“You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing, and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life.” - Jiddu Krishnamurti
A journey toward deeper connection -- with yourself, your community and the cosmos -- is essential for purposeful living.
In the personal realm, connecting with our own bodies and minds, through mindful exercise like Yoga or Tai Chi, has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, boost immunity and energy, and much more.
In the social realm, Dr. Emma Seppala, Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, has found that social connection is so important, studies show isolation can be more detrimental to health than obesity and smoking. She also found that social connection generates a positive feedback loop of social and emotional well-being.
On a cosmic scale, we long to connect our purpose and goals to something larger. We all want to contribute and be valued. And this hinges on being part of something more, as it begs the question… contribute to, and be valued by, what or whom? To bring meaning to our lives, we seek a valuable connection with something greater than ourselves whether it’s nature, spirit, humankind or family.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the first step in a more outwardly connected life, is an inward journey for greater awareness of self. This is because disconnection within the self is bound to keep you out of alignment with your external environment. For example, those most critical externally of others are also typically very critical of themselves. Or those with low levels of self acceptance often project suspicion and mistrust out into the world.
As we come to know and understand ourselves more deeply -- through ongoing learning, self analysis, meditation, yoga or other means -- we become better able to understand and identify with others, as well as recognize ourselves as part of a whole.
Getting in touch with who you are, authentically, is no easy task, but one worth taking on. There are many layers to consider including:
Journaling has been noted as a powerful tool in self discovery and proliferation of well being. In fact, Psych Central editor, Margarita Tartakovsky, suggests that deeper self awareness can begin with journaling. She suggests, in her article 5 Ways to Get to Know Yourself Better, that we start a personal journey with a spirit of playful creativity. She suggests these fun writing prompts:
Go ahead and answer these and other probing questions about the self. Commit to a journey of self discovery over the Holiday season and kick off the New Year cultivating deeper connections. Remember, you are an essential part of a whole. Connect with yourself and you will inevitably connect with others and with something greater than yourself.