“We are all connected.” I’ve heard this phrase so many times but sometimes it’s so difficult to believe. For example, when I pick up my kids at school, it seems like nobody gives eye contact to anyone anymore even though we pass each other every day. I try to smile but no one smiles back. Meanwhile, other parents create their own cliques, chat away in isolated groups – little do they know that they are creating an environment of exclusivity. Sometimes, I find myself turning into one of them- like a heartless zombie staring down at the ground, avoiding any acknowledgement of the other person’s existence.
For a long time, I found myself accepting this idea that the world was a cold and lonely place. That people who didn’t understand you just because of the way you looked or whatever their superficial perception was of you, was the way people were- cold and distant.
But, I refused to believe this. Not everyone was like this. For instance, at my most recent meditation retreat, I had a completely different experience. People were kind, they smiled, they opened doors for you, and they acknowledged your presence. They saw you as their equal. We didn’t know each other but we bowed to each other anyway. I get the same vibes at my yoga class. I’ve been practicing yoga for many years. The word “Namaste” is a common saying in yoga. When we say Namaste to each other and to our teacher, we are saying the “light in me bows to the light in you.” (1) At the retreat, this is what we did. We bowed to each other out of respect for one another. We bowed to each others’ “light,” the true nature within us all.
The other day while meditating, I had an enlightening experience about all of this. I realized that no matter how much we distance ourselves from one another, for whatever reason it is, we cannot escape the fact that “we are all connected.” Not only do we breathe the same air, we effect each other both consciously and subconsciously. For example, have you ever felt an immediate connection with someone that you didn’t know? This happens to me all of the time. I get these “vibes” from people, strangers. Sometimes they’re positive, sometimes they’re negative, sometimes they’re just indescribable. Certain people send out stronger vibes than others. But, I believe these vibes are real. I believe that they represent this invisible force that connects us all. This “force” takes on many forms and there are many ways people have interpreted it.
Many well-known people have alluded to this connection:
Albert Einstein said, “Human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. (2)
Dalai Lama said, “Finding common ground among faiths can help us bridge needless divides at a time when unified action is more crucial than ever.” (3)
In summary, after reflecting on my own experiences and the interpretations from others, I think it’s well worth examining the meaning of “we are all connected” as it relates to our own lives. As a start, I think the easiest way to feel this connection is to simply smile at people more often. It’s the smallest thing that can make a difference in someone’s day.
- 1. Namaste defined livestrong.com
- 2. Albert Einstein Quote on isps-us.org
- 3. Dalai Lama quote on New York Times blog