What do we mean when we say consciousness is playing all the parts? For me, this means that consciousness is the ground or substance of everything perceivable and conceivable—everything that appears Here / Now. Saying that consciousness is playing all the parts expresses the realization that this entire happening is a seamless, undivided unicity (One Mind) with no actual separation and no duality between the apparent pairs of opposites. What happens to you, happens to me in the deepest sense, and visa versa. We are not two.
But this absence of separation doesn’t mean that there is no variation, diversity, differentiation or discernment. It doesn’t mean that there is no difference between being kissed by your beloved and having a bomb dropped on your village. It isn’t about being detached, or always feeling peaceful, or no longer caring about what is happening in the movie of waking life. Waking life is LIKE a movie or a dream in many ways, but that doesn’t mean the pain doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t mean dismissing the physical and emotional pain of a little child who has lost his arms and legs and both his parents and all his siblings in a bombing attack as “just an illusion” to which we should give no attention, although the language of some Eastern teachings can easily suggest this.
When I see people hurt in ways that I know hurt deeply, I feel sorrow. The sorrow or heartache seems more acute when the damage is caused not by an act of nature (such as an earthquake, a hurricane or a flood) but rather by a deliberate and obviously misguided and senseless human act. Of course, humans are part of nature, and in that sense, our actions are as natural as hurricanes. But with our complex minds, we have the ability to become confused in ways no other animal does. And we also have the possibility of waking up from this confusion.