October 2020 Thought For The Month - what's happening to our sense of Community?
We live in an interconnected world. More than ever before, we are aware of the beauty and diversity of the world as well as of many issues that affects us all. With a click of the button we have access to thousands of stories every day. We feel concern for the well-being of the communities all over the world and become outraged at the injustice and oppression of the people, we have never met before. We feel awe and wonder at the natural beauty and cultural accomplishments of the places we have never been to.
So why do we feel so disconnected with so much apparent connection? Why are so many people lonely? Isolation and loneliness have become an increasingly prevalent concern in our society and research has shown that it can seriously impact life expectancy. We all identify with different cultures, classes, generations, social, religious or political groups, these do give us a sense of connection and even meaning; they can also create a sense of separateness from others. The bonds that ties families & neighbourhoods together appeared to be weakening. A culture of individualism has become normal, impacting nearly all aspects of our lives, yet we all need to belong to somewhere!
May be we should ask ourselves are there other ways of belonging and finding connection? What would our world look like if we truly connect to those around us regardless and even because of our differences.
Imagine that the world is like a human body with different organs and cells, no cell is isolated from the body, they all receive nutrients from it and contribute towards its well-being and growth the organs are not in competition with each other but rather work together in harmony towards a common goal.
What would our lives to be like if we stopped living in our ideological bubbles and started to think of humanity as a whole to which we all belong. What if we actually started talking to our neighbours about how our community needs to grow, what if we took actions together by carrying our voluntary acts of service we might find out who were really we are as individuals and how we can grow and develop for the benefit of all.
Everyone can act to create a kind of community we would like to live in characterized by cooperation, friendship and harmony and in doing so we can find the true meaning of belonging and there may be that sense of connection and meaning that so many yearn for, could in fact be found right in front of us in our local neighbourhood and communities. “So powerful is the light of the unity that it can illumine the whole earth”