I once had a student, in the middle of a lesson, fart so loudly, I think my desk rattled.
He gazed triumphantly at his classmates and with a big smile, relished their obvious disapproval. He then turned his gaze in my direction, and anticipated my disapproval.
“You are kicking me out?”, he asked.
“No”, I said.
His amazement and puzzlement cut him deep for a moment.
He knew the stinky mess he put us in, by dividing our class into those who pass gas, and those who do not pass gas. Yet, he was bewildered, because he was not going to get punished.
“Stay right here,” I said. “the rest of us, on the other hand, will go and get some fresh air”.
And so, we did.
Us vs him.
Us vs them.
And so, it is exactly the same with our own personal life and daily struggles. We see and create divisions everywhere we seem to. We gossip. We complain. We react. We push and pull. We try to manage and struggle our entire life, with what seems to be inevitable conflict.
We divide our world. Divide ourselves. Divide our resources. Divide our families. Divide the roles and responsibilities we have of each other. Then we get accountants and lawyers to interpret the rules we no longer understand, so that we can function and everything is clear.
You do this, and I’ll do that. If this, then that. You scratch this, and I’ll scratch that.
Everything we do, ends up either bringing us closer together, or ends up driving us further apart. Makes us whole, or puts as at odds with one another or ourselves.
Or so at least it’s the story that we tell ourselves.
This division of us and them, seems very made up, and appears to be nothing more than a childish fantasy. A tart fart, that lingers and hangs around, in the middle of our lesson. Our life.
There no us and them.
You cannot divide the planet, or its natural resources. You cannot divide or control the world’s wealth. You cannot control education, or healthcare, or the truth.
Of course, before you say it, let me add, that I’m not really blind or stupid.
I’m not ignorant of our awful track record, and I am not blind to human history. All that I’m saying, is that no matter how much we wish, or try to part, or divide the sea, despite ourselves, it always comes back to be whole again.
Life shows us time, and time again, that there is really no division in anything. Everything is interwoven and connected. We are just misfortunate to have been taught to look for what doesn’t belong, instead of what does.
We are united. We are part of a whole.
There is only us. There is no them.
And there is a certain sense of freedom that comes from this reality.
It means that if you work for someone, if you have a boss, they are your superior, but they are never superior to you. They can’t be, because without you, their role is redundant and meaningless.
A manager needs people to manage. And people who gather for a common purpose, need someone to manage them.
There are no doctors without patients. No students without teachers. No thieves, if you are only willing to share.
No one ever takes what they don’t need.
You’re probably wondering where this philosophical mumble-jumble stems from. It might originate from the fact that I seem to be heavily medicated (cold remedies), and bit full of grief.
I was thinking this morning how much I love and miss my parents, still, even after a whole decade. I was reminded on this dark, cold morning, that as much as I want to see them one day, I have two loving little faces, looking up to me for guidance, every day, in the same way, that I once, looked up to mine.
I seem to be between two realities. The reality of wanting to have what I can’t have, and being where I know I need to be.
This morning was a wonderful reminder of being human.
It is a morning full of hope; full of meaning.
Pain and grief serve a purpose. The same purpose as joy and laughter. We of course prefer one to the other, but we should calm ourselves and remember to be content by being united.
We should get outside, if needed, and get fresh air, as desired.