Our society has become cold and alienating. At a time when we have become more connected electronically, we are in in fact more separated than ever before.
At the very core of who we are, we are all human. In order to survive, outside of basic food and shelter, we need three things. First, we need to feel competent at what we do. How many of us feel like what we do every single day matters? That what we do, how we contribute, is not a just a job, or a career, but a calling? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ” If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
Secondly, we need to live authentic lives. Living authentically means living our lives in congruent with our values and beliefs. Our values and beliefs. Not the beliefs of others who we only sometimes believe, or when it’s convenient. Those values and beliefs are the things that guide how we view this world and treat others.
Lastly, we need to feel connected to others. This connection hopefully begins the moment we are held as a baby up through the final moments of life as our breath slips away. Devoid of this connection, we lose touch with humanity. The feeling that someone, anyone cares about us.
However, that connection is lost the moment we attach a label, thought or feeling that underscores someones humanity. It is in that lost connection that we start to push others away. Label them, put them into a category, and start to look at them less like a human, and more like a number, a widget being . This is how wars start. Why blood is shed. Instead of seeing every single person as worthy of our love, our attention, our connection and part of our shared humanity.
There is this Tibetan Prayer that I am fond of and describes so eloquently our need for a more focused effort of our shared humanity.
” Whenever I see someone, may I never feel superior. From the depth of my heart, may I be able to really appreciate the person in front of me.”