“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives.” Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection, p64
Her definition of spirituality is one that I like very much. I agree with it intellectually, but I rarely have a felt sense of the compassion, and a felt sense is what makes something real to me. It’s easier to see connection in the physical universe, and of course humans are connected on on the physical level, to an extent that we have lost awareness of. In a smaller world it’s obvious. In our world — I once worked it out: this paper I’m writing on is made from tree pulp. Someone cut down the trees, someone else transported them to the paper factory, someone else ran the machinery… the man who drove the truck used gasoline from an oil field, and is connected to all the people who work there… and he ate food grown and transported and sold and cooked by other people… and on and on. I am connected to all these people by this piece of paper. Even the sun comes into it, and the rain, they helped the tree grow. That we are also connected by fields — electromagnetic, gravitational, psychological — seems obvious to me in some ways, but I’m too habituated to individualism and isolation to be able to feel the connection. Rooted in compassion is a little harder, but I can’t see how there would be any compassion at all if it didn’t already exist in some form at the simplest level. In the atoms and molecules, ready to emerge as soon as the right level of complexity is reached. There is scientific evidence, now, that compassion is “hard-wired” in humans. I don’t believe for a moment that humans are basically selfish, violent, and greedy. I think those behaviors are a result of being hurt and scared.