Greetings and interactions or the lack thereof are important elements in a person's life. They can be stages for many emotions: grief, joy, relief, offense, acceptance, curiosity. Our lives contain countless interactions, some we remember and others we almost immediately forget. The ways in which we process connections and absences can enrich us. With practice, we can feel presence and depth through every action.
This idea can seem confusing at first. How can there be presence and connection even when someone says goodbye? Why does it matter what we think of death and afterlife? Why does anything matter? Where is the presence and depth in that thought action? It's there -- deep down. What about how all those rich people get everything and the poor ones treated like criminals? Or how the good looking get treated differently than the less good looking? And how some people take advantage of others? Where is the presence and depth in those thought actions? Wayyy down there.
Sometimes people join spiritual communities as ways to reinforce ideas of belonging.
Spiritual communities were once big in my life, and through them I met many people. I invested my time in the first one, a Christian church, in high school. The environment felt like a big welcome because I felt so lonely, confused, and helpless during that time in my life. After a few years, I wanted to experience sex and not feel bad about my desire. When I told my uncle that I wouldn't be going to church anymore (the one he helped run), I felt such release and relief along with some anxiety and fear.
In my early 20s, I thought I'd found salvation in community form when I met an alternative spiritual group. No boundaries except to love each other seemed awesome at first. Then... wow, such rampant inconsiderate behavior. No one wanted to expect discipline from anyone else. The leader lady acted kind and holy, oh everyone matters. Then she focused her time on the people with money, an aspect that revealed itself over time. A few years in, I interpreted that a couple of people treated me like I was crazy (one of the rich ones and another female who managed a building in which the group ran a summer camp). I felt offense that the group would encourage people to "be creative and release their inner children," and then when I did that, people acted like I was insane. When I felt that the leader lady wasn't willing to help me and instead told me my depression was "stupid," I felt offense at her shallow and ignorant interaction and parted ways.
To anyone who has felt rejection after experiences with any group: May you experience the peace and connection deep inside of you. You matter. Connection in this world can be a fleeting experience sometimes. That doesn't make you less. It doesn't mean you need revenge. The duality of more and less, bigger or smaller, better or worse, angry and happy -- that's irrelevant to connection except that it can lead you to want it. Presence, meaning, and belonging are inside of you every second of each day. Thank you for looking for it, for desiring it. Thank you that we are it.
Well hello there.