In her book, Braving the Wilderness, Brené Brown defined spirituality as “recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion.” This connectedness is also a theme of the Stoics. In Meditations, Marcus Aurelius wrote “Meditate often on the interconnectedness and mutual interdependence of all things in the universe. For in a sense, all things are mutually woven together and therefore have an affinity for each other—for one thing follows after another according to their tension of movement, their sympathetic stirrings, and the unity of all substance.”
This is sometimes difficult to accept. Especially, when I think about those who think differently than I do politically (especially in this very polarized time) and philosophically. I don’t really want to be connected to those who support my candidate’s opponent. Nor do I want to be connected to the individuals who think it is just and OK to gun down and kill others. The list goes on. There are many I don’t want to be connected to. Yet my philosophy and inner being suggests otherwise. Whether we like it or not, we all are mutually interdependent.
While it is important to take care of ‘you and yours’, it is also important to think about the greater good. How do you and yours fit into the larger community around you? How does that community fit into the state? We can be too quick to disregard and throw out the concerns of those outside our inner tribe. It is easy to quickly condemn the transgressions of those outside our inner circle. Yet it is necessary and virtuous to take the time to understand their story and situation, and the events of their life that have brought them to this point of transgression. The transgression isn’t just theirs. All of us have played a role.