The wonders of the modern world
There are many commendable aspects of the modern commercial world. We have amazing technologies and advances in modern science enable us to perform acts that would have been held as miracles just a few years ago.
and the down side
However, along with all the positives, there is also the down side. We are in a world where commercial marketing seduces us into wanting to possess more and more at reasonable personal and global expense.
As a result, many of us lead complex lives, managing more possessions than we really have time to appreciate. We have to work hard and long to afford this material wealth and often there is someone at the bottom of the consumer chain working equally hard for next to nothing so we can have our branded goods, our tea and coffee and our latest gadgets.
What has all this got to do with a small African word, Ubuntu. The truth is it has everything to do with it. Ubuntu means quite simply "I am because we are". In other words, my whole experience of self only makes sense because we are all joined up.
joined up, physically, socially, spiritually
Clearly this makes sense at the physical level. We could not enjoy a cup of tea if someone did not grow it for us. Also at a social level, we are dependent on others for friendship and our sense of self worth. And at a spiritual level, our consciousness is actually at one with that of other beings.
we share and we grow
The more we contemplate our one-ness the more meaningful it becomes. Every dialogue we enter into affects us in an irreversible way. We learn from each other. When someone expresses a valid concern to us, their concern might easily become our concern. Similarly we share joy and sorrow and so on.
Mystics through the ages seem to agree that the most significant spiritual wisdom comes through silence. This has been true of every spiritual teacher the world has ever known. Jesus took time out to "be with his father". Buddha Shakyamuni sat under the Bodhi tree and found enlightenment.
It is in the silence and stillness that we can really find connection or, as some would put it, find God. We do not need to be enlightened to know this. There is such an overwhelming body of evidence that suggests silenceness brings wisdom and connection with our deepest self.
The power of nature We can also experience our connectedness when we spend quiet time in nature. The more we allow ourselves to truly experience nature, the more we feel at one with it. Our connection becomes obvious.
the danger of disconnection
The opposite is also true. If we do not take quiet time alone and if we do not connect with the world around us we begin to feel disconnected, out of kilter. We start to make poor decisions; we become reactive on a purely material level. If someone shouts at us we shout back. We like like selfish individuals rather than part of a whole. What's more is that we also become dissatisfied in the process. We become unhappy.
a happy and productive life
If we truly take Ubuntu to heart, we can take time to know our connectedness in the persistence and bring the resulting sense of presence into our relationships with others and with the world around us. We will become happier and more productive people in the long run.