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Connection and Belonging

Baba Hari Dass

In this dark time of year (for those living in the northern hemisphere), many people, in the midst of holiday celebrations, find this a time of disconnection and loneliness. Regardless of our life situations, in this season of parties and presents, we may feel isolated, all the while longing for connection. It’s all too easy to hold ideas of how things ‘should’ be, and then feel disappointed when they don’t turn out that way.

Many years ago when I wasn’t sure about my place in the community, Babaji told me, “You make your own place.” I had a story about myself – that I was shy, I had nothing to offer, I wasn’t worthy, etc. Believing that story kept me from what I really wanted, which was a deep sense of connection and belonging. Whatever stories we’re telling ourselves come from our sense of ourselves as separate beings who somehow don’t make the cut or don’t fit in.

In fact, we are not separate, independent beings. All of life is interconnected. Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh talks about interbeing; we all “inter-are” in the deepest sense. Another spiritual teacher, Albert Einstein, says,

A human being is part of the whole called by us “the universe”, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few people nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison.

It is up to us to take a step out of that prison, first of all by recognizing that it is self-created, and then challenging our habitual thought patterns. Babaji reminds us, Good and bad are only a creation of our own mind. If we make an ugly picture of the world in our mind, then we see the world as ugly. Elsewhere he says, You are in bondage by your own consciousness, and you can be free by your own consciousness. It’s only a matter of turning the angle of the mind.

In the book “The Gift”, translated by Daniel Ladinsky, Sufi mystic and poet, Hafiz, says

Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them,
“Love me.”

Of course you do not do this out loud;
Someone would call the cops.

Why not become the one
Who lives with a full moon in each eye
That is always saying,

With that sweet moon

What every other eye in this world
Is dying to

We all want to love, connect and belong. When we momentarily forget, let’s remind ourselves to come back to what’s most important to all of us. Stop, breathe and enjoy the gifts life has to offer. Happy winter season, everyone.

contributed by Sharada