One of the most eloquent concepts in mystical thought is the microcosm/macrocosm phenomenon. The idea is that the human being is a “miniature universe,” reflecting every aspect of the world at large — and the universe is a giant organism. A copy of every detail of the universe exists inside of each human being, and by refining different aspects of our personal lives, we also refine each respective corresponding dimension in the universe. From this perspective, an intrinsic connection between humans and the universe exists because the universe was created so human beings can refine and elevate it.

The universe seems to have been custom-made for human life. If any of the basic physical constants were different, life as we know it would not be possible. The microcosm concept explains that the human being and the universe are interwoven and interdependent copies of each other.

Let Connection Empower Us

Knowing we are a microcosm of the universe can empower us in dealing with world events. Though subtle, harmony in our personal lives helps bring harmony to the world. We may not be able to sense the “butterfly effect” of our behavior on the universe, and its effect is not always direct and overt. Nevertheless, we’re told with absolute certainty that our actions do have a ripple effect on the world.

We are not victims of circumstances of world events; we have the power to change the world. As we refine ourselves, we in some way also refine the universe.

This message is powerfully relevant today as we struggle to understand the complexities of the world into which we have suddenly been thrust. The answer to the biggest question of all — “What can I do about the conflicts of our time?” — is that our personal choices help us affect global events. Obviously, we must first understand the soul root of the current upheavals so that we can recognize their parallels mirrored in our own personal lives. We then can, in turn, repair or refine that particular area in our lives.

The World Is Our Mirror

Especially in light of all our technological achievements, a great schism has emerged between our material prosperity/easy life and our personal/psychological issues — between unprecedented technological unity and unparalleled personal disunity.
We all have, in microcosm, the struggle between soul and body.

Next time, before judging another person, think of the ripple effect it will have on the world. True, you may not be committing a terrorist act or some other atrocity. Yet, even speaking badly about others is called a subtle form of “emotional homicide.”

The Baal Shem Tov tells us that we are like mirrors. Every event we experience is actually a reflection of our own lives. It comes to teach us a lesson that we need to learn, or spotlight something needing repair.

When we see global events shaking the world, they also shake our internal world. While some others’ suffering may be much greater than our own, we still must learn lessons from these events that help us develop our own sensitivity. These are lessons that teach us how to face our own battles, guiding us in our search for balance and harmony.

Individual effort changes the world. When we change the microcosm, the macrocosm is directly affected.

Maimonides writes: “A person must see himself and the world as equally balanced on two ends of the scale; by doing one good deed, he tips the scale and brings for himself and the entire world redemption and salvation.”

If each of us would improve our own balance, we would change the landscape of the universe. After all, the world is simply 7+ billion individuals like you and me.

Author's Bio: 

Rabbi Simon Jacobson shares emotional, psychological, and spiritual skills to help people live their most meaningful lives. An “engaged sage” with an open, empathetic, and non-judgmental approach, he provides clarity, solutions, and new perspectives based on timeless teachings. He is the author of the best-selling book “Toward a Meaningful Life” and Founding Dean of The Meaningful Life Center. Learn more at