I have all kinds of neat little pages I’ve “liked” on Facebook, as I’m sure you do too, that sometimes really produce a gem for me. By gem, I mean some turn of phrase, idea or picture that really has an impact on me emotionally and spiritually. One was a recent post by the Dalai Lama:
“In an increasingly interdependent world our own welfare and happiness depend on many other people. Other human beings have a right to peace and happiness that is equal to our own; therefore we have a responsibility to help those in need. Many of our world’s problems and conflicts arise because we have lost sight of the basic humanity that binds us all together as a human family.”
I think the gem was hidden in the words “binds us all together as a human family.” With no offense intended to he who spoke those words, under normal circumstances I don’t think they would have moved me. But with the holidays upon us and finding myself half a globe away from my family, those words resounded like a bell in the depths of me.
That bell, when I hear it, causes me to take a step back inside my Self and really listen to what it’s telling me. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the fact that as an only child I’ve always been more comfortable when i was alone. It’s just something I’m accustomed to; it’s the comfort zone I always seek. I’m a consummate “cocooner.”
But it doesn’t stay comfortable for very long. I couldn’t help but ask myself why that is when I’m so much more at ease away from others. What is it that’s compelling me back into the soup of humanity time and again? The answer is simple and one I resist.
We need each other. We are the family of humanity.
No matter where you live on the planet, society is sliding into the delusion that separate is better. We are a global village of proverbial fence-builders and we’re never happy with just one fence. One fence perpetuates the need for another, and another, ad infinitum. And on each fence we hang a sign declaring the reason why it separates us.
While we’re busy dividing ourselves into religions, races, countries, clans, families, etc. the only thing we really manage to build is inner conflict. There’s a reason for this and it’s unavoidable because it goes to the very core of our existence in this world. It’s the very critical yet so easily forgotten fact that we all come from the very same source. Not only do we come from it, we still reside in it, but are utterly blind to it.
In more recent times, technology has afforded us even more reasons to withdraw from each other. The family front porch is now graced only by an empty swing and a patient cat. Instead of visiting with neighbors, everyone is hooked in to their Xboxes and iPods. Earbuds and earphones have cut us off from the music of human existence. We’ve become islands in a sea of faces.
And we’ve become very confident we don’t need anyone. We have our laptops and our mp3s and our televisions and life is comfortable; for the most part. That is until something unforeseen shakes us to our foundations. That’s when we turn to faith, but the harbingers of that faith are almost always a fellow human being; not a giant hand descending from the heavens or winged beings with gracious smiles. In that tentative moment when we’re touched with some gesture of empathy we know we need each other, but as soon as that moment passes that knowledge is quickly tucked away under a cushion again. We go back to the mp3s and Xboxes with the conviction we don’t really need anyone. We go back to our inner conflict.
So, the light gleaming from this gem told me what I needed to know about being human. I, and we, are conflicted beings. This inner conflict is so all-pervading it gains momentum like a tidal wave smashing all peace and good will in this world in it’s wake. We may be different colors, we may believe in different things, we may speak different languages, but as with any family the members are unique and loved in their uniqueness. And as with any family, we need each other for nurturing, caring, guidance and support. We are the human family and we do truly need each other.