We live in a world of many paradoxes. A desire for freedom coupled with a need to be told what to do. Being sold sex but then being told sex is dirty and taboo. Embracing science and technology yet denying and disregarding knowledge for opinion.
As I have been studying mindfulness and working with conscious reality creation, one thing I am finding more and more is that most of what people are looking for comes down to connection.
This is not just getting to know someone or find something. It’s not just looking for more meaning. It is much deeper than that. It is establishing a connection between ourselves and other things. It’s creating familiarity via connectivity.
One of the largest paradoxes we face is how much the things we create for connection disconnect us. What’s more, as the human-animal has evolved, we have disconnected from instinct and nature.
Yet these connections all matter, and all impact who you are, who you were, and who you desire to be.
What are you looking for?
I think almost everyone I know has either looked for a purpose and meaning to their life — or they still are. In some cases, we continue to explore what all we are capable of because we see that there isn’t necessarily one singular purpose or meaning to our lives.
For a long time, as a writer, my focus was wholly on my fiction works. In fact, I desired so much to be known for my fiction that my nonfiction was not given the due credit it deserved. Both are part of my purpose — and though different in many ways, they are also quite similar.
I found multiple purposes and multiple meanings in my life. Ultimately, however, I am still questing to learn, grow, and evolve. And a lot of that is due to finding new connections to be made.
I believe that, ultimately, what we seek — our purpose, our meaning, our reason for being — actually comes down to connection. It’s not so much an abstract notion or grand reality, but rather connections we make on our way through life.
You make connections ALL THE TIME. As a child, you connected to people such as parents and siblings; you had maybe a stuffed toy or blanket that made you feel secure because of your connection to it. As you aged, connections extended to more people, as well as things like your school, a pet, and so on.
After that, your connections expanded even further. You connected with coworkers, business relations, cars, homes, religions, philosophies, and on and on.
Everything we seek comes down to making connections. Tangible, intangible, material, immaterial, we look to build connections both to find satisfaction and to gain knowledge and understanding.
Human evolution and the disconnect it causes
Lots of people believe in the ideas of fate, destiny, and a single grand and glorious purpose to their life. Why are you here? This question has driven society pretty much since we evolved to tool-using globe-straddling community-building social animals.
When our ancestors were just hunter-gatherers, their focus was simple. Find food, find shelter, find a mate to propagate the species. Rinse, repeat. But when they domesticated plants and animals, they formed whole new communities.
This had many impacts on human beings. Since survival of the fittest applies less — and those who, as hunter-gatherers would have died instead survive — the mind evolved as did the whole of our thought process.
This caused us to seek more abstract and immaterial things in the world because the simplicity of our ancestors was replaced by a more sedentary, wider existence.
This would lead us to shift away from fear of tangibles like weather and predators to intangibles like sufficiency and purpose. When the answer to the question — Why are we here? — ceased to be simply — to live and experience the world — the search for deeper meaning disconnected us.
Divides between intellectual and brawny, fierce and fair, and other personality types shifted the simplicity of our connections to far more complex ideas.
Connections bring us comfort. That’s why religion came into being. It allowed people with a similar faith to connect to one another and share that. Unfortunately, some take that to extremes and disconnect from all but their faith-based groups. But that’s a whole other tangent I am not going down.
Here we are now, in the 21st century, with technology designed to connect us across the globe. Yet rather than connect us, it tends to further disconnect us.
Connection is less literal than you think
When you read these words, you are connecting with me. You see what I have put out to the world, and you are engaging with my idea and taking it in. From there, you may reject it in whole or part, or thoroughly absorb it and feel like I am right inside your head speaking your language.
Connections tend to be more figurative in nature. Literal connections via our smartphones, the internet, computers, and all the other tech, wind up being more artificial than real because we disconnect from the world at large.
How many families today gather around the dinner table together — without interacting at all? They sit in the same space — but they are on their phones and tablets disconnected from each other.
Yes, social media allows us to connect across the planet with anyone and everyone. At the same time, though, it divides us. Perfect example — Trump and his Twitter account. He and his ardent followers couldn’t be more disconnected from anyone and anything else short of occupying a different planet.
But the connectivity represented by technology pulls us apart far more than it brings us together. What’s more, it disconnects us even further from the world we occupy and share not just with one another, but every living thing.
Reconnecting with the world
When our ancestors were hunter-gatherers, they knew the Earth. They foraged for edible plants, followed the game, and understood signs and portents. They could tell when the weather was changing, or a storm was coming via how the animals around them reacted or the pressure in the air shifted.
Now, we rely on technology to tell us how the weather will be. Technology that, frequently, is inaccurate.
But it’s a lot worse than that. Human beings have reached a place where we believe ourselves superior to every other living thing on this planet. Not just the animals and plants we’ve domesticated, but even those in the wild.
As we disregard nature and poison the ground, water, and air, we widen our disconnect. Human beings cannot exist on this planet without the rest of nature. We need the trees, the birds, the bees, the healthy microbes in the water, particles of oxygen in the air, and so on — FAR more than they need us.
In our arrogance in the name of profit and advancement, we destroy the planet. We have gotten so disconnected from this world that the people who deny humankind’s impact on climate change can’t see the value in being better and working on reversing it. They can’t seem to understand that the planet won’t sustain us after we wreck it.
Or maybe, honestly, they just don’t care.
Profit doesn’t last, money is not just intangible but utterly made up — but we need to live here. The climate crisis — manmade or not — can be altered BY our technology. That people are denying the reality of our situation and not caring that we are destroying our home is surreal.
This is why we need to reconnect with nature. To restore the balance between us.
We are all one
Like it or not, despite all the differences between us — we are all one.
Outside, we are nearly as many variations as there are stars in the sky. But once you strip it away, our internal organs largely differ by sex. Strip that away, and our bones are all the same, they just differ in density and shape. When you strip that away, the atoms and molecules are largely the same.
Beneath all of that, we are but energy. Pure, unadulterated energy. Energy that can neither be created nor destroyed — it just changes form.
That energy makes up the tiniest sub-atomic particle and the largest galaxy. It makes all of us the same.
In our bodies, we get disconnected from that energy. Hell, many people don’t even know themselves. How many people barely listen to their bodies and overeat, overthink, and find new and interesting ways to make themselves crazy? I’m guilty of that.
Connections exist not just between you and me, but within ourselves. We can connect to anything and everything in the Universe. Finding and creating connections are, I believe, the meaning that we ultimately seek in life.
Recognizing where we have a disconnect — between our bodies and minds, one another, nature, and so on — helps us reconnect and form new and better connections.
And that, of course, comes down to mindfulness.
Mindfulness exists on three levels. On the surface, it is your thoughts, feelings, actions, and intentions. To be mindful is to be conscious and aware of these in the here-and-now.
The next level is who you think you are. Your mindset/headspace/psyche. It is how you identify yourself.
Below that, are the elements that have come from your education and life experience. Your beliefs and habits. The things that drive you to do what you do and live how you live.
That is a connection inside of yourself. That connection helps you connect outside of yourself. Hence, when you are mindful of yourself and better connected within — you are more capable of finding and creating connections without.
Putting all this together helps us find answers to all the difficult, scary, big-picture questions of Why am I Here? and What is My Purpose? Further, being better connected and reconnected within and without helps you adjust for the dissonance ever-present in interacting with people, places, and things in life.
Recognizing that seeking connection and reconnection is the core of what we are doing in this life — we can be empowered to take control and experience more potential and possibility. We can more easily and freely be making connections of every kind on every level.
And that, I believe, provides us with insight into the real meaning of life.
Thank you for reading. I am MJ Blehart. I write about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, and similar life lessons.