This web-site is called “Web of Connection”, a place where everyone belongs. What exactly does that mean? How do we realize this connection so it’s more than just a nice philosophical concept? Surely, we have lots of contact throughout the day. Unfortunately, a growing percentage of that is virtual. What about the times when we actually share physical space with others? What is the quality of our interaction?
I’m not suggesting that we should go around hugging everyone we see. There are other ways of connecting. What about listening to others in a way that brings your attention fully to the moment? Are you even curious what another person’s experience and perception of life might be? The paradox is that each of us lives in our own reality and yet simultaneously shares the same co-created reality. Like a hologram, the whole is contained in the apparently separate pieces. Have you ever considered that the person who works with you or shops at the same store as you is a reflection of this one reality - the reality that IS YOU?
Let’s come down to earth and get practical. Theories don’t actually change our lives unless we allow ourselves to be the experiments in which they become operative. Being the experiment requires a willingness to question our habitual ways of perceiving and interacting with others. Would we be willing to step outside our comfort zones for a little while in order to experience what it would be like to really be present with another human being. What kind of distance do we think is necessary to be safe? We may wish to come a little closer, but something gets in the way. How interesting! What can that be? Is it fear? Judgment? or something else? Hmm….are we willing to investigate that?
As I said in the last blog entry, our meditation practice can be a way of escaping into what we think is a safety zone. This might actually be comfortable at times. What’s wrong with that?! After all, don’t we all need a break so we can chill out once in a while? Yes, this belongs too. However, if you want to open up to a reality that is more dynamic and alive, albeit unpredictable, then I invite you to experience the inter-being that is possible when you bring your complete attention to an encounter with another being (humans are by far the most challenging of the lot).
The ironic thing is that we all most deeply desire is real, authentic connection an yet, at the same time, we guard against it in so many ways. What will she think of me if I’m really honest? What will arise in me if I allow myself to be vulnerable and open up to him? Maybe I’ll be judged if I reveal my true feelings. Maybe I’ll experience love. Oh no, what then!? When it’s impossible to predict the outcome, things become very scary! It’s much easier to play within the boundaries of social convention. Isn’t that what these norms are designed for - to keep chaos at bay?
I’m not saying these things because I’ve mastered the art of connection and that I’m always present with everyone I meet. It’s just that I’m starting to take an interest in the things that get in the way and move toward them instead of away from them. When I allow curiosity to take precedence over fear or judgment, discovery is possible. I inch my way forward with the help of good friends who also value honest connection. Together, we make the journey back to a wholeness that includes everything.