Scientists are now claiming that the universe is a hologram. This means that within each particle exists the whole. For those of us with a spiritual bent, who are trying to reconcile the nature of the universe with our human experience, this is commonly expressed as “we are all one”.

Which while true, does very little to explain how to manage the day-to-day existence of being alive. Because, if the universe is holographic and we are part of the universe, then we ourselves are holographic and the entire universe exists within us. Commonly we are told that if we experience distress, it is an illusion because the entire universe exists within us, and the universe is “perfect, whole and complete” and so should we be.

So how do we account for our own actual experience, which all too often includes distress of some sort.  Our physical bodies give rise to our subjectivity by virtue of our inherent unique gross matter. So if we are inherently unique and subjective because we have a body, and we assume that life is not a mistake, there must be a way to wake up in the morning, see your unique body, face, feelings, hopes, passions and desires and know with absolute certainty that those unique characteristics are not something to be conquered and eliminated in the name of “we are all one”.

Frequently, ‘we are all one” is used as a panacea to avoid confronting our own uniqueness and tolerating the uniqueness of others. We learn early in life, the price to pay for rocking your “youness” is a lot of static. Then we begin to do that to ourselves. Often, when someone says or does something, wants to express something, create something or be something that makes us uncomfortable, we label them as unenlightened, unaware, stupid idiots, irresponsible or they just don’t get it. Gurus/spiritual teachers/parents/friends/enemies/politicians do this as well.

In our younger years, many of us followed the directions and tried to make wise choices that didn’t trigger these reactions from others. For those on a spiritual path this can lead to a kind of spiritual purgatory, one where the individual spends time eliminating desires, passions, subjectivity, and feelings that reflect their uniqueness. Their personalities become as smooth as a pearl, no visible bumps, scars or differentiating qualities. Many techniques, especially in the 60’s & 70’s, focused on eliminating separation and otherness by emptying and eliminating the parts of us that know instinctively what is right or wrong for ourselves –  regardless of the opinions of others. This never really works. Our uniqueness and subjectivity do not go away no matter how hard we try. Or for that matter, how hard other people have tried to make it go away in the name of classroom management, social contract theory or spiritual enlightenment.

More recently, techniques such as energy therapies allow greater voice and exploration of our subjectivity. With these techniques it is permissible, in fact required, to name your experience and truth. That said, they are often used much like a glass of wine, simply to take the edge off the tension and difficulties that suppressing individuality creates. These therapies do not work if they are used to eliminate individuality. Because individuality and subjectivity do not go away.

So how does a person live with day-to-day demands in the arc of their life in this holographic universe and preserve their uniqueness? In many ways, these two ideas clash with cataclysmic proportions around midlife, hence the midlife crisis. By this time, people come face-to-face with the idea that this is some BULLSHIT. They think “I have been following the rules, doing it right, satisfying and living up to my obligations and responsibilities and I can’t stand anything anymore. I did all this because I expected a reward, and that reward was a good, happy, fulfilling life. What I have is 50 extra pounds, high blood pressure, a lousy job, a lousy spouse, debt and a mortgage. Obviously, I have been going about this in the wrong way.”

In an attempt to correct this sad state of affairs, the midlifer commonly begins a spiritual practice or sticks his head in a bottle. A tragic message sent to the seeker is that there is something wrong with his or her consciousness, or thinking that is creating this pain. A midlife crises is considered trite, pathetic or a sign of weakness.  Once again the seeker must live up to a norm and it’s the same norm. The norm of you are not unique, you are not different, you are not exceptional.  You are not following the rules – when you were a child it was behaviorally, this time it is spiritually.  This pain you feel is because you refuse to be smooth like a pearl, if you are smooth like a pearl you have no pain.  Adults call this spiritually enlightened and children call it staying out of trouble.  Teachers call it classroom management. Children are told there is something wrong with their thinking and they won’t have a good life if they continue this way, not following the rules. Adults are told you can’t be spiritually healed if you continue to think/feel this way.

It’s interesting to note, that what is lacking in the above scenarios is an affirmation of the person’s unique experience. This is a misapplication of the theory of a holographic universe. For if the universe contains all things, it must contain passions, desires, feelings, subjectivity and uniqueness. In short, all the things that make us human. And it must contain the pain that results from suppressing our humanity. For we are spiritual beings here to have a human experience. We chose this, to embody or incarnate in order to have a human experience. Our unique gross matter (body) is merely the unique coalescence of energy designed to express subjectivity. It makes no sense that we would choose to embody in order to replicate what we already had – perfection, wholeness, completeness. We chose to come here to be our subjective selves, not an undifferentiated objective standard of perfect, whole and completeness. When we try to live as if we are here to reflect a single principle, either in the mundane world or the spiritual world, we hurt and damage ourselves. And we destroy the purpose of our lives.