Think of life as having several layers. On one layer, there’s the apelike creature that ambles about on a big rock. On another layer, there’s a citizen who’s part of a society. On a third layer, there’s a being that’s part of an interconnected network of humanity. And on a fourth layer, there’s a self-observing consciousness witnessing all these ongoings. Combined, all these layers make up our experience here on Earth.
The apelike layer contains the anxious little beast that stuffs his face with food and poops it out. He’s the vehicle that allows all the other layers to interface with Earth, he’s essential, but he’s susceptible to wear and tear and breaks down a lot. Some people have really flashy vehicles with great performance while others are stuck with clunkers.
The citizen layer contains the cultural trappings, the boundaries that define loyalties, and the formalities by which people interact and judge one another. This layer dictates where and how people live and sets rules to manage cooperation and resources.
The human-being layer contains the sense of shared heritage with humankind. On this layer, emotions look past superficial differences to perceive the core of humanity within. Feelings such as sadness and joy are universally recognized, while compassion reaches out to those in need.
The layer of consciousness contains pure awareness, he’s the audience watching it all happen. He weaves life’s events into a narrative, a story to tell himself. His interpretation determines how much he enjoys what he sees. If he takes it all too seriously or expects a particular outcome, he’ll tend to have a bad time.