Accepting our separation, our Other-ness, is critical to the survival of diversity of thought, belief, and experience. It’s also a healthy way to check ourselves and not fall prey to our own arrogance. Yes, it feels good to be certain. It feel safe and comforting, to be sure. But it’s a false comfort. It’s a conceit. And it certainty hurts both us and everyone around us, when it takes over our thinking and tells us we don’t need to question our assumptions, our motives, our actions. Our systems are not built for 100% surety. We may crave Undivided Unity, the way we crave chocolate or a day at the beach, but we can never truly have it. We can only have the sensation of having it – and as we’ve learned, that sensation can’t be trusted. And knowing that is a first step towards actually preventing certainty from trashing our lives – and the lives of everyone around us.
When we let go of our arrogance, get humble, and simply decide to learn, we can actually make some genuine progress. We can get down to the work of honestly seeing our partial knowledge for what it is – not a cause for blame or shame, but a natural part of who we are as finite individuals in an ever-expanding universe, who rely on the input of innumerable others to keep us on track. And when we not only accept, but welcome our shortcomings as opportunities to grow, we give ourselves the chance to make the most of our humanity – as well as the humanity of everyone, like us or otherwise.
So, we need to be strong in our separations. We needn’t fall back into the standard-issue despair we so often feel, when we contemplate our divisions. Nor should we judge separation as being the sole source of our suffering. Separation is only one side of the proverbial coin of our lives, and it presents us with a vitalizing challenge – to rise, to respond to the world around us, much as our neurons and neurotransmitters do inside the “wiring” of our systems, in a perpetual, self-sustaining process of discovery.
Rather than rejecting distance, we can treat separation as an invitation, an opportunity. After all, our weaknesses are the places where we can get strong. We need to find the gaps where we come up short, and strive to cross them. We can use our separation as an impetus, a springboard, a prompt. Just as we need to be persistent in our connections, we need to be humble in our self-awareness. And we need to step up to challenges of separation – personal and cultural – as opportunities to learn and become what we have never before been. Forget the fear. Never mind the dread. Get on with the business of getting honest and getting real. Remember, the process of learning, a process of growing is never-ending within you, every moment of your life… and it can take you in whatever direction you choose.
So, don’t pull away and stay that way. Don’t disengage from distance. Don’t dismiss separation. Connection is an illusion, but it is anything but useless. Find the gaps, identify the separations, discover the distance… and then step up to find out how you can more actively cross those gaps, connect the dots, and create bridges from what-is to what-will-be. Separation is not our enemy. Fearing and rejecting separation and refusing to connect across it, is. Fortunately, our systems show us that we are already adept at bridging innumerable, every moment that we are alive. The challenge is, How to apply what we now know, to overcome bad habits of shortsighted insularity we cling to as though they were our saving grace? Separation isn’t tearing us apart. Our intolerance for separation is.
Can we fix this? Will we fix this? Who can say?
It’s up to you.
It’s up to all of us.
And anything is possible.