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Everyone You Meet is God in Drag

May 23, 2017

What are you doing right now? Whether you are alone or with people, at leisure or at work, in a familiar or unfamiliar setting, take a moment to stop what you are doing and simply observe everything around you. Take in the rich visual information that surrounds you, from what is right in front of you to the furthest thing your eyes can see.

Now…notice what you are feeling at this moment: are you contented or critical? Do you feel quiet or exuberant? There are probably people and things you feel particularly drawn toward and other things that evoke a feeling of irritation or even aversion. And this is fine, because your preferences are part of what makes you distinctly yourself.

As human beings, we want to be familiar with anger, fear, and frustration, as this familiarity makes us more insightful and sensitive people, yet we don’t want to be overwhelmingly subjected to these emotions, and as we all know, it is easy to default to anger or to dwell in a judgmental place. So imagine if you could be less subject to these negative feelings, moving through your day in a peaceful and even joyful manner.

When we shift the lens of our world vision, we can mindfully shift our experience.

The great spiritual teacher Ram Dass famously said, Treat everyone you meet like god in drag.

As hilarious a statement as this initially appears to be, seeing the world like god in drag means recognizing that beneath the outer appearance of things, everything has significance and beauty because everything is a manifestation of the universe, of the divine, what Ram Dass is calling God.

Everything we see is the divine expressing itself in various forms. As my teacher Dr. Douglas Brooks has said to me repeatedly over the past fifteen-plus years: The Universe decided to embody as you. This is amazing. And guess what? The Universe also decided to embody as everyone and everything around you. The entire world is god in drag.

Can we see past the trappings of profession, race, gender, and all other surface identifiers? Can we catch a glimpse of the divine in everyone and everything we encounter? With a regular practice, yes.

Try this today:

• Take a moment to focus on your breath. This will center you in your own embodied experience. Remind yourself that the divine chose to embody as you. This body. This mind and heart.

• Once you feel centered within yourself draw your attention outward into the space around you, noticing the people and things in your vicinity. As you look around, soften your vision, receiving information about your surroundings without judgement.

• Peer through the surface of the people around you. Ironically, you will find that by softening your vision, you can see more deeply into people. Gaze through the external trappings of their public identity to catch a glimpse of a common spirit. This is easy to do with those you love, tougher to do with difficult people. Even so, try catching a glimpse of something underneath the façade of the person on the subway who shoves past you, the driver who cuts you off in traffic, or the parent yelling at their child. In this way, you can shift your own experience, recognizing your irritation as something unhelpful, and quickly releasing it.

• Throughout your day, continue this practice and check in with yourself before you go to sleep. How were your interactions with others different? How was your experience of yourself and of your world different?

• Seeing the divine in everyone makes life more pleasurable and less stressful. We are simultaneously diverse and interconnected. Seeing the world as god in drag helps us to connect to everything around us. It’s win-win. So if we’re all in drag, put on your divine goggles and step more deeply into your own divine nature.

susanna hardwood rubin

To read more by Susanna, visit her website.

Susanna Harwood Rubin is the author of Yoga 365. She is a yoga teacher, writer, and artist whose work is rooted in South Indian Philosophy. Based in New York City, Susanna teaches internationally and online, and writes for numerous publications. She is the creator of Devi Soul Yoga and Writing Your Practice.