Archive for the ‘interconnection of all living things’ Tag

Our Story

I went to our annual family reunion not too long ago.  It’s been held at the same place and the same time (the second Sunday in August at noon) for at least ninety years.  We eat, talk, and look through old photos and family trees, and then we move on to our record keeping, noting all births, deaths, marriages, and other significant milestones.  Lastly, we play games and top everything off with a piñata full of candy.

Although our family is diverse in experiences and background, we share a commonality.  I’m sure you’re thinking that commonality is being blood-relatives, but I’m actually thinking that we enjoy being part of a story, the Cogley family story.  There is something about being a part of an event that takes place every year at the same time and location that has meaning in a world that is constantly changing.   We also see ourselves as being part of something bigger, something that hopefully will continue to go on long after we pass on.

My extended family is really part of an even bigger story, and guess what?  You’re included in that story, too.  It’s the story of humankind, and the relationship forged by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit through the Son’s incarnation as Jesus Christ.  This story is also much bigger than we are, and will continue for eternity.

There is value in recognizing our place in the larger picture of humanity’s story.  We begin to see the interconnection we have with each other, even those who seem most different from us, along with the interconnection we have with creation around us.  By viewing one another as fellow players in this “God-movie,” we see our common humanity, both good and bad, in each other.  This produces patience and compassion, as we perceive ourselves in one another.

I recently read in Mark Nepo’s Book of Awakening about a tradition in South Africa called Ubuntu, which means, “I am because you are; you are because I am.”  Nepo writes:

            …In the ignited space of our deepest suffering, in the release of our deepest fears, in the familiar peace of our deepest joys, we are each other. (177)

The Cogley family is a diverse group, and as with any group, there are disagreements and personality clashes.  But as we rise above that, remembering that we have more in common than what we disagree on, we enjoy the benefits of love, laughter, and a piñata full of candy on a beautiful summer day.  We were created to need each other and to need God.  As humankind remembers that it is part of a bigger story and shared experience, we can take part more fully in the love that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit intended for us all along. Now if we can only find a world-size piñata…

~by Nan Kuhlman

Hard-Wired for Connection and Community

                My hope is that I AM is a window into Truth, a glimpse into the miracle, the mystery and magic of who we really are, and of the basic nature of the connection and unity of all things~ Tom Shadyac

The documentary I Am ( the brainchild of director Tom Shadyac, whose film credits include hits like Ace Ventura, Bruce Almighty, and Liar, Liar.  Shadyac decided to make this documentary after a serious biking accident made him reevaluate his priorities and share publicly what he had been thinking about for years.  Once he had recovered, he set out with a camera crew to interview the great thinkers and scientists of our time, asking them what is wrong with our world and what we can do about it.

Interestingly enough, Shadyac found out instead what was right with the world.  One thing he discovered was that science has proven every human being is hard-wired for a compassionate response to the troubles of others, and that there is a measurable magnetic field given off by every human heart which can have a physiological effect on other living beings around us.

This “hard-wiring” comes in the form of the vagus nerve, which gives us the physiological response (the tearing of the eyes, the tension in the stomach) when we see others suffering.  One unexpected proponent of this was Charles Darwin, who said in his book The Descent of Man, “Sympathy is our strongest instinct.”  We are equipped, at the most basic level,  to empathize with others.

At one point in the documentary, Shadyac was in a scientific lab where electrodes had been connected to a Petri dish filled with yogurt containing live bacteria cultures.  Whenever Shadyac was shown a gruesome photo or asked a stress-filled question, the electrical charge in the yogurt increased, showing the bacteria’s response to his stress.  Researchers at the Institute of Noetic Sciences verified that this response reveals how every living thing is connected.

This interconnection of all living things should come as no surprise.  After all, the Triune God permeates all of creation:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of men (John 1:1-4, NIV).

Shadyac’s documentary I Am provides more confirmation that the life that pulses through each one of us, through all living things, has its origin in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Because “…in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28), we are all part of a greater whole and hard-wired for connection and community.  Once we finally embrace this, we will never feel separated, never alone.

~by Nan Kuhlman

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