Are You Different From Others?

Spirituality and Spiritual Practice

by Jayaram V

Each being is unique. This uniqueness is responsible for the diversity that exists in creation. This diversity, in its turn enriches our lives and contributes to the progress of our world and our civilization.

The distinction also helps us to express ourselves individually and meaningfully and pursue our dreams and goals according to our talents, skills and abilities.

The diversity we find in the world helps us to know who we are and how we can bring out our unique talents and abilities into play. However, in life we consider the uniqueness of beings a natural aspect of our existence and take it for granted. We hardly think about it during our existence, except when we are forced to compare ourselves with others or compete with them.

This uniqueness has value and purpose. it is very deeply connected with our longing for life. Understanding it will greatly enhance our self-esteem and our sense of responsibility.

You and the rest of creation

While diversity is an essential and important aspect of our existence upon earth, at the most basic level we find an inseparable connection with the rest of creation. We do not usually recognize this connection because we do not usually pay attention to the parts that make the whole. We pay attention to the names and forms rather than the components that make them up. While it is true that we have unique features, we also share with the rest of the world the same air, water, fire, earth, space, intelligence, mental and physical energies, organs, genes, DNA, speech, breath, knowledge, culture, values, morals, states of consciousness, emotions, feelings, thoughts and ideas. At the most fundamental level, we are made up of the same atoms, molecules and sub atomic particles  which make up the stars, the planets and numerous other objects found in the universe.

When we pay attention to these aspects of our existence, we become aware that we do not live in a mere physical world, but a gigantic web of life that is interconnected and inter related through many invisible channels where we impact other people's lives in many unimaginable ways.

This realization may not help us to achieve the blissful state of Samadhi. It may not help us to love the world unconditionally or overcome our own fears and insecurities. However, it will certainly help us to become aware of our inseparable connection with the rest of creation and appreciate the following.

1. Physically, at the atomic, sub atomic, molecular and cellular levels, all human beings are almost indistinguishable.

2. We are made of the same elements (mahabhutas), qualities (gunas) and principles (tattvas) that we find elsewhere in nature.

3. Biologically and physiologically we undergo the same physiological processes and experience the same needs and sensations.

4. Our motor functions are the same and we experience the same pain and pleasure through them.

5. Our learned or conditioned responses to external situations may vary, but our basic and biological responses are mostly the same.

6. At the core of each of us, permeating our entire consciousness and our entire being is the awareness of "I am." It is the pure unadulterated and unconditioned sense of Self, the "I am" of the universal self, enveloped by numerous forms and objects in space and time.

7. The whole world is one breathing and living organism. Even science acknowledges that our whole planet is one large biotic system and every component in it is critical to its survival.

8. Because we share so much with the rest of creation, we do not feel fulfilled when we are alone. We long for relationships, friendship, and companionship. We want to own and possess things. Even though we know that intimate relationships may often hurt us, we are helplessly drawn to others in our search for peace and happiness.


Every individual on our planet contributes significantly to the preservation and continuation of the world. Take one of them away and the future of the world would be vastly different because each individual is a culmination of many past events, processes and generations of effort and in turn the starting for many more. This realization will help you to live responsibly and bear with the suffering in your life with dignity, tolerance and understanding.

These truths suggest that we have to value life in every form, recognizing our own importance in fulfilling the purpose for which our uniqueness and individuality are manifested. In creation unity and diversity are both important. Whether the world recognizes it or not, you have every reason to rejoice in your uniqueness and feel good about yourself. You are made unique because Nature expects you to manifest your uniqueness and fulfill your role which is uniquely yours. You have to fill that particular place which you alone can occupy.

Thus, you are important and you do matter, whether others acknowledge it or not. No one can fill your place. No one can minimize your importance. You are the effect of many past causes and the cause of many future effects. You are a link in the long chain life's unending struggles for self-expression. You are both the created and the creator and you have a role to fulfill.

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