A New Perspective: ‘Be united with one another’
Eagle County CO, Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” There is a Jewish tale of a good King who is dying. Before all his grieving subjects, he calls for someone to bring him an arrow and asks the weakest person to break it. The man does so with ease. Then the King asks for a bundle of arrows, which he asks the strongest in the crowd to break. The man cannot do it. The King says to his subjects, “I bequeath to you the community of you all. Be united with one another. This oneness will give you strength, which alone you would never be able to attain.”
A feeling of belonging, that sense that we are part of a whole greater than ourselves is necessary for our well being. We live in a society where the individual is celebrated. How special are your talents compared to anothers? How creative are you compared to others and do you offer an original contribution to the world? This separation of the individual creates inflated egos and neglects our community.
Being part of a group or community gives us a sense of purpose. It helps us feel needed to interact with others and helps defeat loneliness. It can, on the negative side, oppress spontaneity, freedom of expression, insist on conformity, or discriminate against those outside of the group ” all in the name of belonging.
Spending time alone can be beneficial and nurturing. It can be a relief. Deep, sad aloneness is different. It is the feeling that no one cares. That it doesn’t matter what happens to us; that we are not important to anyone. It is a feeling that if we ceased to exist, no one would notice. Finding a sense of connection to others is so important.
Creating spiritual community is one way to belong. It is not about creating a “group” that you need to belong to. It is about attending events, even if you sit quietly, and knowing that you belong. It is a sense of support that may not feel the same way if you, say, take a class at college. Spiritual community is involvement in the development of your soul. It is about sitting in grace and being around other people who are doing the same.
There is no perfect spiritual community. There are people, just like you and me, who come together to experience acceptance. You may learn something along the way that you can put into practice in your life, but hopefully you walk away with a sense of acceptance for who you are. Spiritual community accepts all who attend as part of the human race. There is no separation between you and them.
If you find a group or an event that you want to attend, you should be able to do so without expectations ” of yourself or the group. If it is truly a spiritual gathering, there should be acceptance of all who attend with no expectations of participation or achievement. True spirituality is unconditional acceptance for all that is.
Walk through many spiritual groups, gatherings and events to see how they feel. A sense of belonging will show up in one or more of these gatherings. Search for belonging. It is wise to explore a variety of options.
Attending one gathering and going only to that group can either feel stifling or it can be exactly what you need. Attend, experience and pay attention to how you feel in each moment. There will never be perfection amongst group members, so it is up to you to make the best choices for your life.
Catherine Zeeb holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Metaphysics. She has a private therapy practice in Edwards. You can visit her Web site at http://www.healing-spirits.net.