Do you love me? That probably seems like an odd question considering that we have likely never met. Well what if I told you that I love you? You may or may not believe me, but that depends on what your definition of what love is.
If you have read my blog before you may have noticed that I sign every post with some version of “with love, katie” or “with unconditional love and space, katie”. It is usually something along those lines because my intention is to let every person know that they are loved and there is someone out there is holding space for them. I don’t need to have met “you” before to hold a space of love for you, because in my core I know that we are all Love and aren’t even separate. Thus, me loving myself is loving you etc.. This is a very brief, surface level overview of what I believe Love is, but you get the gist for now.
Not everyone defines “love” this way. Love seems to be simultaneously the most simple and complex concept because it isn’t something that can be put into words. We can all feel it, but are we all feeling the same thing? How do we even know or compare?
I asked my previous partner Joseph* what love means to him. As you may have guessed, our answers are completely different. According to his definition, I don’t love him. According to my definition, he doesn’t love me. So how does this even work if by our own definitions we love each other very much and they don’t match?
Joseph is open to receiving the ways that I am capable of expressing love to him and I am open to the ways in which he is capable of expressing love to me. We are also both aware of the ways the “other” expresses love. We don’t need to judge, know, or compare our respective experiences because I can honor and appreciate his reality without analyzing it or trying (because all you can likely do is try) to make sense of it for myself. Joseph’s perspective of love is perfectly valid on its own whether I understand it or not. In addition, the likelihood is that I wouldn’t be able to fully comprehend it (within the first density/ material plane) because I don’t know the full composition of his consciousness that influences his definition of “love”.
If Joseph and I have different ways of expressing love, what are the odds that there are about seven billion more unique ways of showing and feeling love on this planet?
Well what about everything else we experience?
It is one thing to be aware of the table in the room or the tree outside. It is another thing to be aware of other understandings of consciousness.
Here is another example: grief and loss. My grandmother passed away several days ago. I have lost my great-grandparents before, but never a parent or grandparent. I remember when my best friend’s, Camille’s*, grandmother passed away and her personal experience of loss. When I think back to how I remember and experienced her reaction, it is very different from my own. There seems to be more of an open conversation surrounding grief where we hold more space for a wide spectrum of experiences. It could be because it is evident that there are so many ways to go through/react to loss and it seems very unpredictable. It could also be because since it is so unpredictable we don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, so we let them grieve however they want to. Even right now, on the surface it may seem like my sister (Elizabeth*) and I have similar reactions. We both cried and then seemed rather calm. However, it hasn’t even been a week. For me, it has barely set in and that could change when my mother and I (Elizabeth is in South Africa at the moment) go to her apartment, there is no telling how I will feel being there without my grandmother. I could fall apart emotionally in several months. Maybe I stay this “calm” for awhile. Elizabeth* could be very upset and I have no idea. The same goes for my mother. Maybe we all have very different understandings of what Death means to us. That could very well influence our experience of loss. Who knows! I could begin to understand if I asked either of them. Until then there is no reason as to why I would expect either of them to act a certain way regarding my grandmother’s passing now or in the future.
Grounded perspective: It can be very rewarding to be aware that other peoples’ perspectives are infinitely different, just like we hold space for various experiences of loss. It is as if we are all on a different planet! The way we feel and think about things, what we have experienced, our priorities, etc. are all different. It is much easier to move through life unaware of the vastly complex perspectives that exist because we don’t have the ability to peer into someone’s infinite history that creates their perspective (if anyone watches “Black Mirror”, it seems that someone is working on this). Consider this an invitation to realize that the things we think are so simple and everyone agrees on, we are likely taking for granted that we all have the same definition of that experience. Love, career, health, money, family, the best way to make a cappuccino, whether the sky is blue….
Fun aside: It is possible that none of us even see the same colors and there could be no way to know. For example, as children if you see an apple as “red” and I see an apple as “blue” but we are both taught to call the apple “red”, suddenly your “red” and my “blue” are both “red”! So it is possible that none of us even physically see the world the same way!
What if two people call a color the same name but their eyes see different colors? Is it proven that that’s not possible?
Question Date: 2004-11-03
Great question! What you’ve described is entirely possible! In fact, it happens all of the time. You’re quite right that there are physiological differences in people’s eyes. The cells in our retina, called photo receptors, are generally sensitive to what we call blue, green and red colors. It is actually more accurate to say that these photo receptors are generally sensitive to short, medium and long wavelengths because, as you suggest, what one person calls “red” may have different physical properties than what another person calls “red”.
Anyway, simple put: the way you perceive life and the way everyone else perceives life may not be the same. One way to experience awareness is to operate as if you don’t take this for granted and ask questions to understand other streams/experiences of consciousness.
This may seem “extra” (as in this is extra effort to put in on a daily basis) or it could be extremely liberating! Being aware of just how different everyone’s perspectives are and how that is influenced by their own conscious and subconscious experiences can be a wonderful invitation to see how infinitely complex your own world is as well. It can also be a powerful invitation to stand in your own truth and not needing to make other people’s truths your own. For example, if I am insecure about my toes, who knows where that came from. It could be that someone made fun of them when I was six or I stubbed them one too many times. It’s a silly example that isn’t true, my toes are fine. However, sometimes we adopt other people’s insecurities without even checking in to see where they come from in the first place. We don’t know the full composition of their perception, so why would we assume that we should be insecure about the same things? There is no reason for you to feel insecure about your toes just because I may be insecure about mine. Without looking into it deeper and simply adopting my beliefs without question, that could mean that you were unaware of my understanding of consciousness. Unless you were insecure about your toes for your own reasons, that would be different….
This goes for everything. Other people’s urgency doesn’t need to be your own. If someone needs to be in a relationship, have a specific job or cut their lawn by tomorrow, you don’t know where those urgencies are rooted in their multifaceted experience of life. Just because they feel urgent about something doesn’t mean you need to be or are “missing something” if you aren’t. By the way, it would probably take you a lifetime to understand someone’s stream of consciousness within the material plane. Just being aware that it is infinitely complex and that you may not know what their thoughts/actions are rooted in could be enough, depending on what your intentions are. It would be up to you to dive deeper if you felt inspired to.
Spiritual perspective: We all may as well be in different worlds because we probably are! We are all empowered to decide how to interpret the energies around us/God/Unmanifested/Spirit and that is infinitely complex. For example, some view the world through certain religions, faiths, energetic systems etc.. None are more valid than the next. This could provide so much insight into the understandings of Consciousness we are interacting with on a daily basis.
We can also consider the different ways in which we all experience Being. I have no idea how “you” experience Consciousness or what some people would call “meditation”. This seems to be more tricky to describe with words. Instead, how do you meditate? Consider that this could be different for everyone else… or it could be exactly the same 😉 .
with love, katie
*name has been changed