Maybe you've felt it before; an unexplained pull towards someone or something... a feeling of connection without history or reason. From Leonardo da Vinci to Neil deGrasse Tyson, and everywhere in between, before and after... you'll find a common theme spoken:
WE ARE ALL CONNECTED.
I originally started writing this post in my head last week while my thoughts were still with the rampant racism issues in the world. But the more I thought about it, this is really an important topic that encompasses more than just racism. Being connected to one another and understanding this connection, could truly turn humanity into a loving environment.
I was driving around thinking about how I could explain how I felt about connection, and Matthew 25:45 came into my head. (Well, to be honest, the story came into my mind, and I googled where it came from when I got home.) Jesus says: "Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." I think this was my first introduction to connection. I understand this verse to mean that we shouldn't pick and choose who we do nice or crappy things to, because we're all affected by it in the end. It's the true meaning of integrity. We should act kind, generous, loving and compassionate to everyone, no matter who is watching or what our own personal judgement or agenda may be. I'll be real with you... I've got a bad habit of judging others as a knee-jerk reaction. And this idea of connection, really reminds me that first off I have no right to judge anyone, including myself, but also that I truly want to give to others the love that I myself yearn for... unconditional love. Everyone deserves it. Everyone.
I also love the concept of namaste that the yogis have taught me. Deepak Singh, a writer who grew up in India says: "[Namaste] is the equivalent of hello, but with an element of respect." It is a gesture to send a message of peaceful spirituality to the universe in the hopes of receiving a positive message back. Fun fact: Because of the religion I was raised in, I wasn't allowed to practice yoga because of the "religious" beginnings from the Vedic priests. I was told that saying namaste meant “the god in me bows to the god in you.” And I knew full and well I shouldn't be worshipping other "gods." So the first few times I actually tried yoga, I admittedly felt strange about this phrase, and I wouldn't mutter it, even under my breath. But the more I was taught about the practice and truly opened my mind to it, I realized that it was more about this connection idea than a worship falsity. Miami-based yogi Sara Quiriconi says: "In essence, namaste is recognizing we're all equal." So if we're all equal, then no matter the religion or race or gender or financial status or how many things we own or if we have a mental illness or addiction... we all deserve this greeting of equality, respect and compassion that this one word can bring.
One of my personal favorite geniuses, Leonardo da Vinci is quoted to have said: "Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else." If you aren't familiar with his works, visit this page for an overview of his inventions. His understanding of connection, not only brought about amazing sculptures, art and inventions... but truly lead a way of outside of traditional thinking. There's even a book called How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci written by Michael J. Gelb.
You might know American astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson from PBS's NOVA ScienceNow or Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. My favorite quote from him is: “We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.” I love how he starts it at our level and breaks it down to one of the smallest components in the universe. Last week at my therapy session, my therapist told me about this experiment where they isolated particles in different locations and proved that they were still connected even though they were separated. Einstein was said to be the first to dabble in this particular theory which is now called Quantum Entanglement. (I've listed a couple of articles for browsing about this subject below.) In a lot of ways my brain thinks this is completely nuts and in other ways it completely makes sense.
Today, being Overdose Awareness Day, I think this idea of connection hits me even harder. You see, I was raised to look down upon those who were addicts. Derogatory names such as "junkie" and "alcoholic" were thrown around with such disdain, whereas now those words make me cringe with hurt and sorrow. I know now through my own personal experience from abusing alcohol as well as seeing people I care about hurt themselves and others with their use of alcohol or drugs, that compassion above all else is needed. I've shared the TedTalk on my Facebook page many times, but the important quote will always linger when I talk about addiction:
"The opposite of addiction is connection."
Can you please sit with that thought for a bit? Let it sink in to your soul. If all the mega-minds of the world that I've listed above can sit there and tell us that we are all connected, and that we need to open our eyes to see this... then I can only deduce that if we can act upon being connected, then addiction will become a thing of the past. If we can stop tearing each other apart, putting each other down, or lifting ourselves above others... maybe, just maybe there's a chance we can save a life. Maybe there's a chance we can make a difference and start a shift in this world back to love; back to the things that truly matter. There is so much hatred and judgement in this world, some days it's hard to focus on the good. But the more that I do... the more I read my bible, the more I pray, the more I talk to others about important things, the more I truly act of pure heart and a loving manner... the more I crave it and the more I want others to taste it too.
Peace & Grace be with you.
I dedicate this post to all those suffering today and to all those we have lost to addiction.
I miss you D.S.L. <3
Leonardo da Vinci
TedTalk about Addiction