What If You Lived All Lives?

on March 4 | in Individual Improvement | by | with 2 Comments

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The concept of the One Consciousness is that all of existence is but one awareness. You and I, we are manifestations of this One – we are the self-experiencing of God as Brahman. I’ve been moved to poetry and stirred to gaze into infinity by the concept alone many times. Whether or not you feel spiritual movement from those thoughts or seek along other paths, there’s an interesting thought experiment that comes out of these ideas.

What if you lived all lives?


I’ve had no formal introduction into Hinduism- the closest I’ve come is reading books and listening to guided meditation by the always-excellent Deepak Chopra. I also don’t exclusively follow it as a spiritual path either, as my recent post on mysticism and my older post on mantras illustrate.

All that said, though, one of the realizations that comes out of contemplation of Brahman is this: There is no difference at all between the other and the self. Your soul is the witness consciousness, and when you free yourself from the delusions of attachment and clinging that very awareness is the awareness of God. And in all beings and all things that witness exists and is the very same witness as lies in you – thus, you are all beings in all of time. All things, always.

What If You Lived All Lives?

Suppose for a moment that you are in fact all beings – just let it be so. Suppose also that the immediacy of experience for all beings lies ahead of you. Sort of like the popular idea of reincarnation, which of course has it wrong. Except for this train of thought, you aren’t going to be reborn into another body but rather you will exist again as all beings, forever. Until you get it right, perhaps? That includes the people, the animals, the trees, the insects. Perhaps further, into the inanimate objects, if you’re comfortable digging deeper.

What Would You Strive For?

If it were so, would you still strive for the same things you try to get now? Would your personal goals be as relevant, or relevant at all? To encourage your future happiness, you would mentally move to a place of trying to create happiness for others. It would be in your own interest to seek only a minimum of happiness for yourself here and now, because overall seeking the greatest general happiness for all would be one of your guiding principles.

Certainly, goals of wealth, ownership, and all materialistic things would dissipate. You’d want to be kind to all the people you meet, you’d want to comfort the animals and little creatures, you’d want to vigorously resist the deluded people of ill intent. Although those people of ill intent are your future selves, you’d want to stop them because their negativity would impact your other future selves.

Even enlightenment itself would not be something to be strived for except to promote the happiness of all.

What Would You Worry About?

If it were so, would you still worry about the same things you worry about now? Would popularity matter at all for yourself, and instead wouldn’t you be much more diligent in giving gratitude and recognition to people around you? You would actively seek out the unhappy and miserable, not to join them in their depressing circles, but to try to lift them up.

Goals of personal health, comfort, and ease would dissipate. You’d be free of base addictions and urges, because you’d know that you’ll come again and everything that can be experienced, you will experience. There’d be no sense of lack, no sense of effort or hard struggle to attain happiness later. You’d never envy another, because you will experience what it is to be that other. You’d never be cruel or subjugate others – you’d see that all negativity you put out there ultimately harms yourself. You’d become free of attachment.

Worries and anxieties would vanish, and in the final analysis you’d also be free of fear. You’d become free of internal movement despite being continuously engaged in a broad, life-long effort to elevate all beings.

How Would You Understand The World?

If it were so, would you look at how other people act differently? Would you see the plight of animals and of abusive working conditions in other countries differently? You’d have complete compassion for the oppressors and the oppressed, for the consumers and the consumed. You’d be free of judgment that dismisses, you’d be free of hate.

You’d see anger differently and you would strive mightily to connect with and correct those who are hurting others. You’d see every relationship and event as a chance to improve – not yourself, but the world. You’d ultimately come to care for the world more than you care about yourself, for in the truth of the One you would see that the world outside of yourself is ultimately “more you” than the tiny self you’ve been carrying around.

What Would You Do?

  • You’d speak sweet words and carry the heaviest load for your wife or husband, because you want your husband or wife to speak sweetly and help with the weight.
  • You’d take time for and listen to your son or daughter, because you want your Dad or Mom to take time for you.
  • You’d call up friends, because you want to be called.
  • You’d not underpay your employees, because you want to be treated equitably.
  • You’d be open with your boss, because you want to be free of worry about your business.
  • You’d pet your dog or cat, because you want your owner to include you and love you.
  • You’d care about the disposition of wealth because you want to provide for your children.
  • You’d care about animal cruelty and be against hunting because you want to run in the meadows.
  • You’d care about the happiness of all beings because you want to be happy.

That sounds pretty good to me.

Thanks for reading,

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2 Responses

  1. I love the concept here, being something because you would want that something to be, your post does make me think, which is what you were aiming for I guess, so good work. I guess you could relate this to “do unto others as you would have them do to you” because ultimately you are them.

    • Matt says:

      Exactly so, Robert! This thought experiment led me directly to the golden rule, which is always a good place to end up. Thanks so much for reading and commenting! 🙂

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