What specific part of a tree represents the entirety of a tree? What part stands alone and can be called a tree? The tree is not the separate roots, branches, trunk, or leaves. Yet all the parts make the whole of what we call tree. We can’t define the “self” by its parts. Nor can we define tree by examining a leaf. We can only experience the “tree” as tree.
It’s good to be able to simply, fragment, and focus on life’s intricacies. And, it’s also helpful to always see the ecology of life’s connections. There were times in the past when contemplating the complexity of the weave of life was emotionally disturbing, life is far more complex, intricate, and enmeshed than any one of us can see clearly at any given time.
It’s so easy to get caught in the trap of evaluating self and others without seeing the bigger picture of how humans become who we think we are at any given moment. Yet no one chooses to be who they are, sure choices were made, but the outcome was influence by a million different things, biology, upbringing, body type, health, cultural and social influence, schooling, peer groups, and let’s not forget the media. Media has far more influence on who we think we are more than ever in our history.
It seems important to realize that all my contact with others only offers this tiny slice of who they are in totality. Who am I to judge by that small slice, that fragment of an entire life? I wrestle with this a lot. It’s much easier to have an attitude and place others in a box. Yet I know that’s not helpful if I want to see others and self in a clearer view. More will be revealed as the process continues to evolve.