this would be that both statements are true and it would depend on how you were looking at it.
The separate drop is the equivalent of the dualistic ego perspective.
Seeing yourself as being a small part of the whole ocean is a holistic perspective. This is where you consider yourself to be an integral part of the collective. With this view you are connected to everything around you and are part of the whole. You are not a separate entity.
If you imagine your ego to be like a lens that zooms in and out. If the lens is zoomed in then you see yourself as a separate entity (100% ego state) and if it is zoomed out then you see yourself as part of the whole (0% ego state).
It can be seen that if your zoom lens is not working very well because it is locked in an ego perspective then this will cause poor decision making and consequently affect your balance.
It also turns out that the degree to which you zoom in and out of your ego state affects your perception of time. If you are absorbed in something and zoomed in then time appears to pass more quickly and if you are zoomed out in a meditative state then time appears to run more slowly. How long you live for, or at least appear to live for, will depend on your perception! So if you want to live longer start meditating.
So it turns out that you are actually a little squiggle or drop of energy, in a vast ocean of energy that is known as the universe. You can either see yourself as separate to the ocean or as an integral part of the whole ocean. Achieving balance involves understanding both viewpoints.
The engine driver and the passenger
The question I am going to ask you is that if your life was like a train then would you be the engine driver in control of what happens to you or would you simply be a passenger who just accepts what happens to you without any control over the events in your life?
I would guess that you would say that you are the engine driver as ordinary logic would tell you that you are in control of your own actions.
For an explanation let us go back to the analogy of the ocean and the drop. The question is:
’Is it the drop that decides where it moves or is it the forces acting on the drop from the ocean that determines the motion of the drop?’
The answer to this question is that both things are true and it would depend if you were looking from the perspective of the drop or from the perspective of the ocean.
Common sense would suggest that given that the ocean is far larger than the drop that it would control the motion of the drop.
People’s lives behave in much the same way. As discussed earlier, people are like a drop of energy in an ocean of energy that we call the universe. So if you were looking from the perspective of the universe it could be argued that it was the forces of the universe acting on a person that was causing the events in that person’s life. However from the person’s perspective it appears that they were controlling the events in their life. As an example, if you were to lift up your hand then is it you doing it or is it the forces acting upon you from the universe? Both ways it would feel the same and so it would just depend on how you were looking at it. Think about those old Hollywood movies where someone is driving a car that is obviously static in the studio and the background is moving to create the appearance of motion. The same question can be asked ‘Is it the car moving or is it the scenery?’ Is it the universe moving or is it you? As Einstein pointed out in his paper on relativity, it is the relative motion that is the important thing. The universe could be static and you are moving or you could be static and the universe is moving; either way it would feel the same.
This creates the paradox that a person is both the engine driver and the passenger in their life at the same time. This seeming coexistence of opposites is possible because events can be viewed from different perspectives and both the ocean and drop are connected, which isn’t immediately obvious.
This paradox has profound implications for the way your life can be viewed and for your ability to achieve balance.
Let us first consider what it means to be a passenger. In this scenario it is the forces of the universe acting upon us that decides what happens to us and we do not have any control over the events in our lives. If you consider the size of the universe relative to us then the idea of the universe controlling events is easy to visualise.
In this instance it follows that from the moment you are born until the moment you die events are predetermined and controlled by the universe. So how can you take responsibility for what happens? Because it was out of your control and was always going to happen anyway.
If you look at things in this way then it can be seen that the idea of guilt becomes unworkable. How can you feel guilty about something that was going to happen anyway and was outside your control?
If you visualise the corkscrew ride at Alton Towers where the start represents your birth and the finish is your death. In the passenger view the universe decides what your unique ride is going to be for your life. You have no choice in the ride or the events that happen to you in your life. However this is a power-sharing deal between you and the universe, and you are given a choice on how you react to what happens to you on the ride, or the degree to which you enjoy or love the ride.
So you could go through the ride (your life) saying this is unfair, I wish this was different, I am worried about what happens in the future or alternatively you could accept the fact that you were a passenger and simply say I accept what is happening to me because it was going to happen anyway. In fact one end of the scale would be to say I love every moment of the ride and the other to say I hate (or 0% love) every moment of the ride. As with different people’s lives, everyone’s ride is different and the ride can be more extreme for some people than others.
When you start to understand the passenger view it can be quite liberating. It feels like the burdens of expectation, responsibility, guilt and fear are lifted from your shoulders and they are replaced with a feeling of acceptance that whatever happens to you was going to happen anyway. There is a feeling of accepting what actually is and not craving what you want events to be because the passenger realises that what is going to be is going to be, so why not learn how to enjoy it?
The engine driver view is, of course, the ego perspective. You see yourself as an individual who is in control of your own destiny. You take full responsibility for all your actions. This view can be quite exhausting as you always have to be alert to make sure everything is running OK. Meanwhile the passenger is relaxing in autopilot mode.
How is the engine driver going to feel at the end of the corkscrew ride, having been tense the whole way, only to find that the ride was going to happen that way anyway regardless of their input?
The universe has created the perfect system. You get the full experience of being the engine driver and being in control of your life but at the same time the controls have been disconnected without your knowledge and are in fact controlled by the universe. So the universe is like a driving instructor car with dual controls that can be used simultaneously, one set for it and one set for you and so everyone is happy.
The engine driver and the passenger analogy is another example of understanding different perspectives to create a more balanced view of life. For many people they almost fight against their life whereas with the passenger perspective they could flow naturally with their life.
Is it about time you became a passenger and learnt to enjoy events in your life more? They are going to happen anyway!
Your life is like the corkscrew ride at a theme park. The universe chooses the ride, which is different for all of us, and you choose how much you enjoy the ride. You can choose to look at it from the perspective of an engine driver or from the perspective of a passenger but, either way, it is going to happen anyway.