On Community

Flash back to the moment when I was having milkshakes and salad with my girls, my classmates back in high school, one glorious Friday afternoon, equipped with our stories, picking up where we left off after a long time of not seeing each other. Yes, milkshakes and salad may very well be a weird combination, but we are simply fine with how we roll, in our measly attempt to deviate from the herd, to challenge status quo. Nope, that was not the actual basis of why we spent the afternoon gobbling on milkshakes and salad instead of coffee and cakes. It was simply a random and spontaneous decision to spend it that way. My made up reason just sounded more interesting, I think.

Now zoom in to the conversation we had about men. Yes, men. There was talk of meeting people, options, dating, compatibility levels, priorities, timing, convenience, among other things. But that is not the meat of this post. Nope, this ain’t about menmeat. We found ourselves sharing our experiences, relating to one another, giving each other advice, at times rebutting assumptions, but often validating each others’ situations, building on them and relating it to the overall essence of life. The most notable takeaway I got out of that talk was determining the root of one’s interest for a person, whether it is falling in the idea of having someone versus actually falling for said person of interest.

She is an artist. She is a doctor in the making. She is a public servant. I am me. Me and my girls are so different yet so alike.

Zoom out and focus into current events, with all the buzz about the Binays and their abuse of power with the recent incident that happened in Dasma village. Such gripping dramatic flare in our political realities, yes. My favorite teacher in UP wrote this compelling article, shifting the focus from the characters of the story and instead pointing out the conditions in which the story revolved in. I quote:

Instead, what we have today is a fragmented megacity where we know less about each other as our communities are designed to exclude those who are unlike us.

Skip further to the part where I came across this blog post from my favorite yoga teacher,  chronicling the 5 best decisions she’s made in life. It struck me how she quoted her teacher Sharon-ji on how families sound like mafias, better thinking of our relations with each other as tribe-like instead . To quote:

..share with others what it is you want to learn and practice yourself.

This gets me thinking of the notion shared to me (by the same amazing person) on how there are only 2 root emotions where all others stem from: Love and Fear. With the complexities of our world today, self-preservist (okay, I just made that term up) tendencies are celebrated, dynasties, political or otherwise, regarded as the norm, and cordoned communities perceived as the paragon for comfort.

If we are so bent on self-preservation borne out of our fears, will we allow this to reign at the expense of others? Do we trust ourselves to make decisions that are sound for our own well-being, as much as it is for others? Do we give ourselves that chance? Do we give others that chance, regardless of whether they are our kin or not?

The etymology of community traces back to the notion of fellowship and shared interests. Despite our individual differences, it is fascinating to see the shared interests one can find with virtually anyone in this world, regardless of demographic variances. At the very minimum, we share one planet. Breakthroughs in quantum entanglement even introduce the notion of how our actions affect others independent of the context of time and space. Gripping stuff.

Forgive me if this sounds all too preachy. God knows I am as guilty as everyone else is. This is perhaps borne out of the stimulus from watching the news this morning with my dad, seeing regions fight over each other for oil and religion. But above and beyond this, above and beyond the socially accepted yearning for political supremacy, what can be done? Such complications are all so intricately intertwined in a vast web.

Then again, we are all more similar than we are different. The boundaries that perpetuate our perceived difference with each other and make us think that others are not worthy of the connections we can share to virtually anyone are meta-narratives that we have unfortunately subscribed to. They say, that to get something, one must give it first. Do we want love? Or do we want to remain stagnant in the established systems of fear? What kind of millenial social agents shall we choose to be? 

Penny for our thoughts as we welcome 2014, yes.

May we all relate less mechanically, and more purposefully.

“We are all that we’ve been waiting for.”



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