I believe it was Heidegger who reminded us of three facts of our human existence:
1. We are alive
2. We are free
3. We are connected
We are alive. Now! This means that my life is now, this is my experience and I have to show up for it. In unpleasant times it is so tempting to linger in the past or to wait and anticipate a different, a better future. Both are uncertain. All we know is that we are alive today, now and each and every moment, we can live, we can participate, we can surrender to this Now.
We are free. Free to make decisions about our lives, free to decide how we want to live, what we want to be doing, which risks we are willing to take. Freedom carries within it the necessity to take on all the responsibility for your life. Once I know I am free, I let go of blaming others for my misery, I let go of making the circumstances responsible for my emotions.
We are connected, all Being is connected. We are connected in the most basic sense, in the most practical way. Being a part of existence, we are connected to all that surrounds us and also, to each other.
In times of feeling alienated, alone and disconnected from it all, take a look at your immediate surroundings. You may be sitting on a chair or a sofa that someone has designed and planned. Someone made sure it was produced and just realize how many peoples hands were involved in actually making the chair and for the chair to find its way into your home.
Where you live, someone made sure there is water coming out of the tap, someone laid the foundation of this house, made a plan, ordered the materials, these were produced by some one, some where, thousands of hands were involved in making your home. Human hands.
Think of what you had for breakfast, maybe an apple. Somebody one prepared the ground, put a seed in the earth, nursed the plant until it was a tree carrying fruit. Someone cared for the tree, watered it and kept alive. Some person picked that apple, maybe someone else packed it, someone made sure it arrived at your supermarket, someone put it there for you to take, someone received your money for it in exchange.
We have become so used to consuming that it can be so easy to forget that all things are being thought of, planned, organized, made, produced, crafted, put together, packed, transported that things are being created by people, often in great effort.
We rely on each other. We rely on people for almost all our needs, each and every day. We are connected.
Being human, I know that we like to feel seen, appreciated, respected and cared for. It is existentially important for us to feel connected.
We like to feel that we are a part of the human family and that we are contributing to this family. And we all are, in our own unique way. We are here, we are alive and free to contribute, there simply is no way we can not.
In the recognition that we are connected lies great potential for contribution. In the realization that we are connected, lies gratitude and appreciation for all that is provided to me, that is made available to me by others.
Especially in times like these, in which we have the chance to limit our connections to a minimum, I feel it is time to make a special effort to explore for myself, how I can stay connected. Not so much to the closest to me, but rather to those living beside me whom I have no personal, no intimate connection to.
As half of our face is hidden most of the time and we are encouraged to physically distance, what is available is the voice and of course our eyes. I find myself making sure my “thank you” and “have a nice day” are being heard. I find myself smiling often under my mask and somehow making sure the child that is smiling at me knows that I am smiling back. I make an effort to stay calm and kind when there is tension in the air on a busy street or in a queue. I find myself having compassion when confronted with anger as I can often sense the underlying fear that has triggered it.
And fear is a major issue. Fear is one of the topics that is being most discussed amongst my contacts. The discussion is often about why to be afraid or why not to be afraid. I believe this is something we all need to figure out for ourselves, but we cannot deny the fact that fear is present. If I am connected to my fear, if I have taken the time to face it, to know it, to understand and to accept it, it is easier for me to connect to yours, to accept yours. And this is what connection requires, as always, it begins with me.
So let us connect to our wisdom, our learnings and all the knowledge and truth we have gathered thus far. Let us connect to our hearts, to our deepest fears and allow compassion to arise. Let’s let our love teach us trust and allow us to feel our connectedness.
Charu Eliza Hermsdorf
Co-Founder of DIMA Mallorca, a Centre for Conscious Living
Mediator and Conflict Counselor at MediateBerlin