I was in Mumbai over the weekend. The trip was planned for the primary purpose of facilitating a workshop at the Life Positive Expo 2013. But since I was there, I made it a point to meet up with some dear friends (from a time that now seems like another lifetime). As it happens, we now all lead very different lives. It sometimes feels like these meetings are peeks into another world, a visit to another planet. And yet, we are able to connect. Take up exactly where we left it. Though even two and three decades back, we did come from dissimilar backgrounds. But perhaps it is because these relationships were founded in more innocent years. When the hearts were open and individual experiences had not cemented any walls of separation.
Whether it be religion, finances, education or so many other factors – there are never any shortage of ways to divide. For us, the variances were never a barrier. They were either totally unimportant, or celebrated. So we enjoyed the opportunity to soak in another culture, another way of living. We marveled at the wide variety of experience that we shared. We lived through each others’ learnings and falls, through each others’ emotions and discoveries. Under all the surface variations, values, ethics and inclinations seemed naturally common.
We are all the same at heart. And this was mutually acknowledged.
In contrast, as we grow older, our opinions get more rigid, our tolerance almost absent. We seek the old and familiar, the known and the safe. Anything different is most often treated as alien and unwelcome, if not severely judged. We blame communities and countries for the wars we bring about. Not only the physical wars that wreck ruin on the body and land, but the attacks that leave scars of fear, cynicism and deepening divides at all levels of humanity.
It is the individual that contributes to the collective. What would it be like if you were to return to being the curious, open minded youngster who can only marvel at the world? The one who is willing and able to celebrate differences without feeling pressurized to change the other, or conform to some other norm?
What would it take for you to naturally be yourself and be in allowance of whoever the other is being?
For all the anger, frustration, and logical argument that we raise to support our habitual judgement, I wonder which heart would not want to feel the melting warmth that comes from being connected to another – in pure innocence.
Google has created a marvelous depiction of such a moment. Do watch this four minute video. And call the first friend that comes to mind after viewing it.
Reach out. Return to being the person you know you are at heart. You will make the world a better place.