A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
`Albert Einstein, via Interlude Thought of the Day on April 17, 2013
When I was a kid we would travel to my grandparents in Michigan. On almost every trip we’d pop popcorn on the stove, put it in bags, and head to the local pond to feed the ducks. I remember how it felt being close to these animals, to look into their eyes and try to understand what it was like living as a duck.
I can’t say that I ever really figured out what it means to be a duck, but I think it was these kinds of moments when I started to gain an understanding that I wasn’t that different. They got hungry just like me, and seemed to enjoy the popcorn just like me. Some of them would sleep or warm themselves in the sun, just like I enjoyed the warmth of the sun on a chilly day. They were alive and part of the world, and there I was connecting with them (albeit through bribery!).
I’m not sure if the little kid above is having a similar experience, but I hope that he’s starting to recognize what Einstein did.
Have a great weekend!