Two weeks ago, on a Sunday, my family and I went out of the city to a venue where we could escape the “new normal” of the world. I spent the day without my shoes on, absorbing as much of the free negative electrons through my feet that the earth would give me. I didn’t have to wear a mask, the sun felt warm on my face and I watched my kids do what they are designed to do, explore the ever changing natural world around them, without the impediments of 2 dimensional screens. Even the air felt different as it moved through my lungs and for a few hours I felt normal as I bathed in the nature around me. If you understand that life is always expressing itself from a place of balance and that feelings of elation are often met with some event to bring you back to earth then something was busy making its way into my perfect afternoon.
Later on in the afternoon I scurried off to get some coffee and as I got back to where we were sitting, I heard Candice say to Lake something along the lines of “but we don’t have to worry boy because it didn’t have anything to do with us”. When I enquired what was going on, Candice said Lake was concerned about the shooting that had taken place at the top of our road. I did what every parent would do and what Candice had done and reiterated that we didn’t have to be fearful because it didn’t have anything to do with us. (Living in SA 1 vs My perfect afternoon 0)
On the Thursday before a taxi boss had been assassinated less that a kilometer from our house. We actually drove past the crime scene and if we had been there 10 mins earlier we would probably have witnessed it. The traffic had already starting backing up and as we drove past the car, riddled with bullet holes, my mind automatically took me back to an email (before memes existed) I received almost 15 years earlier. The email said something like, “You know you live in Joburg when the car in from of you gets hijacked and you get upset because you missed the green light.“ The email gave a whole lot of other examples but at that moment that line is what came flooding back into my mind. The mind does strange things when confronted with with our own or others mortality.
We had tried to reassure Lake (like many parents do) by creating a separation between our lives and how others live their lives, trying to shield him from the violent and harsh environment that most South Africans live in. By creating the dichotomy we induced a false sense of safety. This is how the world operates. By polarizing people, events, situations or ideas, we create the ability to condone or justify things happening to people or the environment without us realizing the impact it has on us. It allows us to separate ourselves from the environment and other people creating distance and space. The complete opposite is true.
In the Upanishads there is a quote that says “When a blade of grass is cut, the whole universe quivers.” Its one of my favourite quotes (I have many)and what it means to express is the notion that everything in the universe is connected and that the tiniest reductionist change will have an effect on the whole. Quantum physics will tell you, via the Unified Field Theory, that everything is connected at the subatomic level and the concept of space, time and separation is really an illusion. We are all part of some vibratory quantum soup, our energy fields interacting with each other in a larger energy field. Everything being connected.
So allowing the infringement of human rights of others, accepting the polluting of our environments, the abuse of children, the mass scale slaughter of other sentient beings so we can consume them, the suffering of others because profits have been prioritized over humanity or just accepting the murder of a human being (Eg a taxi boss) and thinking it has nothing to do with us, does indeed affect us in more ways than we think.
We are part of the whole, and the whole is us. The pain on the face of a beggar is reflection of our own pain. Another persons suffering is our suffering and similarly joy and happiness is collective. If you look around at what’s going on in the world it might explain why humanity is where it is currently. We’ve separated ourselves from others because of cultural and social differences and created justifications for the acceptance of the suffering of others.
If we came to realize that our actions (and thoughts) have far reaching effects beyond the visually obvious we might choose to live our lives with a little more presence and compassion. We would know that there is no separation between other beings pain and our own. We all come from the same origins, are made from the same dust and connected In ways we can’t even begin to understand just yet. So tomorrow morning when you turn your coffee machine on, just know that the electromagnetic field generated by you wanting coffee is exciting electrons in some far distant corner of the universe. Just imagine what some compassion could do?