For more love and connection, run from your friends and community

For more love and connection, run from your friends and community

Am I suggesting you run into the wind? Is this some reverse psychology? Could I be asking for trouble?

I was in a group meeting the other night – a Buddhist Sangha – and I heard again the words I’ve heard in so many other group meetings: “I sure like to be around like-minded people.”

Each time I hear that sort of thing expressed, I sort of bristle. After all, how can others know my mind and theirs are alike?

More importantly, does that mean we won’t be listening to each other any more? Does that mean we won’t be learning from each other any more?

That sounds like a recipe to create a lifeless group of people.

Oddly enough, that very evening we talked about aspiring not to escape – not escaping with alcohol, drugs, sex, TV, the Internet, films, or whatever brings us away from the present moment. It’s the topic of the Fifth Mindfulness Training: Nourishment and Healing, as taught by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Pema Chodron even has an entire book dedicated to “The Wisdom of No Escape”. She points out that we actually never escape anyway, so instead of distracting ourselves and possibly even harming ourselves, she has us come back to the present moment.

So, I’m suggesting that we expand our circle beyond “like-minded” friends towards others who may not look like us, and others who may not think like us, and even others who may not love like us.

I know it’s not an easy thing to do. It can be scary. Yet, it seems the only option when choosing to be fully alive.

In a post I shared a few years ago, Pulling the Plug on Comfort, I mentioned the movie “My Dinner with Andre”, where Andre has an empassioned discussion with Wally about electric blankets (among other things). Wally fiercely defends his electric blanket, as a source of comfort and safety. Andre persists that comfort can separate us from reality and unplug us from what is in front of us.

Being unplugged and away from the present moment, we miss it. It may have a valuable lesson, a wonderful experience, or even something we find disgusting or shocking. And still, by being present and aware, we can deal with things as they are, instead of living in a Pollyanna world of our own imagination, or a wishful world of what should be, however we decided that.

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