I had a dream recently which offered a lovely metaphor and image: reality is like a flowing stream, where everything is the water.
We are flow, not separate objects.
The water is fluidly interconnected with itself—there is no thing separate from the water.
Flow is movement, and flow is interconnected and unified.
The illusion is we are separate, that we are directing affairs, that we deserve credit or blame.
The reality is we are all a part of the continuous flow, which includes everything and everyone (though those words are problematic), in which all are constantly affected by all.
We do not control where the flow goes.
We do not have thoughts independent of the flow.
The flow may lead us to learning, but that is also just part of the flow.
Truly, we can take neither credit nor blame for what happens in the flow.
Among the thoughts that flow in the water, some coalesce into an illusory self.
The first thought believed is that there is a self, separate from the flow.
Other beliefs that adhere to the first thought are that the self has original thoughts, and that it acts independently of the flow.
And so, within the flow—which never ceases to be other than interrelated flow—the belief in separate self-objects arises.
And then the suffering begins.