As I sit to write these words, Bill Withers is playing over my speakers, singing his classic “Lean on Me”. Every time I hear this song, when I really can stop to take in the lyrics, it brings tears to my eyes. It’s just one of those songs that can instantly call to mind the gift of community.
If there is a load you have to bear
That you can't carry
I'm right up the road
I'll share your load
If you just call me
We have never needed community more, or been more creative and resourceful in getting that need met, despite limitations and restrictions. How industrious human beings can be! How else might we get through the demands and challenges of modern life, if not in the company and support of one another?
This blessing works both ways though, leaving us feeling more adrift and bewildered than ever at those times when community feels elusive or inaccessible. More and more, I hear stories of discord among once tight communities of friends and family, because we have lost the shared narrative that kept us together.
The difficulties we currently face might serve to pull us apart superficially, but perhaps there is an invitation to a deeper conversation about the underlying values that we are trying to protect with our posturing? Perhaps that deeper conversation, on the level of values, not ego or identity, might help us once more find common, healing ground?
I have been challenging myself to speak less and listen more to those whose views differ from mine. By allowing for some stillness, I can better listen for those common threads that hint to what we all ultimately long for: safety, sovereignty, belonging, love.
This has become a spiritual practice for me and keeps me engaged with those whom I might disagree with and even seek to avoid. It is far too easy to retreat to my own echo chamber where I am right, surrounded by those who share my world view. There, if I choose, I can become hardened and callous.
However, this does nothing to further my own evolution. Insisting I’m right, doesn’t help me to practice acceptance, or compassion, or to keep my self-righteousness in check. Like every practice, there is a learning curve and I am not always successful. But I have had conversation or two, where I once I might only have felt sadness, anger or resentment.
Perhaps, you might join me in trying this spiritual practice for yourself? I’d love to hear what you discover.
Blessings on your journey,
Louisa has always enjoyed writing and is thrilled that she now has a way to share her musings with a larger community of like-minded seekers. Her writing is often an extension and exploration of the struggles she faces in integrating her own spirituality, scholarly study, life experience, and nuggets of brilliance from her teachers in the hopes that it might alchemically transform itself into something approximating wisdom.