“It is always astonishing to me to find out that someone else sees what I have seen, and always humbling to learn that what I thought was my path and my mountain is everyone's.”
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening, p.231)
It is always tempting to think of oneself as unique. And, certainly, we are told by all the self-help books in the world that we are one of a kind. But, let's face it, all of our DNA is identical to every other human's, and not that different from, say, a chicken's (65%). When it comes to the great apes, we share 98.8 % with Bonobos and Chimps. Even some of the “lower” animals such as dogs (84%) and mice (90%), are blood brothers and sisters. So, we can get off our ego-trip about how exceptional we are, and put our feet back on the ground.
We humans also have a tendency to think that our troubles and our gifts are unique. “Nobody knows the trouble I've seen...” Think again! Lots of people have seen the same trouble and worse—much worse. I, for one, have been poor. I lived in poverty as a young child—as did most of my cousins, but I have never lived in a war torn area, nor in a refugee camp. I am able-bodied, while both of my sisters were disabled. Everyone totes their share of baggage on this mountain path.
My gifts are in the area of creativity. I write, make art—but I am no Frank Lloyd Wright, no Harper Lee or Georgia O'Keeffe. There are many people walking this earth and many long gone, whose gifts in these areas far exceed my own. I am not unique. We share this mountain with all who have gone before us, and all who will come after us. It is simply our job to carry water while we're here. But, we are called upon to carry that water to the very best of our ability, and to share it with the rest of creation—with the chimps, and the mice, and the chickens—with our brothers and sisters. I don't have to be exceptional to be essential, and neither do you.
In the Spirit,