“I water you, you water me. We never drain each other, we just grow.” Unknown
On Father’s Day, I attended a luncheon with one of my friends, who is also a dad. We had such a wonderful afternoon; great food, friendly people, pleasing atmosphere and good fun.
The highlight of the afternoon for me was the entertainment, which reminded me of how great we are individually but how absolutely amazing we are together.
The performance started out with a singer and a piano player, who were extremely engaging and enjoyable. The audience were all singing along and dancing to the beautiful rendition.
After some time, other instrumentalists playing various local, percussion instruments joined in the chorus one by one, adding a different dimension to the concert. Each instrument had its own unique sound, such as the iron, tassa drum and tuck-tuck. Individually their sound was melodious and beautiful but, something magical occurred when they played in harmony.
This is how I see all aspects of life, as an invaluable part of a whole. Every person, animal, creature, tree, bird, fish, star, moon, sun or micro-organism, plays an integral role in the vast eco-system of the Universe, contributing to what we know, collectively as life.
The human body is a perfect example of this magnificent interconnectedness. What we see and experience as a singular body, is in fact a group of trillions of individual cells, working together, appearing as one.
Each cell in the body has a specific function and purpose that is unique to that cell. It knows itself to be fully capable and self-sufficient as a unit but also has the understanding that its intelligence and abilities are not in isolation, but in fact supports and contributes to the healthy functioning of the entire eco-system of the human body.
The same is true for every one of us. We are all exceptional individuals, with varying talents, gifts, abilities and functions. The Great Intelligence or whatever name you prefer to call it, God, The Divine, Essence or Source, in my opinion, was very purposeful in creating us with our unique aptitudes, which purposefully fits and serves the greater whole.
I believe that all sentient beings at some level have an awareness of this fact, as evidenced by our social nature, our need to be a part of something beyond ourselves, and how synchronously all parts of our existence seem to be connected with each other in one way or the other.
Being ‘a part of’ and desiring to serve and contribute is inherently who we are. All professions, businesses, great inventions, brilliant ideas, passions, missions, objectives, family units, friendships, relationships, organisations and societies, at its basic level, is built on the foundation of service and contribution to others.
I’m sure you will agree that, in recent years, however, we have seemed to forget this fundamental truth and have lost sight of who we truly are as one.
Unfortunately, we have moved away from the natural, supportive, unified nature of life, into a more isolated, individual, every man for himself existence.
This of course is not without its grave side-effects, which I believe, more now than ever, we are experiencing.
Our alienated habits have created a rise in a record high of persons expressing how lonely and alone they feel, despite, the seven billion inhabitants of earth.
It is also evident, in the number of destitute and homeless people we see on our streets and sidewalks, who are unable to access something as rudimentary as a meal or a roof over their heads.
Not to mention, our disregard for the environment and our insensitivity to how our actions impact, not only human life, but all life, the animals, birds, sea life and our planet.
Also, our new focus on every man for himself, shows itself in what seems to be a total disregard and irreverence for human life as evidenced by the number of offences and crimes against each other.
In my opinion, no matter or past choices, we are always afforded the opportunity to change our course and charter a new path, especially when the results are not serving. And there is no greater time than the present.
We are individually responsible for the preservation and continuance of this marvel we call life. No one person or organisation accountable. As citizens of the world, we are all charged with the task of protecting, caring for and nurturing life on earth for the benefit of all.
The brunt of our responsibility, however, lies in making the necessary changes and adjustments within ourselves first, which inevitably reflects outwardly. “Yesterday I was clever, so I tried to change the world. Today, I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi
I am certain, just like me, many of you may have a strong desire to make our communities, countries and world a better place. We recognise the need for change and just like me you may ask yourself, what you can do.
The simple answer is, as stated by Michael Jackson, “Start with the man in the mirror.”
When we decide within ourselves and commit in every moment to be more kind, caring, peaceful, loving, supportive, giving and accepting in aspects of our life, this becomes our way of being and our way of life.
Our chosen way of life not only affects us, it affects everyone around us, our family members, co-workers, neighbours, strangers and everyone we interact with. This in turn, impacts their lives and their way of being; and the gift goes on and on and on.
A while back, I did a social experiment, for a few weeks, where I purposefully allowed drivers, coming out from various side streets to pass ahead of me. When this happened, almost 8/10 of those drivers, then allowed other drivers wanting to do the same, to come out ahead of them. I was astonished by the infectious nature of kindness.
The same is also true for unkindness.
The truth is, we need each other. “No man is an island.”- John Donne. Life was not meant to be lived in isolation or based on the premise of every man for himself. We were all created as invaluable parts of a whole on purpose; one of the purposes being to go further together.
Picture yourself trying to move a heavy table alone, how challenging it would be. However, if you have the support of others, with the same goal of moving the table, the challenge is eliminated, and the task is easily accomplished.
I believe this was one of the intentions of the Great Intelligence when it created life.
I understand, that sometimes, we feel inundated by our personal life experiences and may feel burdened with our responsibilities and challenges, and sometimes we may feel that ‘just doing me’ is all we can do.
However, there is a special magic we experience, when we begin to see life, not just as me but as us; when we become more considerate and mindful of the needs of others, moving from only seeing life as me and mine to experiencing it as us and we.
What once may have been impossible becomes more than possible.
Imagine what life would be like, if we all remembered this fundamental truth, that we are invaluable parts of a whole; if each of us took the responsibility for our lives seriously by being the best versions of ourselves; and if each of us remain committed to embodying the qualities that will support and enhance life for everyone.
I believe, this will be the beginning of our yearned after heaven, right here on earth. I also believe that we are not limited by our imagination but can make it our reality starting right now, by being the change we wish to see in the world, as wisely said by Mahatma Gandhi, and experience the furtherance of life together.