When I was growing up, I was friends with twin sisters. They were identical twins, meaning one egg was fertilized which then divided into two separate embryos.
Of course, the girls looked exactly alike, and anyone who knows identical twins, or is one, relates to this – I often got them mixed up.
I came to discover that many identical twins have a deep understanding of their sibling, knowing exactly what the other is thinking while easily finishing one another’s sentences.
Many stories of identical twin “coincidences” have been documented, perhaps none more astonishing than what University of Minnesota researcher Thomas Bouchard discovered when he studied two Ohio boys separated at birth. The identical twins were adopted by different families, and unknown to each other were both given the first name James. Both boys grew up loving and hating the same subjects, followed the same career path, bought the same type of car, smoked the same brand of cigarettes, and both married women named Linda. Both were divorced and remarried – each to a woman named Betty. The two men finally met after 39 years of being separated – all the while never knowing their twinship.
Identical twins often report a greater sense of self-awareness and a feeling of never being alone – regardless of physical proximity to others.
What is it about twins that drives such a relationship? Obviously nearly identical DNA structures and spending every moment together from conception through birth plays a significant role.
But beyond the nature and nurture elements, twins sense the shared bond of connection that transcends time and space. A knowingness that “my brother is me”. And from such an awareness lies much deeper empathy.
Thought experiment: imagine if everyone on the planet were your identical twin.
Sure, the DNA doesn’t overlap as much and obviously they don’t look like us – but put those minor differences aside and consider such an idea.
How would you feel if you ran into your identical twin on the street? Would you walk past them with nary a thought? Or would you embrace them with a welcome hug and an outpouring of joy?
While we certainly can’t physically embrace everyone we meet, we can put aside those trivial differences that seem to separate us and extend love to everyone around us. From such a state, the awareness of oneness naturally rises to our consciousness.
You recognize your brother as yourself, and thus do you perceive that you are whole. (W-pI.159.2)
Join us in Monday’s class where we’ll explore this nature of twinness and our connection to everyone. I look forward to seeing you then.