Isolation and Interconnectedness: A Common Experience

10.05.2020 - Manila, Philippines - Karina Lagdameo-Santillan

This post is also available in: Spanish

Isolation and Interconnectedness: A Common Experience
Punta de Vacas Park and Mount Aconcagua, May 5th, 2007. Photo taken during the 3 Days of Spiritual Inspiration, by Rafael Edwards.

     Do not imagine that you are alone in your village, in your city, on the Earth or among the infinite worlds.
     –From the Path, Message of Silo.

     Once upon a while back, in the month of May, I found myself with some time alone, at the foot of the majestic Andes mountains. Against a barren landscape of towering stony mountains, by a river they called The Curve of Time, I had a singular experience of being alone and at the same time so connected to everything. People, specially family, relatives, and friends far away on the other side of the world, people whose lives have touched me and those who had gone ahead were there, connected to me. A feeling that people mattered the most and were most precious in the world came over me.

It is ironic that it would take a global pandemic, virulent, deadly… one that has isolated people in their homes for days on end, many alone, to experience a sense of how interconnected we all are. And, in essence, how precious human life is. It brings us here to a crossroad, a possible turning point for us human beings on this beautiful planet, Earth.

What we are experiencing has been scary, even terrifying. Lives and livelihoods and all the trappings of normal modern-day existence as we knew it prior to this pandemic have been turned around and upside down. But, for the first time, it is something that we all are going through together, to a lesser or greater degree.

This experience is somehow bringing with it a sense of our shared humanity.

We are facing the same fears and anxieties about life, death, and the future. Uncertainties about being able to secure the lives and livelihoods of family and loved ones. Looking forward and yet uncertain about what it will be like, with many saying that it won’t be the same as before.

With all that we are experiencing, we are beginning to question why, in this day and age, with all the advances in science and technology, why is it that our health systems are unable to cope adequately, to treat and save lives, whether young or old.

We are seeing how an invisible, non-living virus could easily wreak havoc on the “all-important” economy, both local and global,with livelihoods and businesses severely affected, in some places, nearly crashing.

We are realizing how our governments and leaders are ill equipped to cope with this crisis.

We are seeing how those at the pinnacle of power and prestige, with money and privileges to spare, have it easy. While at the same time, we empathize with the difficulties that those at the bottom of the social ladder are going through, those who live hand to mouth, a big majority, made even more difficult by the current circumstances.

Everyday, we are feeling, in our guts, how precious life is, not just the lives of our loved ones, but also that of our friends, neighbors, and fellow human beings. How isolation can hurt and how we need to stay connected with others.

This feeling, arising, as we see front-liners and doctors, friends and colleagues, dying. Many alone, with no closure for those left behind. Arising as we feel the need to see friends and relatives, to enjoy a meal together or work together, but not able to do so.

We are reaching out, using whatever technology is at hand, to stay connected with others, sharing our thoughts and feelings even as we stay isolated, unable to move freely. Among the many diverse efforts… To lend our voices so that the powers-that-be will take our common needs more closely into consideration. Slowly, we are seeing government leaders take heed and take action. We are seeing some businesses and corporations use their resources to help the marginalized. We are seeing communities helping each other out and people whose work has largely been unseen and taken for granted, given the value that they deserve.

For the time being, it is as if the flow of human life has been halted to give us time to realize that which is most important, most valuable. And, with much hope, to reorganize our priorities, to re-imagine a more humane future and to do our share.

Perhaps, because we are experiencing and feeling this isolated-yet-interconnectedness more deeply in our guts, this experience of going through this pandemic together, will be a source for a real transformation. One that will open the way forward towards a truly human future for all.

Categories: Humanism and Spirituality, Opinions
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