We live in a reality that creates the illusion of separation. Through the inhabiting of physical bodies, our physical eyes perceive that each of us is separate from everyone and everything else on the planet upon which we now reside. However, there is this yearning in each of us to connect (or is that reconnect?) with other beings, either in a one-on-one relationship or in group situations.
There is a spiritual theory that the Creative Force (by whatever name your particular path refers to Him/Her/Them) became curious and wanted to learn more about Itself and thus created humankind. Each of us carries a spark – a tiny piece, if you will – of that Source from which we came. If you are open enough to believe even a part of this theory, then you can understand that creating many of us would allow the Source to experience “life” from many different perspectives. So, in a sense, we are separate…and yet we are all connected by that tiny spark within that originated from our Creator.
This experiment and/or adventure that we have set course on, whether you believe in a single lifetime or many lifetimes, is done without conscious knowledge of where we came from and what the course is that our life should take. Kind of a “blind” test. If we already knew where we were to go, free will would hardly be a needed part of the equation.
So, as children we believe our parents must know something of this journey on planet Earth and we take to heart what we are taught. One of those things we are taught is that it’s important to fit in, to be part of the “group” (whatever group that might be) and that those who rebel or are different have something wrong with them. For some of us, the “fitting in” part has been like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. We even believed that after we grew up and were out on our own we could finally be ourselves but found that conformity was still how you got a job and kept it or did many other things in life. And, besides, there’s that yearning…to connect, reconnect, be a part of.
However, the problem has become that this desire is now flavored with the need for approval and the need to prove you can be just like everyone else. But you’re not.
Individuality, as defined by the dictionary, is “1. A quality or trait that distinguishes one person or thing from others; also, the sum or aggregate of such traits in one person or thing.
2. Strikingly distinctive character or personality. 3. The state of having separate, independent existence.”
Remember the spiritual theory that the Creative Force wanted to learn about Itself from many perspectives? Well, that’s a little hard to do if we are all the same. The idea wasn’t for us all to be clones or automatons. The idea was for us to be unique and different from each other so that we would perceive life from different perspectives.
So how do you have a one-on-one relationship or, better yet, become part of any group and still be loyal to your own individuality? Kind of like walking and chewing bubble gum at the same time, huh? Well, just like the walking/chewing, it can be done. Contrary to much we have been taught, we don’t have to lose our identity to be a part of any type of relationship. In fact, we owe it to ourselves and the relationship we’re looking to establish to be who we truly are – it will only enhance that very same relationship.
It’s being part of a group that I really want to talk about though and I want to especially focus on being part of a spiritual group, but this can apply to any group – even a work situation.
My many, many years in Wicca have brought home to me what being part of a spiritual group should really mean to an individual. I now understand why groups, in the British Isles in particular, who have been around a long time are very careful about who becomes part of them and why the process is one that isn’t rushed.
You see, whether the group is spiritual or mundane, you should go in with your eyes wide open. You should know what your purpose for wanting to join is and what your expectations are and you should also know what the group’s expectations for you are as well as what they stand for and what they are looking to achieve.
There are far too many people who seek to become part of a group merely for the purpose of acceptance. They need to be approved of and accepted. They don’t feel confident enough and feel someone else should tell them what they need to do. That makes them targets for people who have a need to control and debase others.
To be part of any group, spiritual or mundane, should be a give-and-take relationship on everyone’s part. Where spiritual groups are especially concerned, the experience should be uplifting and self-empowering. Whatever leaders there are in the group should not only be looking to train you in their practices and beliefs, but be assisting you to empower yourself and encouraging you to be a participating, active member of the group. You should be encouraged to ask questions and expect valid answers. You should also receive as much respect as you are asked to give to the heads of this group. You should never accept being mistreated or made to feel worthless. No one should become part of any group, spiritual or mundane, where they are expected to follow blindly and/or timidly wherever the leaders of the group choose to lead them.
We are in a time that requires us to both see our individuality – our own uniqueness – and recognize how that uniqueness can enhance any group and especially the world (because we ARE part of the whole). Knowing why you seek to become part of any particular group and the combination of what that group has to offer you – and what you have to offer it – is of prime importance right now.
There was a scene in Wrath of Khan, a 1982 Star Trek movie, where Spock exposes himself to lethal levels of radiation in order to save the ship and he is now dying. When Kirk ask him why, Spock replied, “The needs of the many outweigh….” (Kirk) “…the needs of the few…” (Spock) “..or the one.” While I believe there is great wisdom in this, I believe there are also times when the reply give by Capt. Kirk in The Search for Spock is just as valid. When Spock asks him why he came back for him, Kirk replies, “Because the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many.” (referring to his need for his friend Spock).
Somewhere between these two adages lies the balance that each of us needs to find as we journey down our path of individuality while interacting with and being part of others’ lives. Only then can we walk the path of enlightenment and transformation.
“I add my breath to your breath…that we may be committed to our own and each other’s growing and that we may finish our roads together.” Laguna Pueblo Prayer