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The Nature and Promise of Connection

I have been trapped in a maze of my own making. For several months now I’ve been contemplating what it means to be connected. What is connection? Is it possible for me to have it? Do other people have it? Can they, or anyone really, show me the way? And so I watched people and what I saw was that yes, people are connecting! And I don’t seem to be a part of it. And so I started getting very depressed.

Yesterday I went to a workshop called “Heart Play”. I had no idea what they were about, in fact, since they were having the meeting at the Sharma Center in Seattle, I thought that it was about Sex and/or Tantra. I tend to both combine and separate the two. But it wasn’t about Sex and/or Tantra, it was about connecting. After about a second or two of abject sadness that it wasn’t about Sex and/or Tantra, I realized that this was where I needed to be. Surely a group dedicated to connection would know the answer!

I met everyone and we did a couple of exercises. They were very Tantra-like. …well, I guess I did end up at a Tantra workshop… and then we did a process they called “forum”. Now I’ve put on several forums for the dance community, and each had their own structure. Now I was going to see a different one.

Their forum involved not only listening, but also mirroring. The group listens and then a few people get up and mirror what they heard. And they don’t mirror it back exactly, they look for the underlying content. The stuff that wasn’t said but that was just under the edge. Scary stuff.

I was there to talk about connection and so you know that I was going to get up there, stand in the middle of that group, and let them see me and my pain. I didn’t even care that the topic was home and mothers. I was on a mission.

So I got up there and I asked my questions. What is connection? What is it supposed to feel like? Do others really have it? Can you tell me what it is? And I added on: What is the definition of connection? Are people faking it to have a higher “rank” socially (since I run with a spiritual crowd). Can we ever have it? Can it be redefined? I wanted the truth of the matter once and for all.

They listened, and then they mirrored. What they mirrored was the control freak that resides inside of me. My control pattern of always trying to control the situation. I’m aware of this, I watch myself doing it. I listened to a short Tony Robbins video a while back and he said that we both need certainty and uncertainty, and that we tend toward one or the other. I tend toward certainty. I’d like to think it otherwise but it’s rather clear. I like to know the truth, what’s going on, and how it’s going to end.

I saw me demanding definite definitions, being skeptical of others, not wanting to do with any of it unless I was dealing with what was true. I laughed hysterically and I have to say, I cried too. That was me up there, oh yes, they had me down.

As I sat there and watched them, I finally got my answer. At least, the answer that makes sense to me. I understood the nature and the promise of connection. Here it is:

There are two types of connection, universal and manifest. The universal connection is something we all have because we are part of the universe, the cosmic force that just is. We are all, everything and everyone, connected. We have a hard time feeling it because we are also manifest. As manifest beings, we live in the illusion of separateness. We have forgotten that we as a single wave, is also a part of the ocean.

It is very difficult for us as manifest beings to feel connected to the universe, and yet we all want that, very badly. We strive for it in all sorts of ways and the most prevalent way we strive for it is through connections with other manifest beings. Young men join gangs, or the army. Churches, groups, communities, cliches, spring up continually. People chase fame in order to be loved. We never outgrow high school. Even backing away from people is an attempt to connect, or at least attempt to not feel the pain of not being connected. Everything about us, everything we do has to do with trying to connect with the universe, to go home.

It may actually seem counter-intuitive to chase something in the manifest world in order to achieve a connection to the universe, but it’s actually the key. The connection as separate beings can bring us to the universal connection.

As manifest beings, we are very limited. As an actor, I have learned that the tighter the form, the deeper you go, the more creative you become. You grow toward the dimension that is not restricted by the form. When water changes into ice cubes, it expands, but it doesn’t break the ice tray, it expands in the direction that’s unrestricted. It grows up. If you completely restrict the water by putting it into a sealed bottle, then the water will still grow, but it’ll break the form, it’ll break the bottle. Limit a painter to the color blue and watch how creative she gets with her work.

If we are unrestricted in a dimension, then the possibilities of growth in that dimension are infinite. The universe is infinite, I think we can agree on that. We as manifest beings are not infinite, at least in the same way. We are restricted by the illusion of separateness that we can’t escape. We can’t reach our arms out and encompass all. What we can do, what we’re not restricted in, is going deep within ourselves. Since we are not restricted in that dimension, the possibilities are infinite. Like the universe, we are also infinite. Two infinite “beings” or whatever, can’t exist as separate entities (otherwise they wouldn’t be infinite), therefore, we have proven that we are the universe.

So how does connecting with other manifest beings, nature, art, etc… have to do with feeling like we’re connected to the universe? Every single time we connect to anything or anyone, we dive deeper into our own selves and expand into our infinity. We become more connected to the universe, or at least feel that way because we have more awareness of that infinity. Every time we see another person, feel an emotion consciously, learn something, do anything, we grow. And we grow deep. Connecting to another person opens us up a little further. We can allow more connections. We become flexible, our bucket becomes larger. We dive deeper. We exercise the connection muscle to the point that, someday, we don’t need to try anymore. We just feel connected and we can take it with us and trust in the universe.

By growing as individuals and by exercising connection, we can relearn what it feels like to connect to the universe.

What is a connection? It can be anything. A look in the eyes, a touch, a good deed (even if it’s anonymous). It can grow deeper and deeper until it’s a sustained connection. The point is, any connection is good connection and with practice it will open you up to even more connection.

Don’t let your EGO run rampant and tell you that a deeper connection is better than a light one. We are all different beings with different needs. We develop our own connection skills based on our own needs. Some people thrive on moderately light connections of 100s of people, others have one or two deep ones. Some people connect very lightly with everyone. A smile, a good word, a helping hand. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we do enough to sustain our own growth and health.

And so there it is. The way to feel connected is to connect. Too damn simple, sez my own inner critic, yet there is is.

Thank you,

-Karin

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So now it time to think about what this means for me. What is my truth? I like to do things with lot’s of people in moderation. I can’t sustain it for long. I like light, friendly connections with lot’s of people who I love in a universal way. And I would like a few really good friends that I can have deeper connections with. It’s been really hard for me. There’s so many people in my social group. I have a hard time keeping up. I have a hard time getting to really know people well enough to know if I want to go deeper. So I haven’t done that and I think that’s why I’ve been having a connection issue. I need one or two really close friends. So I think my next step is to explore individuals and find my friends. And I need to remember to do this with my own best interests at heart.

3 thoughts on “The Nature and Promise of Connection

  1. Karin,
    Quite a journey… thank you for sharing.

    I look at the universal connection a little differently. I have always felt connected in that sense. I think that it may simply be a matter of the definition in the body of what “feels” like connection. I have learned, through direct and indirect actions, how I am connected and how that feels. For my mind, the thinking part of “connection”, it is a matter of “IS-ness”. Connection, One-ness with all that Is Simply and Powerfully Is the truth. Since I believe that, it became easy for me to feel it in so many ways.

    Perhaps this is something semi-unique to me. I don’t know.

    Thx again,
    Jon

  2. Now, Liz, that just doesn’t seem to be possible! I wish I could RELAX!

    John, thank you for sharing your view of connection. I suspect there are as many definitions as there are people! That was a big thing for me to realize, that there is not truth to connection, it’s as mysterious as everything else!

    -Karin

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