The Greatest Challenge

The greatest challenge of life is to hold all beings as equal.  To loose and lose our chains ofjudgement and break down the walls that we believe separate us.  All other philosophy stems from this notion.


Some of the greatest principles of humanity, such as “Do no harm” and “love your neighbor as yourself,” boil down to equality.  We must dissolve all feelings of separation, before love, true love, is possible.  It is not possible to love your neighbor as yourself if you see your neighbor as less than yourself.  Love is only possible when the mind recognizes what the soul already knows, we are all equal.

Stop and think about that for a moment, or rather feel on it for a moment.  Let the tendrils of the soul infuse the word with new and brilliant meaning.  Equality is overused, abused.  It is an ordinary concept of the soul that has been elevated to a radical notion by and through our humanity.  Close your eyes and know, we are all equal.  Even that stranger you saw begging on the corner.

We must recognize the inequalities we have created.  In order for us to feel special we have placed many beneath us on our imaginary ladder of successful life.  These are the people we pity and loath.  The ones for whom we make donations while scorning their bad decision.  We can recognize that we see them as lesser and do our best to replace our pity with true compassion and love.

Then there are those that we see as more special than ourselves (which might be why we feel the need to step on others, to bring back some of our “power”).  This is the flip-side of the inequality coin, placing some above us.  When we are told by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras to “Do No Harm” (ahimsa), this includes in thought, word and action.  Jealousy, envy, and disdain are three harmful emotions that manifest from feelings of inadequacy, from seeing ourselves as less than another.  In this way we have the potential to harm others through pent up frustrations.  In addition, we harm ourselves, feeling unworthy of love or just plain stupid for what we do or say.


In this way, we create idols, people who are more special than ourselves and others around us.  This person can become our source of happiness, needing their approval or recognition or love in order to feel whole.  In Spirit Junkie, Gabrielle Bernstein reminds us that we do not only make romantic relationships special.  We can place our need for happiness in anyone’s hands, and it usually has something to do with how “cool” we think they are, and how cool knowing them will make us.  We separate ourselves from them, believing them to be better than us, therefore creating inequality where there is none.

There are wonderful people in this world; there are plenty of gorgeous souls you will want to emulate.  Give yourself permission to learn as much as you can from the people you admire.  Feel the weight of their worth in your life.  BUT don’t put them on a pedestal.  They are not super human or superior human.  Maybe they have made it further along the path of enlightenment, or just have more life experience, and they deserve respect, not worship.

Identify one person whom you have made special in your life, someone you feel is superior to yourself.  Meditate on this person, repeating “[Full Name of person] and I are equal.  We are equal.  We are the same.”  Notice if this changes the feelings you have about yourself.  Maybe just identifying this person will give you an idea of the type of person you want to become and the qualities that you must nurture in yourself in order to become a fuller person.


4 thoughts on “The Greatest Challenge

  1. Pingback: Instruments of Peace | Back to the Sutra

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