1999-2019: Celebrating 20 Years of Ripples
Ripples #1049: Delusions of Disconnection!
July 1, 2019
There is only one problem and there is only one answer. Every problem emerges from the false belief we are separate from one another, and every answer emerges from the realization we are not.
-Marianne Williamson, shared by Tara in Salt Lake City, UT via Project Happiness
A human being is a part of a whole, called by us “universe”, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest…a kind of optical delusion of our consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
-Albert Einstein, shared by David in Topeka, KS
I notice it when I’m driving: I too easily fall into a mindset that all of us are racing each other. So someone who passes me is now winning (which means I’m losing), and if they get in “my” lane too quickly (forcing me to slow down), well I’m sure they did that on purpose because they are meanies. This makes me a dummy for letting them do that to me.
With just a minor tweak of my mindset, I lean into the idea that we are all connected, which invites me to step out of the limited game of winners vs. losers or us vs. them, and shift into the LARGER game of life where we’re all on the same side because: we are all connected.
This alters my perspective and instead of just focusing on getting ME where I’m trying to go in the most efficient and safest way possible, I began to see that I’m part of an ecosystem of drivers where the ultimate goal is to get us all where we’re trying to go in most efficient and safest way possible. Sure there are some people who are going “too fast” or “too slow,” but once I rev up my patience and generosity even a teensy bit, the drive becomes more enjoyable while only costing an extra minute or two of my time. BONUS POINTS: I get to arrive at my destination a little bit calmer and a little bit happier.
And yes, I regularly encounter people who have forgotten that we are all connected and are careless in their choices. And there are plenty of times that I unwittingly accept their unconscious invitation to compete, which unfortunately causes a chain reaction of unkindness. Luckily, there are also times where I can let it go: instantly and cheerfully accepting that right now they have too much going on in their lives to remember that we are all indeed connected, and we are all here just to help each other find our way home.* This gets easier to do when I remember just how many times a day that I am the one who forgets that we are all connected.
The Ripples Guy
*P.S. One of my favorite writers, Anne Lamott, frequently quotes the Ram Dass saying: “We’re all just walking each other home.” I love this idea so much that it occasionally creeps into my speaking and writing!