We — I — You — We

I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships.

We all began, way back when, immersed in “we.” There was no separation, for better or worse, between your experience of the world and your mother’s.

Then “I” was born. Quite a stark difference, eh.

And of course, there’s no “I” without “you.” You the cup. You the lock of hair. You the voice in the far corner of the room. You the sound that evokes in me a great panic, or great relief, or both.

How do I relate to all this? A new “we” — a relationship between “I” and “you” — is born.

And that’s what we’re tending in this life, I reckon.

Though it’s the same word, it can point to two radically different points of orientation.

There’s the “we” of Unity and the “we” of ordinary, day-to-day relationships, where there is obviously a relationship but even more obviously there are two separate beings in that relationship.

There’s no merged state in this one. And that's evident: a brick dropped on your foot doesn’t hurt me like a brick dropped on my own foot.

I know, and thankfully, everything above is all the most obvious stuff in the world. But in a world where we use that word a lot — “we” — I think it’s worth inquiring into what we’re actually after, what we’re pointing to when we say that.

I write this this morning as I pontificate on some class material — which for me is increasingly inextricably linked to “life material” — and think about perspectives: “we” as both an inarguable fact from which you and I emerged, and also something we must tend, with care and ferocity, as if our lives depend on it.

(Because, of course, they do.)