We are all strands in the fabric of life and only working together can we begin to resolve some of the problems of poverty, violence and pollution that plague our planet. Someone once said that if you want to know the measure of your fear just consider how separate you feel from others. Most disconnection is fear based. Mother Teresa said that if you want to know why the world is in chaos, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
Abraham Heschel, a Jewish Rabbi, who walked with Martin Luther King Jr. at Selma during the civil rights movement reminds us, “As civilization advances the sense of wonder declines. This decline is an alarming symptom of our present state of mind. Mankind will not perish for want of information but only for want of appreciation.” Without connection, there is no appreciation and without appreciation there is no connection.
I grew up in Lehi during the 50’s and 60’s and I recall feeling very safe and connected. There was a tremendous sense of community (kind of like the villages I visit in Peru), where people knew one another and visited with their neighbors and friends regularly. I still see Lehi having a sense of community, but I know that there are many who don’t have that same sense of connection. Without connection, I believe that we lose some of our humanity and we lack a sustaining purpose, without which we fall into destructive or meaningless activities.
The virtual world that so many of our young people live in certainly has its positives, but I wonder if it can replace face to face visits. I believe we all have energy fields and we project that energy into our outer environment. The positive energy we project lifts and creates a sense of well-being, and the negative energy does the opposite. Peace Pilgrim, an American mystic who walked over 25,000 miles for peace, said, “Know this, that every positive thing that you think and say and do has positive effect whether you see the results or not.” Adding to that, Mother Teresa said, “Peace begins with a smile.”
The Dalai Lama, on a visit to Salt Lake City last summer, summarized it this way, “Our primary purpose in life is to help others. And if you can’t do that, please don’t hurt them.” I don’t believe that I have ever heard a better rewording of the Golden Rule than that. As we connect, we naturally want to bring joy to those around us.
Mahatma Gandhi gave the secret to being connected, “My life is an indivisible whole and all my activities run into one another, and they all have their rise in my insatiable love of mankind.” Ultimately, it is the connections we have with others that makes life meaningful. Without connection, I doubt that anyone can enjoy life and make a significant contribution to the family, the community, and the world. I believe that our greatest need as a human being is to give, not to get. And we will never really have joy in our own lives if we don’t find ways to enrich the lives of those around us. That is both the challenge and the opportunity!