When I feel separate, like all ties have been severed between me and this universal thread of human connection, it is natural to sink further and further into a pit of self-directed aggression and shame. And then I realize that the reaction to this apparent separation –the self-denigration – is exactly the obstacle that maintains the illusion – the illusion that separation is even possible.

Ego is incredibly powerful, but it is of course, by its nature, a distortion. Everything that is not a recognition of our interdependence is a well-intentioned lie manufactured to keep us safe from being hurt. But the irony again is that it is exactly this compulsive, reactionary self-protection which eats away at our hearts, perpetuating feelings of fear and aloneness – the antithesis of what we might refer to as safety, or as home.

What I often forget is that all notions of separation are just sad, painful illusions. I am not separate. And at any moment, my heart can open, and I can remember that it was always basically whole and made of love, that it was always designed to pulse in rhythm with an entire universe of other beings who are also themselves made of the same wonder and magic. We are all deeply worthy. And it seems that the recognition of worthiness is exactly the key that unlocks the door from the inner dusty, moldy recesses of our ego mind, into the vivid reality of the outside world.

It is only by realizing this worthiness that we can glimpse reality at all.

It’s such a challenge to grapple with, but it is the recognition that even when “I” can’t feel this worthiness, there is a deeper “I” that is unmarred and uncorruptible, always ready and patiently longing to become manifest, to be remembered, so that she might help others to remember – that we are all made of pure, unadulterated wisdom, kindness, and strength, and that we are all born into a delicate, interconnected web of equanimity.

Waking up, even for a moment, feels like a homecoming, like emerging from a dream I have been unknowingly trapped inside for most of my life, and into a much brighter, three dimensional reality, made of things I might try to point to with words; but words are too fixed to capture the dynamism, the beauty, the vivid, fluid, heartbreaking aliveness of this world – the world we all inhabit (we just sometimes forget).

Waking up is the easiest and yet most complicated journey one can pursue. The complication seems to lie in creating the conditions where I might let go and remember, which is, in and of itself, a very simple thing.

Inside every moment lives an invisible trap door into reality. It just requires that I trust and know it’s there, to feel around in the dark for a while, in order to find it.