United in purpose, together we are one.
We cannot live for ourselves alone. We are interconnected with all life. Interconnectedness and interdependence are the threads that hold life together. In modern times, it’s easy to imagine ourselves as independent. We can choose to live alone, dine alone, entertain ourselves alone, and even pleasure ourselves alone. It has become possible to survive without relying on anyone but ourselves. In our time, living within and being responsible to a community, which our ancestors did for thousands of years, has been hyped into a story of oppression, enslavement, and cultism. But is that belief true?
There is no way to be totally independent unless you grow all your own food, mine your own metals, create your own tools, build your own house out of mud or wood from trees you milled the wood yourself, spin your own cloth, and create all your own furniture. Even then, you are not the creator of those things, they come from the Earth who, as a generous mother, allows us to take what we need. Most of us are willing to concede this point, but what about belonging, unity, and togetherness with other human beings?
When I was a child, I had an intact family with a mother, father, and a sister, much later a baby brother. We had enforced togetherness. Every Saturday we had chores to do. My sister and I were sent to the movies in the afternoon so our parents could be alone and in the evenings, we were required to watch the Lawrence Welk Show before going to bed early. On Sunday we went to Catholic mass, ate breakfast, and spent the afternoon playing cards, while my parents got drunk. No friends were allowed to join us and we were not allowed to be anywhere except with the family. The only fond memories of that enforced togetherness are the movies and as I grew older playing card games. What I came to understand in later years is that my parents were attempting to recreate the true togetherness they had experienced in their families while growing up in small town America in the 1920’s.
Mom often spoke of how on Saturdays all her uncles, aunts, and cousins would meet at someone home, pop popcorn, tells stories, laugh, and play games. Dad told of how all the German immigrants got together on Saturdays, made food, laughed, and told stories, while the kids played outside. One day, I realized what was missing from their attempted recreation of their childhood…a community, an extended family, a tribe of individuals who knew each other and shared their lives in more ways then a weekly social gathering.
Gradually, within the United State, the artificially created need to place each family in their own house, the marketing of automobiles, the hype of appliances that were supposed to make life easier and give everyone more free time, the promotion of store bought everything, created a desire to acquire more and more money to support those illusions. Families became separated by distance, the threads of the past were broken. However, nobody yet knew that all these modern conveniences spelled disaster for the human heart.
It’s my observation that modern people find it almost impossible to remain unified in heart, to remain dedicated to a common purpose. The word togetherness has devolved into a fear of groupthink. Currently, people are attempting to create unity and togetherness through Facebook, Twitter, music concerts, political rallies, parties, festivals, and anything else that seems to fill the empty gap left by the dissolution of meaningful community. While this might seem to be a cynical view one need only look at the existing political climate, right-wing racism, epidemic drug use, and the divorce rate to understand the truth of these statements.
The spiritual call of uniting in purpose so that together we can be one is a reawakening of the ancient vision of what Native Americans invoke in the words– All my relations…and the African concept of Ubuntu translated as I am because you are, you are because I am. This way of thinking changes how we interact with one another and all the creatures of the Earth. Oneness with All There Is has been the goal of the spiritual path since our primeval ancestors stood on two legs and gazed into the star-filled night feeling the call of the Creator to join in that wholeness, that holiness.