Anthony DeMello, talking about our place in the universe, once said, “You are not the dancer. You are not the dance. You are the ‘danced.’”
I’m still not at all sure what that means. But I think we are all part of some great “dance” that we don’t really quite understand. That sounds a bit spiritual for me; a bit mumbo-jumbo; but I do get the feeling these days that the daily toil and trivialities and our comings and goings and petty gripes and sagas are really just that – petty; trivial; barely anything. Even “important” people, or people who do life-changing work or work of national importance or whatever – really they too are no more and no less part of the same big dance that we’re all dancing to – or if you accept Anthony DeMello’s take on it – we’re all being “danced” by the same universal dancer.
VIPs, celebrities. Why worship them? They all have flesh and blood and guts remarkably similar to everyone else. They all gaze up from the same Earth to see the same stars as everyone else. They all turn to the same dust as everyone else. We’re all part of the same universe. The millionaire’s sky is the same sky as the pauper’s.
The great; the good; the meek; the evil; the black; the white; the gay; the straight. Put the labels aside, as Anthony DeMello also said. These are just words. As soon as you label something with a word, you are blind to the reality of that thing, or person.
But bringing this into reality, last night, for example, I was out. I was watching a mother and father with their toddler. There was a lot of “bad” behaviour by the parents – nothing terrible, just inconsiderate and oblivious to the needs and preferences of those around them basically. And what struck me was that the toddler was already exhibiting a lot of the same behaviour patterns of his parents. “Like father, like son” as they say.
I was tempted, in my annoyance, to label them as “antisocial”; “common”; “uneducated”.
But then, putting the labels aside, taking a wider view, I saw them more clearly and my heart went out to them. Just people, members of the human race, struggling to do their thing in the world.
And so the dance goes on, I thought.