Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Connection and Separation...

I stumbled across this magnificent photo-blog of a couple's journey through India and surrounding countries. Not only are the photographs incredible but the prose is simple and allows you to feel as if you are on the journey with the writers. I spent over an hour going through this blog last night. As you know, India is on my list of dream trips. I feel an affinity with the people and culture there that I can't explain. Somehow, it feels like home to me.

I experienced so many different emotions as I went through the photo-blog. I was overcome by a deep sense of connectedness as I looked into the faces of these people from another part of the world. I could feel them, as if their story was my story. I could feel what their lives would be like to live. I could feel their joys and sadness, their triumphs and their defeats. And I realized that this is the human story. No matter where in the world we go, our basic story is the same, regardless of the varying cast of characters, scene and setting. In my recent studies of the mythology of various cultures across time and across the planet, this is being exemplified again and again: we are all living the same basic story. We live. We struggle. We die. And in the meantime, we attempt to find moments of joy and come to an understanding of what love is. There is a sense of oneness that comes from this, a sense of connectedness.

And yet, in looking at that photo-blog, I was also struck by another, contradictory, truth. While we are all connected in this common human story, there is still a vast separateness. This separateness lies in the fact that no other human being on this planet perceives the story in the exact same way. No other being that has lived or will live has your particular mix of genetics, experience and perceptions. For the real story is not the common one we share but the one that plays in our head. Or rather, that is the story we perceive to be real. It is our personal reality, the parameters within which we experience and interact with the world. And that is as unique to each individual on this planet as their fingerprint. Sure, there are commonalities, but there will never be a moment where another human being will be able to understand precisely what the world looks like from within your mind, from within your body. This realization brings with it a deep sense of aloneness and isolation.

And so, I work to understand how best to integrate these two states, both the connectedness and the separateness. I have a difficult time with this. Both states feel overwhelming. I imagine my inner guru would say to just let go and let them both wash through me. I'm not sure I know how to do that yet.

It's still amazing to me how much things move me, how hard-wired I am for a deep response. This journey through someone's photo-blog brought up some very interesting feelings, thoughts and questions for me. Everything does. Everything. Sometimes, I don't feel made for this world. Sometimes, it's all too much. It's so loud. And beautiful. And heartbreaking. And overwhelming. And exciting. And confusing. And exquisite. I hope some day my soul will find some peace with this human experience. Some day.

tall penguin

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