We are all connected

What??!

How can we be connected when we’ve probably never even met? It all sounds a bit weird, but in reality, it’s true.

Whether we like it or not, we are connected. Have you watched “Don’t Look Up” yet? Even if you haven’t, you probably have heard it’s about two scientists who discover a huge comet due to hit the earth in six months causing an extinction-level catastrophe. All life on the planet is likely to be destroyed, but the overwhelming response from most people is that it’s not their problem, they are too caught up in their own day-to-day stuff.

We all share the same world

The real message of the film – which is brilliant by the way – is to relay the real-life experience that many climate change scientists face when they try to tell us about the climate disasters our world is facing: a huge sense of apathy and disconnect.

We can feel very insular and small when contemplating worldwide issues and it’s easy to lose the link between what is going on in our lives and the bigger picture. But the connection is there, we have just not opened our eyes to it. If we could, two things would happen which would make our lives, and everyone else’s, better.

Firstly we would appreciate things much more

So, we get up in the morning, wash, get dressed, eat breakfast, clean our teeth, blah blah… without giving it much thought, at all.

It’s only when something is not available to us (remember the great toilet roll shortage of 2020?) that we really notice it. I remember sleeping in a bed after six weeks camping and really appreciating my bed in a way I never really did before! When we appreciate what we have, we live a happier life. Why? Because we see value in things. A toothbrush, when you look at it, is the product of many people’s hard work, from the design team to the manufacturing process and the production of the materials, to the shipping and retail. All that work means we can look after our teeth. Thank goodness, because left to my own devices to make my own toothbrush I would probably be using a twig. When we start to think about it, we are connected to many, many people through the way we live.

Where does my toothbrush come from anyway?

We can make a conscious effort to have an awareness of this and we then naturally appreciate things more. This makes us feel warmer towards our fellow human beings. It also means we take care of things better, create less waste, and become more thoughtful with our consumerism, making sure we buy ethically.

Secondly we would make better decisions

We can learn to have an awareness of how our decisions affect others. During the height of the pandemic we all saw people acting selfishly and people acting selflessly. What’s behind the motivation to act selflessly? Essentially it is a sense of valuing others, seeing how we are all connected, and a having wish to make decisions that help others.

We can choose to put our own interests first, but we cannot guarantee that will even work, because whether we like it or not we are all connected. Remember when there was a petrol shortage last year? If in times like these, a proportion of people take more than they really need, others will lose out and they may be key workers who are then unable to provide essential services – to the people who bought up the petrol.

It’s easy to make decisions that put our own interests before others, but in reality, it’s not a realistic way to live. Because unless we live in a cave and never interact with anyone or anything, the truth is every decision we make does affect others, and the decisions others make affect us. The way forward as human beings and citizens of the world has to be to make decisions with the understanding of how they affect others, then make the best decision possible, the one we would like others to make for us.

How can we do this?

Going back to the beginning – we are all connected. This truth, if we can stay aware of it, will underpin our actions and choices and help us keep that feeling of connection with others, not only other people but animals too, and the natural world. It isn’t possible to make perfect choices but if we aim to make every choice with the best intention then we are going a long way towards feeling calm, peaceful, and connected.

We are all connected!

Meditation gets results

Meditation is a mental exercise where we retrain our mind. We can pick anything to focus on, it could be an item we use on a daily basis, such as a computer, and we can mentally break it down and imagine how that computer came into existence, how many people have been involved in its creation and how our lives have improved by having access to it (most of the time haha!). We can think about food, and people who grew crops, for example, harvested them, processed and packaged them, and sold them. We can think about trees we sit under, flowers we enjoy, insects and animals. We soon start to see that without others, our lives would be very different.

It is hard to think of anything we use, do, or enjoy which has not in some way involved other living beings. The fact that people have been paid to produce things doesn’t take away from the fact that we get the benefit from them, in fact, it can give us the incentive to make sure we pay a fair price for the things they produce.

If we sit quietly a few minutes a day and just think about connection, we will start to see it in our daily lives without trying, and naturally, our actions will follow the same course.

Feb 17th this year is Random Acts of Kindness Day, and it has grown in popularity each year. Why not have a look online if you want to know more about it at www.randomactsofkindness.org. There are some fantastic ideas, and with the added understanding of global connectedness, it means even more.