There is a book – and a movie! – from many years ago that has the same title as this session: When Worlds Collide. It is about the devastation that befalls Earth when a runaway planet collides with yours. There are tidal waves, earthquakes, panic, the end of the world, and the escape of a fortunate few to another planet in a rocket ship. It’s an exciting story. But it’s not what we’re talking about here.
When we speak of worlds, we’re not referring to planets that revolve around a star and are home to billions of people. Instead we are talking about the mental constructs of your reality. When a person remarks that someone else is “living in his own world,” they’re not far off the mark. The truth is, however, that every individual lives in their own world, one that they choose – and help create – as they go through life.
Initially your worlds are given to you – the family you are born into, your school, your religion, your friends. But as you mature you begin actively choosing your world and your reality. You choose to stay home or to go out into the world, to accept what you’ve been taught or to give reign to your curiosity, to limit your experience or to explore what the universe has to offer. But even if you’ve made the choice to not grow the world you were born into, you will eventually find yourself colliding with someone whose world is vastly different from yours. The collision of these worlds is where we see the emergence of so many misunderstandings and conflicts. The world you live in dictates your version of reality. The police can be trusted guardians or agents of oppression. The economy is either an opportunity for success or an instrument that is rigged in favor of those already in power. School can be a key that introduces you to limitless possibilities or a tool that stamps out all curiosity and excitement in pursuit of conformity.
Your worlds and your realities are not formed just from your experiences, but also from how you react to them. When a loved one dies, are you permanently in mourning or do you eventually come to be thankful for the time you had together? If you were the star cheerleader in high school, do you cling to that identity or do you use the experience to evolve yourself further as you get older? If a crime was committed, you can choose to be a victim or to continue forward in your life – maybe in a different direction, but still forward.
The problem is not that people have different worlds; it’s that many people take the existence of different worlds as a personal insult rather than as an opportunity to expand themselves. We view this not only as a shocking lack of compassion, but as a form of insanity. How can anyone believe that you should all be the same, that your experiences should be so limited? The beauty of life is not that it moves forward in lockstep, draped in the same uniform, but that it explodes with countless colors, energies and forms. If all realities were the same, there would be no surprises, no challenges and little evolution.
It is this convergence of realities, this collision of worlds, where personal growth and development begin. Talk to other people, listen to their stories, understand their hearts. Every person brings something different to the table – some facet of life that you are lacking. Learn about them and you will learn about yourself.