Connecting with people is what life is all about. It’s so hard to explain what that connection feels like, how it is built, and why we care so much about it. If we’re not careful that connection can turn into an attachment and cause us a lot of pain when it’s lost. What I want to talk about is the depth of connection we feel with different people and how that relates to meditation.
You might have a group of friends that get together to share a surface level experience: bowling, pizza, or a baseball game. These experiences are really fun and can form a bond. When you’re part of a group you feel better about yourself. You feel accepted because your presence makes people happy.
But sometimes our image of this perfect little clique gets shattered when a less pleasant situation occurs. Who is there when you need a ride to the mechanic, when you need someone to cheer you up at the hospital, or when you need help studying for an exam? You build an even stronger bond with the people who are with you both when you’re up and when you’re down. With these people, the good times feel even better and the bad times feel alright.
A third level of depth comes from sharing your life with someone. Your family, whether you’re a child or a parent, is attached to you. Unlike the friends from above, your environment is continuously impacted by your family. This is why family can so easily bring us to our emotional extremes. They can make us sad when we want to be happy or make us happy when we want to be sad. This connection is unique in our lives.
An even deeper connection might be growing in dhamma with someone. I haven’t experienced this connection because most of my dhamma growth has been independent of others, but I can feel myself reaching an untapped depth within myself. I know the instant bond that comes from meeting a fellow meditator. I know the intimacy of sitting with a group of meditators. I can only imagine the strength and depth of the connection that comes from meditating with someone regularly over several years. The ability and opportunity to connect with people would be amazing; someday I hope to experience it. Time to meditate.