You are Never Alone
And Notice that you are never alone.
There is a silence that lies in the space between people, a space where trust and non-judgement live. We need for to nurture it for any communication, sharing to exist.
Don’t talk, just listen. What matters most to your sister? Brother? Friend? Neighbour? All of them, all of us, have a contribution to make not just to our society, but also to the Earth, and even to you, even to me. All of us add a tiny slice of insight into the reality we call the physical world but just as importantly the emotional, social and intellectual worlds we inhabit together. We must acknowledge and affirm each other’s insights, but recognize that all of them, especially our own, is only partial. We must especially listen to people we disagree with for they too have a valid, if limited (just like me) point to make that can help uncover our own blindness. They too can contribute to building a shared vision of a reality that becomes more understandable the more we share.
Thus, we must learn to really listen (not my strong point) to others. Thus, we must escape our ideological traps that we have all created in our attempts to make sense of a confusing and messy life. Each of us suffers individually but when we connect with another and see that others suffer just as we do, we can begin to see that they is actually one shared suffering that only seems to be ours alone. For to be human is to live together – no human being is truly alone. We may choose to create a fiction that “I am alone” or “I can do this all by myself” but this is always a lie. We rely totally upon each other not only for our physical needs but even more importantly for our emotional and intellectual needs – and don’t kid yourself – just as much as a lack of food or water or air will kill us being starved of emotional support and connection will kill you – perhaps not quite as quickly, but eventually your mental health will suffer and your isolation creating a fear that will blossom into anxiety or depression or paranoia or conspiracy-theory thinking that makes us unable to connect to others, especially to others we consider ‘different’. Then we may become incapable of have a civil and healthy conversation with people who do not think exactly as we do. Then, and only then, are you truly alone in a mental and emotion prison of your own making.
So, listen, talk, and get to know your neighbours. Talk to your children and grandchildren. I guarantee you that none of them is not suffering in some way. There is nobody that I know well that is not struggling. Alone these sufferings and struggles can break us; break our bodies or our hearts or our minds. We may become so shut off from others that we become blind to the realities that do not conform to our limited and simplified versions of reality that, if left unchecked, becomes delusions that allow us to believe that our fictions are real. Only by engaging in heart-felt and difficult conversations about things that really matter to us with people who do not just say nice things and confirm our illusions, but rather lovingly, but firmly, help us to realize that all of us share in the same pain.
Nobody is the enemy: isolation and judgement are the enemy. All of us want to be the best we can be, all of us want the best for our families, all of us want to get along and trust our neighbours, all of us want to obey fair and just laws that bring order and security into our lives and allow us then to feel and be safe: for safety is a prime requirement for the trust we need to build bridges to others. Yes, there are various points of view. Yes, there are various answers to questions we all have. More importantly none of us, and none of our ideologies, is perfect or has a complete answer to any question. None of our so called ‘truths’ can ever encompass ‘The Truth’.
Only when we can talk, with respect and honesty, with each other –especially with people we disagree with, can we, together, help find solutions to problems that inevitably are social problems. We are, in some way, like fish in water. We don’t notice the water – we, like the fish, take it for granted. Our water is our societal values and culture that have defined ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and ‘truth’ and ‘lies’ for us. Just as pure and unpolluted polluted allow for healthy fish so does a healthy culture nurture healthy people. However, even in the purest water there is some pain and sadness, however, if we are connected with others and they help us work through this sadness, we can work through these painful emotions and then they can help us to grow. However, if we are alone, sadness can easily turn into depression and despair. On the other hand a fish in polluted water will eventually become sick: this is not the fish’s fault – this is not a ‘bad’ fish, a ‘weak-willed fish’, a ‘sinful’ fish – the water alone is ‘bad’. The sick fish is really there to warn the other fish – careful! The water is impure – find a place with pure water before you too become sick.
Right now the water all around us is polluted and making us sick. Look around, how many people do you know suffering from drug/alcohol addiction? Who has severe allergies? Learning disabilities? Anxiety? Depression? PTSD? Obsessive Compulsive or Bipolar disorder? Uncontrolled Anger? Despair? Is overwhelmed and burning out? Is cynical and negative about everything? I could go on, but you get the point. These are all wondourful people who rather than living lives of suffering should be living lives of joy and be sharing their unique gifts they have with all those around them. But our social and cultural environment is sick. Yes, we can work on cleaning up the mess we have all contributed but in the meantime
And Notice that you are never alone.