I have many times read about the illusory nature of “self” versus “other”: What one perceives as “me” and “mine” versus “everything else that is not me” is a mental construct. I know this. Logically this makes sense. But where does this logical understanding get us? Understood abstractly it quickly fades into irrelevance within the day by day concerns of life, our continuous striving and rumination. (See the Einstein quote below. Maybe you get a nice feeling from it for a moment, but then what?)
But my realization is this. We are not completely imprisoned by this manufactured duality. I can give flesh to the abstract idea. A repeated subtle, intentional, push of perception seeking to see something, searching for confirmation of a logical belief/understanding, does have a worthwhile effect.
When I look out at the world, I can tell myself, this is all me. This is my extended body. Just as I can feel my real body and “be inside” it by focusing on all the sensations and emotions that exist in it, so too can I feel the world by focusing on everything I see, hear, sense, understand. When I look outwards, I can have the mindset that what I am doing is fundamentally the same as looking into myself.
Do it. Try it. Try to do it as often as you can. It starts subtly decreasing barriers. All the people around you, they’re not truly strangers, they’re just another part of your self.