We are all in the same lifeboat rowing away from the shipwreck of our collective lives. Some of us are navigating, some are rowing, and some are just sitting. Some flounder in an angry sea struggling to hang on the sides of the boat and be pulled along. They can't quite make it inside the boat even through there is plenty of room. Many won't survive the trip, including some of the navigators. In the lifeboat we are all equal, even the hangers on. We play different roles, but one of us is not more or less important than the other.
Whatever natural sense of equality I was born with disappeared in my childhood. I grew up feeling I was either better off or worse off than everyone else on the planet. If I was better off than you, I pitied you. If I was worse off, I was jealous or resentful. My parents, teachers and society taught me a lot about achieving but very little about connecting. You couldn't be my equal. I had to compete with you for the cheap silver-plated cup that shows which of us is the better person. I was determined to win at all costs. The inability to accept anyone else has my equal put me in a dark room all alone with a bottle of wine and a bad of dope watching re-runs of Gilligan's Island at eleven in the morning.
When I live purely on self will (ego power) it is impossible for me to be your equal. In AA I learned that the unifying principle of life--the glue that holds everything together--is found in realm of spirit. As I grow spiritually I see more of our similarities and less of our differences. My desire to compete with you falls away. I begin to feel compassion instead of pity, admiration and respect instead of jealousy. It's taken a long while, but on most days I'm usually happy just to row.