There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. – William Shakespeare
Connection is part of We Are White River’s reason for existence. The concept is used quite lightly as we hope to connect people and ideas so that something bigger can happen in White River. There have been some successes as more collaborate and support each other’s efforts, however big or small. This is good to see!
Reflecting more deeply on connection, it is striking that so many of us prefer to stand in our corner than to really connect. We stay on our same predictable path, surrounded by our self-fulfilling prophecies where the only things we seek are confirmations of our bias and support for the stories we have made up about life.
In this way our life journey is more like a commute through the soul’s equivalent of Johburg traffic.
How is this living? How is this being part of the human community? Can we not be so much more if we open ourselves up to new connections with new ideas that test our thinking, challenge our standard clichés and open up possibilities? Leonard Cohen sang:
“There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”
Instead of defending our cocoons by reflexively filling in the cracks, should we not examine and even open up the cracks so we can learn something?
This is not comfortable. Where could it lead? Perhaps it might shatter some of our beliefs or cause us to completely reconsider the path we’re on. It could lead to a bumpy road with discomfort for us and those close by. It makes us vulnerable…. which is a prime ingredient for real connection.
So instead we spend our time dulling our senses, clouding out reality with the distractions and props of our choice. We are unable to connect beyond the superficial and predictable as we do not even expose who we are to ourselves, let alone to others.
Our smothering of life doesn’t stop with ourselves. So often it seems there is a need to keep others “in check” as well, lest they rock the little row boat of our small world view. Just try giving up alcohol or eating meat and observe the reaction in your “friends” (to say nothing of more dramatic life changes).
In social media and daily life we share quotes and pop philosophies about being authentic, living our lives to the full and trying to be the best version of ourselves, not worrying about what society thinks. Yet in reality we tend to join the critics, the judgmental and the suspicious when anyone does that, often without knowing much about what’s really going on in their lives and with very little respect or acknowledgement that they are humans each with their own stuff going on, just like us.
For some, and it seems very few, a true and magical connection lands in their lives. I find a lot of mystery in this, but I don’t believe it can happen to those who are not seekers, who do not prise the cracks wide open and who are not prepared to make themselves vulnerable. These connections can be such that they contain an honesty and respect that transcends the ability of words to communicate. Somehow that honesty and respect is both prerequisite and a consequence of the connection, and so it is too for passion.
When these seekers find themselves in a life devoid of passion or real connection and meaning it can be as debilitating as a physical handicap. Those around who do not understand look on in smug judgement or defensive cynicism.
There are less earth-shattering connections to be found. These are no real mystery, but arise through the same principles of honesty, vulnerability, seeking truth rather than just confirmation of a view, seeing the value in the human being around us and a passion for learning from them.
Seek out new connections. They can be unsettling, but seeking the “same old same old” seldom leads to anything worthwhile. The possibility is that something new and good lies waiting for you and, who knows, perhaps some magic.