If you want something done right

Do it together.

Much of the suffering we experience comes from believing we are separate from others. So many of us live in this trance, focusing on individual success and overriding collective interests. Autonomy, they say. But is it?

So much of what we are exposed to daily tells us we should be able to thrive alone. Be self-made. But, while people are out there trying to perform that, inside, they feel lonely and long for connection. Have you ever said or heard others say, “if you want something done right, do it yourself”? When we proclaim this, we fail to recognize that one person’s efforts alone can really accomplish nothing and reinforce for ourselves and others that our way is the ~ only ~ right way simply because it is ours.

Think about the food you eat and the steps it took to get to your plate. Think about the clothes you wear, the house you live in, and everything you put inside it. What about your career? Have you created it without the support of family, friends, teachers, employers, or employees? Everything you touch has been touched by other hands before yours.

When we stay in this trance of separateness, we overlook the impact of others in our lives and their contribution to our growth. So I ask you, can there be independence without interdependence?

“A human being is part of the whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

~Albet Einstein

In our identification with the so-called self-sufficiency, we become attached to what makes us different from others and blinded to everything that brings us together. We dangerously believe we are more special and more deserving. Or less, for that matter.

Separateness is an illusion upon which inequality, oppression, and violence grow. When we cheer for the “self-made” billionaires and ignore everybody else suffering behind their shiny curtains, we further validate the idea that some of us are more worthy than others, more deserving of respect, opportunity, comfort, and even rights. We base our behaviors on individualism, meritocracy, and entitlement, cultivating division, hatred, and fear.

Who are we serving when we are scared and fighting one another? Who is gaining when people believe they are alone and that to be worthy, they must be better - richer, prettier, more successful - than the people around them who are, in fact, co-creating the environment in which they can thrive?

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