“We all desire to be happy and avoid suffering.” Dalai Lama
While sitting at the airport I am given plenty of time to read, think and reflect.
I’ve begun reading a book I borrowed from my brother called “Ethics for the New Millennium” by the Dalai Lama. In it there is a passage I’d like to share:
“Whereas formerly farmers would call in all their family members to help with the harvest, today they simply telephone a contractor. We find modern living organized so that it demands the least possible direct dependence on others. Everyone seems to want to have their own house, their own car, their own computer, and so on in order to be as independent as possible. This is natural and understandable. The increasing autonomy that people enjoy as a result of advances in science and technology has its good points. In fact, it is possible today to be far more independent of others than ever before. But with these developments, there has arisen a sense that my future is not dependent on my neighbor but rather on my job or, at most, my employer. This in turn encourages us to suppose that because others are not important for my happiness, their happiness is not important to me.”
We strive to be more and more independent from each other, but at what cost? People are less affectionate, less communal. As a result, people are lonelier and unhappier than ever before.
We are afraid of being vulnerable, afraid of admitting our fears, afraid of asking for help. (Check out Brené Brown’s TED talk posted on my TED Inspiration page)
I for one battle with my yearning for independence, and my natural human need to share and live with those around me. In the end, there needs to be a balance. A balance between being able to do things on your own, and able to share experiences with those around you.
This is why I want to spend a year serving in AmeriCorps. I want to live communally, in a house with caring and loving roommates, in a town that looks after one another, while serving with a non-profit to help those around me. I want to continue to build relationships with people in my life—both far and near. It’s so important to make connections, understand people’s struggles and then serve and give back in all the ways you can.
This next year is a true test for me. A test of who I am—on the outside and inside—a test of dedication, of patience, of vulnerability, of true love…
As Abraham Lincoln said, “People are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
May each of us open our hearts and let those we care about into our lives a little bit more.
After all, we all need each other to survive.