I saw a movie the other day that could be summed up in one sentence: happiness is only real when shared. It seemed like profound wisdom, and at the same time remarkably simple. I’d bet most of us wouldn’t disagree with it, either—if we even dare to admit our loneliness, that is. But, do we actively know how important others are to our happiness? In other words, do we live with the awareness that we are not separate entities living alone in a crowded world? I don’t think we do.
Everything we do in this modern world is about our own survival, and we often forget how much we depend on others. We wouldn’t eat if it weren’t for others doing the work to get our food to grocery stores. Even if we feel that we’re ultimately the only ones responsible for our groceries, that’s simply the illusion and separateness we live in creating that belief. That type of thinking brings us a lot of unhappiness because it doesn’t allow us to feel our place in the world as it relates to others. It also doesn’t allow us to share our happiness when we do feel it. Because that notion of separateness makes us think we’re dependent upon ourselves and what we do—not our interactions with others as the source of our happiness. But really, the idea that we are all connected is nothing new. Buddhists have spoken of this for a long time. So why am I talking about it now?
As we nourish ourselves and care for our health, we often see it as a struggle because it’s separate from what we otherwise do in our daily lives. We see it as opposing our duties, our jobs, and our responsibilities. It often feels that life just happens and we’re all holding on to be part of it. We’re trying our best to implement little moments of nurture, but feeling guilty about it. Why? I often hear it’s because it takes time away from what we have to do, which most would call our life. The life we are supposed to be part of all the time; the fleeting life that we have to be oh-so-aware of every second in order to not fall behind.
However, life happens no matter what, and our utmost duty is to live it fully. That includes self care, nurture, and nourishment. That also includes happiness, and sharing that happiness with others. Otherwise, life just happens and we are not part of it; we’re only elements of it.
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