Community is one of those things that was taught to me from an early age. However, for many of us as children we may begin to notice differences in people and our community begins to divide. This might first be seen with the separation of boys from girls. The first time, was in day care, that I experienced the us and them or you and I, with the separation from one another. We were either girls or boys and we were either good or bad.
That day care separation was only the beginning. Not long there after, began the struggle of peer pressure, with the paradox of finding our unique identity. While being a part of a culture that wants an homogenized existence, with either in or out. It is from there that I noticed we are also separated by neighborhoods, fences between homes, churches and so on. In a way, we are trained to be separate from one another, even though as humans we are in need of one another to survive.
This separation can cause us to lose a connection with who we are and become caught in our mind as we differentiate between right and wrong. Which feeds the false connections of achieving and acquiring. This leads to self censorship as we begin to try to blend in with everyone else. This can lead to becoming trapped in our mind and losing touch with our community and with our hearts. As many are taught in a Lutheran church, it is turning in on oneself to only see one way to be. Losing touch with our heart is losing touch with who we are. This is losing touch with who we are outside of the expectations that have been established for us. Until one day there is an awakening. These “ah-ha” moments can come when we may find ourselves questioning who we are as an individual and what we are doing with our life.
The act of discovering that how the majority may live does not fit us, can be jarring. For this reason it can be beneficial to find a trusted friend and/or counselor and/or a spiritual director. An awakening can wake up all sorts of awareness within us, that can be just as scary as it is exciting. To also remember to be patient when looking forward. To also remain in the present moment. Some things that may help are centering prayer, some form of meditation, whether sitting focusing on breathes, chanting or moving meditation such as Yoga or Tai Chi.
Those present moment exercises help connect through breathing in a gentle reminder of a larger connection into the universe. The in breath brings in different elements, as our breath exhales different elements, connecting into the ebb and flow of the air around us. No words or thoughts need to be extended in the action of breathing, to bring connection outside of ourselves. Our breathe can also be a humble reminder there is something larger than we are and that we are already a part of something without expectation or judgement. That connection will soon lead to a human community who support and are present in the flow of giving and receiving.