Wednesday, April 11, 2012

As Ancient As We Are New

     Earlier this week, I came across a couple of provocative blogs, both addressing the topic of segregation. One was written by a black South African woman, and the other, by an Irish Catholic man. Although they focused on different aspects of segregation, the former concerned with issues regarding race and interracial relationships, and the latter with those pertaining to religion, both of them provided ample food for thought. Why are we, as humans, so tenaciously committed to division, to isolating and insulating ourselves not just from one another, but from the world around us? When does our sense of separateness begin? What is its origin? How do we forget that we belong to our world, that we are not insignificant cosmic interruptions?
     If matter is neither created nor destroyed, then we are all at least as old as this planet from which we emerged, unique expressions of the earth we share. We are as ancient as we are new. In that sense, we've always been hanging around; sometimes as sentient creatures, at other times not. Before we were sentient, what did we know? In the absence of self, who are we? As babies, we have no awareness of  "me" and "you", "mine" and "yours." These concepts, which are introduced by our parents and continually reinforced by society, oppose our innate sense of belonging and interdependence, defining boundaries which were originally quite blurry (if they even existed at all). We are forced to individuate. In developing a "self", we unknowingly become distantly familiar caricatures of who we once were, disconnected and afraid of our own shadows, in constant competition with everything and everyone that surrounds us, even the people we love the most. Contaminated by our perceived insignificance, we settle into the belief that we are very much alone in this world. Because we feel isolated and vulnerable, we alienate ourselves. In our efforts to protect "me" and "mine", we become intolerant, judgmental, and resentful. Because we've forgotten our impermanence, existence becomes a fight to survive. 
     Within all of us lies an apprehension that is as old as the universe itself, an awareness so blasphemous and unnerving that we labor tirelessly throughout our lives to conceal it, for if we were to acknowledge it, our covers would be blown. We'd discover we're not nearly as ordinary or alone as we'd suspected, that we're not merely cosmic nuisances, but true marvels of the primordial natural process. Everywhere is home. Everywhere, we belong. Like all organisms, we live, grow, and die. We're at once old and new, growing and receding, coming and going. Strangely enough, this knowledge is prescient: we knew it as infants. It's been accessible to us all along. We matter. We don't have to prove ourselves. We don't need approval. We share the same "stuff" in the same space. We're of equal ground. In this great mystery of life, we're more infinitely connected than we can ever know.



  1. Beautiful post, Kris! I loved the title of your post too. I agree with you, whole-heartedly :)

    1. Thank you, SprigBlossoms! This post really came from my heart. Have been on a strange, but wonderful philosophical and spiritual journey of late. Kris