Yesterday consisted of waking up with a spicy cup of tea, playing fetch with the dog, and an afternoon immersed in the VICE channel.
One VICE story was particularly intriguing, especially since I am still reminiscing about Hulaween and have been intensely reflective about life lately. Listening to the perspectives of the commune’s inhabitants and the writer’s progression during her time in the deep forests of British Columbia were identifiable and relevant to my own trains of thought.
But something strange happened when I got back from Poole’s. I was genuinely sad. It wasn’t just the post-vacation blues that we all experience. And it wasn’t only because I missed my newfound friends, although I did. I missed the freedom I felt there. The freedom to act like a total weirdo and have no one give a fuck, or better yet, encourage it. The freedom to not be online constantly—or at all—, to not have to deal with an increasingly out of control inbox. And the quiet—the quiet that had felt eerie to me on my first day—I found myself craving. The morning after I got home, there was a loud dump truck doing god knows what for hours outside my apartment. I got on the subway and everyone was zombied out on their phones. I went into the office and everyone was just… the same.
The experience made me realize that perhaps there was something missing from my life that I didn’t even realize I needed. It showed me a different way of interacting with each other and with nature.
Honestly, I think there is a lack of genuine connection in the world. No one really listens to each other. We are constantly waiting for the pause in superficial conversation to talk about us, our lives, our problems. Individualism is a curse and a blessing. It has enabled a lot of success, progression, and creativity. But I think it also pits us against each other when we are not balanced; makes us selfish, makes us want. We need to find that balance, that common ground where we can join together as individuals.
I’m not saying we all need to forget urban life and head to a commune in the woods. I am saying that we should give more of ourselves. At the same time though, we should not expect praise and our feet to be kissed because we offered up our energy.
Giving takes place on a mutual level of respect, of understanding.
I am sure you have heard the word “namasté”; on a coffee mug, variations printed on shirts, and when your yoga teacher ends class. It’s quite mainstream now, but it still holds significance, and always will.
Namasté embodies the concept that we are all one. A few translations of namasté:
The divine light in me bows to the divine light within you
When you and I bow to our true nature, we are one
My soul recognizes your soul
We should be recognizing other souls more. And be aware of our own divine light as well.
While we are on the topic of Eastern culture, here is a tidbit about Buddhist philosophy from Chad Mercree:
… Buddhists engage in selfless activities for the benefit of others. These actions are based in compassion to end all suffering in the world. Performing selfless acts on behalf of humanity fosters feelings of happiness and joy.
When we focus on our own problems, we are basically saying that the issues of one person are more important than every other living being in the entire universe. However, the wish to alleviate the suffering of all beings in the universe has the potential to touch an infinite number of lives. This subtle shift in consciousness from self to others opens our consciousness to a greater understanding of the state of the world and allows for our awareness to fill that larger world.
Personally, I feel so much more… light, full of gratitude, calm when I immerse myself in the bigger picture. When I focus my energy and thoughts into the system that is larger than all of us. Whether it is reading ancient Hindu literature, hunting, expressing gratitude to my fiancé, helping a friend finish a few projects, practicing a skill…
Find your flow, where you can shift that focus from yourself to the rest of the world.
If you’re feeling stuck, too much in your head, anxious, angry… Maybe these actions and questions will help:
Be free and be weird - don’t worry about being “too cool for school”… Stay strong in being completely and genuinely you, and people will start to recognize that.
Take note of what you surround yourself with. Who and what directly influences you?
Place your feet in other people’s shoes, get a new perspective. It could be quite humbling.
Help a brotha or sista out!
Give a compliment!
Write down your priorities.. Do they line up with what you value?
How are your actions indirectly affecting other people? Ecosystems? Cultures?
“You can’t pour from any empty cup.” Find the balance between yourself and others.
The only way world peace, and inner peace, can happen is if we all try to give compassion and understand each other.
We are better together.
music festival in Florida
I Joined an Anarchist Commune Expecting to Hate It, But Coming Home Sucked
VICE, written story & documentary
A Little Bit of Buddha
a book that touches on Buddhist philosophy
Learn the Meaning of Namasté