Pretending to be Human
By Jean-Claude Gerard Koven
Even as a young child, I knew that Earth was not my real home. I was - to borrow Robert Heinlein's well-worn phrase - a stranger in a strange land. Everything about my early life confirmed this feeling. I was the only child of older European parents who brought me to America at the age of two to escape the genocide in Nazi Germany. In my early years I often looked to the stars for answers to questions that were only partially formed in my little mind, and I spent more time with imaginary friends than real ones. Above all, I began probing, something that continues even now, some sixty-odd years later.
Somewhere along the line, I cultivated the practice of holding a particular question in mind as a filter through which to process all experience. This is much like looking at the world through a singular, fixed perspective, like a religious or cultural slant - except that my question lasts only until it is answered; then a new one arises in time. To this day, I regularly shift the point from which I view, and thus repeatedly revise my thinking. Each new truth of the moment stays with me until another perception shoves it out of the way. I used to think it was like looking at reality through a changing kaleidoscope. I now realize I am the changing kaleidoscope, molded by each succeeding perception. What I observe in one moment is neither more correct nor more elevated than any other view - or any other person's view. I have no interest in taking today's epiphany with me as I continue my journey, just as a nimble traveler doesn't carry in his backpack each stepping stone that has helped him across the river.
From what I now grasp, Earth isn't a real home for any of us. It's a tiny part of a vast holographic projection, an interactive sound stage providing us with opportunities to explore whatever aspect of our infinite nature calls out to us. I often sit on one of the higher crossbeams of the matrix and look down in amusement at the life I pretend to be living. I watch myself getting caught up in mundane minutiae, buffeted by emotion and embroiled in the daily tasks of survival. But as long as I can hold some part of my awareness separate from the "me" that thinks it is having a human experience, the melodrama of a full-fledged Earthling's life is considerably lightened.
I wish I understood my perceptions more perfectly so I could share them in a better way. Some of the best are fleeting images of a vast, universal mosaic in which our brief moment on this planet is but a single pixel. I have looked upon the face of God and witnessed the birth of galaxies. I have loved with abandon and nurtured sick plants back to health. I delight in washing dishes and seeing sparkling clean glasses wink back at me. I am a child in an adult's body and love to play. Even when I am dealing with a load of deadlines, business commitments, or repetitive chores, I find a way to make a game of it. The greatest gift is being conscious enough to know I am bearing witness to creation. I, like everyone else on this planet, am the writer, director, producer, player, and - it would seem - the audience of this exquisite divine comedy called life.
Some give the swirls and eddies of universal currents a name, calling it the "Law of Attraction". This is about as accurate as a blind man saying an elephant is like a tree simply because his arms are wrapped around its leg. I am saddened by those who devote their only two assets - their Attention and their Intention - to acquire the trinkets of the illusion. I often wonder why so many humans are obsessed with getting an upgrade on their stateroom on the Titanic. Few (if any) bother considering the source of their desires. The next time you find yourself applying the Law of Attraction or some similar process to manifest abundance, love, or some other boon into your life, you might also delve deeper and consider the source of the wanting. Try to discover which part of you is making the request. Odds are it's not the part that knows the infinite nature of your being, but rather the one who feels vulnerable, inadequate, under-appreciated, and in need of betterment: your ego.
We seem to have forgotten why we've created this game (called Life on Earth) in the first place. In the process, we have also lost touch with the Oneness, so we perceive ourselves as separate, ephemeral beings that will soon vanish like plumes of smoke carried off by a passing breeze. In a desperate attempt to create relevance, we feign histories and genealogies, erect statues, celebrate holy days, and cast ourselves deeply into fabricated mythologies, pretending they are God-given. We cling to the vacuous promises of dogma in hopes that others know something more than we can understand ourselves. Perhaps what we fear most is the reality that we have infinite options. We are not puny co-creators; we are powerful creators able to forge any reality we choose. None of us could possibly be here if we had not first created a "here" to be in. But rather than seizing the day, we cower in the wings, dreading our moment before the footlights for fear that we might play our part badly and be judged harshly for it.
In Emma Lazarus's immortal words, engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty, that greeted my parents and me upon our arrival to the Promised Land:
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Jean-Claude Gerard Koven is a writer and speaker based in Rancho Mirage, CA. He is a featured weekly columnist for the UPI (United Press International) Religion and Spirituality Forum and the author of 'Going Deeper: How to Make Sense of Your Life When Your Life Makes No Sense,' recipient of both the Allbooks Reviews editor's choice award and the USABookNews.com award for the best metaphysical book of the year.