That may have always been an issue as even the 19th century romantic Wordsworth observed, the “world is too much with us late and soon.”
For all of our existence, thoughtful connection has been a human issue. We have always told stories to understand our relationship to life and our reverence for it but now, our stories seem out of sync with both.
Every minute of every hour we show each other who we are, and now that we have revealed ourselves to one another, thoughtful connection is even more of an issue.
Internet or no, to connect is to send and receive thoughtful messages, most often with language but sometimes with symbols or images that reveal more than words. Connecting is the light dawning, a window opening, an idea born.
In the 21st century, a virtual message is sent at speeds faster than we are able to think, making it not only easier to be thoughtless but at a speed beyond what we are able to physically experience.
This is a new wrinkle in our history and it is yet to be shown whether or not we will smooth it out. In the ancient traditions, the thoughtful life is living in the moment that one has rather than wandering to moments already lived or imagining days that do not yet show a sunrise.
A thoughtful connection is not without its weight or burden for a thoughtful connection is considerate, perhaps even painful but not unkind. It is the compassionate connection that allows us to know pain without being consumed by it.
We know what to say, because we have experienced closing down,
shutting off, being angry, hurt, rebellious, and so forth,
and have made a relationship with those things in ourselves.
We have to heal the relationship we have with ourselves if the world that we are so passionate about in our rhetoric has any chance. Relationship on our planet is at a tipping point as thousands of species become extinct or face extinction.
We are the one species that can make a thoughtful difference. Indeed, we are the one species that has had more impact on this planet than any other.
`There are people who are past being hurt, beyond being hurt. You should know this is true. You should try to become one of those people, to make an understanding with yourself that you are not your body, you are something bigger. That is your work on this earth, do you see? Every experience here is to teach you to do that. Living, dying, every experience.’
(Volya Rinpoche to Otto Ringling, Breakfast with the Buddha P. 275)
As humans, we have to get beyond our reactions. If it seems impossible to be kind, it does not follow that the only response is to return hurt. Silence is ever a thoughtful connection for it reveals a reverence for life, for getting beyond hurt. It reveals that we are something bigger.
(Note: Regular posts will resume August 3, 2014.)