On the Commonality of Humanity

Over the last year, I’ve been assiduously following the blogs of my two friends J. and K. Both are devoted yoginis and gifted writers: highly introspective and startlingly lucid about the objects of their introspection. I love reading them not just because of the quality of their prose, but because their writings reveal the commonalities that bridge the chasms separating our lives. One is a postgraduate student completing her dissertation; the other is a yoga teacher and practitioner traveling the world. Our lives and our attendant concerns couldn’t be more wildly different, but the themes are much the same: finding love, keeping love, living with fear, letting go of attachments, letting go of old identities, trusting ourselves, trusting others, trusting the universe.

There are times when I read them (or listen to them), and I wonder if I wouldn’t trade my fears for theirs. (Isn’t this the ultimate form of hubris? Thinking that the significance of our concerns outweighs those of all others?) Then I read them again (or listen to them again), and I really get that we all have our respective buttons: love, money, security, certainty. Fill in the blanks with anything really (I am afraid of ______. I worry about ______.), the attendant feelings are much the same.

So I suppose we’re all in the same boat (or in the same boats), paddling heroically with our little oars, praying desperately for a little wind, scanning the sky, scanning the horizon, wishing fervently for sight of the distant shore (hoping that the distant shore even exists), not knowing that beyond the swell of the adjacent wave are hundreds of other tiny crafts (that remain just as oblivious of all the other tiny crafts), and therein lies our salvation: recognizing that we don’t need land, recognizing that we don’t need that distant shore, realizing that our shared humanity provides all the solidity and anchoring that we really need.

We just need to see beyond the trough.


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