Question: I identify with what Sampha is saying here. I’m a dancer and no one knows me like music and a dance floor– it’s so personal that I’ve never experienced anyone else understand me like this.
Michael Richardson-Borne: What is the music understanding? Take a closer look at this. Can music understand anything? If no, then maybe this is you understanding more about yourself rather than being understood by something outside of yourself.
But, if this is the case, then the question goes to the self– what is this entity that you think you are understanding or that is being understood?
Q: I am understanding me. The freedom of who I truly am.
MR-B: Can the freedom of who you truly are be constricted by the me you reference?
If so, this me is a hindrance to your natural state and does not include the whole of who you are. It is a division imposed on you by the mind. It is something separate, imagined, unreal.
Q: But there is no me there when I’m dancing. I’m in flow.
MR-B: Ok. Well, how can you understand more about a self that isn’t there? How can music understand a self that isn’t there? Are you possibly discovering something else that you aren’t recognizing? Is the disappearing and reappearance of a self-revealing something?
Notice how the short escapes from the self hold great meaning to you. Your intuition is that this experience is one of extreme value– trust this intuition. But, rather than this being thought of as a personal experience as you called it, is it possible that this experience is giving you a glimpse of the impersonal? Truth is, you are not separate from the music or the dance floor and dancing is giving you a preview of this. Your interpretation is that the dance is important to the separate self rather than seeing that the dance is calling attention to the illusion of the separate self– you’re using the tool to fortify your belief system, not to put your assumption of a separate self in its proper place.
To feel understood, one must understand. Understanding comes from the realization of non-separation, an impersonal experience of being that includes the personal. The nature of the impersonal, non-separation, frees one from the necessity of being understood, even the possibility of it, as there is nothing outside of the self to understand anything “inside” of it.
Separation, even in full equality, only offers pseudo-intimacy with objects by objects that do not know the inherent intimacy of the self. That’s why there is nothing like relationship to reveal one’s separative assumptions. When one seeks total understanding from an inanimate object, an activity, or even another human being, it becomes the perfect relationship for the separate self whose function as an object is singular– to remain separate. The only way around these hurtful feelings of being misunderstood is to realize that what you want to be acknowledged, an entrenched definition of the separate self, is not real in the way you think it is.
Non-separation knows that greater and lesser degrees of understanding may happen in the world of separation– but it can never be total because being understood has nothing to do with who you think you are, it has everything to do with who you really are.
Q: In the song, Sampha says the piano showed him he had soul. This is important in the development of an artist and for every human being. How can anyone say that this does not matter to the self? I don’t care if the self is real or not– this matters.
MR-B: Let’s take a step back for a second and ask a question. What do you mean when you say soul? Do you mean an independent creative voice, a depth of feeling, a vibe, or something more religious in nature? Whatever your definition, it’s something that a separate self is in ownership of and can express as he or she wishes once they realize they have it– which is an activity of separation and the assumption of self-authorship.
So, again, take a closer look. Who has soul? And to whom does the possession and expression of this soul matter? Focus on the quality of the presence that is aware of who you think you are in this moment.
Q: I really don’t understand. How can you say that people like my family and friends don’t know me when they’re the only ones who actually do?
MR-B: If they don’t know themselves, how is it possible for them to know you? They know who you are not and reinforce your own assumption about your self by reassuring you that who you think you are is actually the case. This is how the world of separation survives.
No one really knows anyone else. We all know consciousness. All else that is attributed to being you is a set of mental habits recognized by the awareness that underlies the separate self. Your family and friends will never be able to know you as you currently wish. They will be able to become you though– if you recognize the truth of non-separation.
Q: How is this knowledge useful? All it’s going to do is confuse everybody. This is not how the world works.
MR-B: Everybody is already confused. That is exactly what I’m pointing out.
How the world works is based on the foundational assumption of a separate self– the very definition of confusion. Our current collective agreement in the truth of separation is a condition where confusion covers the source of life.
Q: Ok. So can you briefly explain it all again?
We started this conversation exploring what Sampha meant when he claimed that “no one knows me like the piano.” This was a statement that you took to heart and have experienced yourself through dance.
The challenge, for you, became one of misplaced identity by incorrectly assuming that there is a separate self that can be known by objects, by others, or by what you call “me.”
The invitation here was to investigate if this “me” is an observation being observed by an observer. And, if so, to inquire into how this relationship dynamic between the observed and the observer creates the confusion about the existence of a separate self.
Understanding the natural state of this observer is non-separation– the key to dropping the expectation of being known or understood.