I shall begin today’s blog entry with a simple but profound question: How connected are you?
But I’m not asking how many business contacts you have, how many people in your industry/neighborhood/social circle know you, or even if you are very sociable.
I mean, have you really grasped the fact that you experience part of your life every day through others? I imagine that some people out there have never even considered this to be a possibility.
We are seldom asked such questions, but I believe this question is among the most relevant on Earth today. But unfortunately, we are led to believe from a very young age that we are separate from others, that we are different from others, that the world is highly competitive, that many people will stand in our way when we try to achieve success in our lives, and that we must overcome those difficulties, and in essence, those people.
And it is this very belief of separateness that has contributed to the wars, violent conflicts, and many other evils in our world today.
When we interact with people, be it colleagues, family members, friends, or even strangers, we need to understand that even though we are interacting with a different person, he or she is part of the same collective consciousness that we are.
How so? Because this person exists just as much as we do, and has goals, dreams, and desires, just as we do. This person is not just a collection of atoms and nerves and bones, he or she is a living, breathing, active being, full of energy, and has just as much a right to experience the wonders of this planet Earth, as we do.
Whether you consider a person to be “good,” “bad,” “interesting,” “boring,” “weird,” “amazing,” “beautiful,” “ugly,” or any of the other adjectives we use to describe other people, realize that this person has the same right to strive for enlightenment and happiness that you do. And this person would gladly put him or herself toward the path of enlightenment and happiness, if he or she only knew how.
So it is our duty as fellow human beings, part of the same collective whole, the same collective consciousness, to help ourselves come to this awareness and then to help as many people as we can to also reach this awareness for themselves.
The desires we have in our lives, be it the desire to close a business deal, make a new friend, travel the world, or have a deep conversation with a family member, are really just desires to unite.
We are connected to the people we come into contact with on a daily basis, and even people we do not come into contact with; that is, people who we have not even met yet.
But how are total strangers, people we have not yet met, connected to us? This is again very simple yet profound – you are always one step away from meeting a new person that may help change the direction of your life, either slightly or dramatically. You are always one step away from meeting a person who needs your help, a person who helps you obtain a new and more interesting job, a person who introduces you to a book that changes your perception of things or your entire worldview interpretation, or even a person who breaks your heart.
All of these people have a role to play, in your life, in their lives, and also in the lives of others. Others’ decisions and actions put them on the path to meeting you, interacting with you, and likewise, your decisions and actions will lead you to meet and interact with different people. It is for this reason that we are all connected – our decisions and actions change the course of human lives and human history.
When I was a kid, I never even dreamed of being able to live on four different continents by the time I reached 30 years of age. But that is precisely what I have done. I never imagined I would make the extraordinary friends I have made, see the wonderful places I’ve seen, and experience the hardships and challenges that I have experienced.
Through good and bad, all of the people I have met and even those who I have not yet met, in some way helped change or shape my life into what it is today. And I am grateful for that.
But again, why feel connected to other people? Because without the awareness that we are all connected to each other, people are just going to go through the same suffering and unnecessary battles and challenges that they have been going through since the dawn of time.
Some people might say, “Why on Earth should I accept this so-called theory of connectedness? We are all different from each other, we come from different parents, we have different religions, we are born in different countries, and we speak different languages. We are just different and we have to accept that.”
Well, there is a very good reason why it would behoove us to believe that we are connected, rather than separate and different. And it is a very practical reason. Allow me to explain.
Believing in the theory of separateness will more than likely result in needless arguments and conflicts, violence, wars, being overly suspicious of other people, and other negative and ultimately destructive events and behaviors.
Believing in the theory of connectedness helps bring us fruitful discussions with others, an avoidance of violence and wars, belief in the goodness of oneself and others, helps us create and keep good friendships and relationships, and ultimately helps create a better world for oneself and for others.
Unless one is completely insane, I would imagine that he or she would prefer the outcomes resulting from following the theory of connectedness.
No matter what your religion, age, gender, personal history, ethnic background, or physical condition, you can believe that you are connected to others and it will enrich your life beyond anything you have ever imagined, without conflicting with any religious or spiritual beliefs you may or may not have.
This does not mean, however, that you should give up your individuality or not strive to be the best person you can be. You can indeed be your own person, have your own interests, desires, and goals, but also realize that you are in some way connected to everyone else on this planet.
It may not be easy, but ultimately, it is much more rewarding and much more enjoyable than the alternative – to disconnect from others and add to the strife, violence, and negativity that exist in today’s world.
That is why I know I am connected to others – because the lack of awareness of this fact is a major cause of the evils and pain existing on this physical Earth, and I don’t want to add any more pain to this world. I strive to add only goodness as a result of my thoughts, beliefs, and actions.
So from now on, whatever you do, wherever you go, and whomever you meet, try to remember that you experience part of your life every day through others.