“The ways we lose each other can be very simple. One of my patients describes how he spent time with his son prior to his cancer. ‘We would hike a mountain, a difficult climb, side by side, both focused on reaching the top. Then we would come down a different way, one behind the other to the car, and drive home … I have a clear memory of these climbs, but no memory of anything my son said to me or I to him.’
“In child psychology what this man is describing is called parallel play and is normal for children between two and three. At this age, children use the same sandbox and even the same toys, but they are playing alone, next to each other and not with each other. Rather than relate to each other, they relate to a common activity which they do in parallel.
“My patient makes a great contrast between this and the way he and his son relate now. ‘I can’t do much just now, so we sit and talk. I ask him about his life and how he feels about it. For the first time, I know what is important to him, what sort of a man he is, what keeps him going. And I talk to him too. I know now that I am important to him, that he wants to spend time with me. … The mountain got between us before. I had not known that.’
“Many people live their lives in this way, sharing homes, jobs, and even families with others, but not connecting.” ~~Rachel Naomi Remen
We Lose Each Other
I think we lose each other mostly because it has become the social norm. It varies from one country to another, or one religion to another, but it seems like nearly all of us in these times hide much of what we are and what we feel.
While Ramen notes that parallel play is normal for small children, it is also normal for small children to be open and honest with everyone. They are not embarrassed to cry in public. They are not afraid to be seen getting angry over something adults consider trivial. But with time, that changes. It doesn’t change because they are getting older and more mature. It changes because they are being trained into the social norms. In many cases, that means suppressing emotions and thoughts, and it has only gotten worse in recent decades. Forty or fifty years ago, no one would have objected to a child in first grade giving another child a hug. Now that might get a note sent home to tell his parents that this child needs to keep his sexual desires under control. The idea that he is simply showing natural affection having nothing to do with sex s not believed by fully trained (brainwashed) adults. Likewise, fifty years ago a young man telling a woman at the office that he liked her dress would be perfectly acceptable as the compliment that it is. There is a possibility that the young man is attracted to the woman—so what? Now the young men would get warned that if it happened again, he would be charged with sexual harassment and probably lose his job. That is how we lose each other. We have embraced parallel play, parallel living, as the normal way to behave. We work together, but each alone. We live together, yet still alone.
Find Each Other
Yes, we do lose each other in this modern world, but we can find each other again. One way to do that is to gradually change the social norms that have created this disconnected situation. That can be done but will take decades, if not centuries. There is a better, faster, and more reliable way. We have to awaken our spiritual faculties.
When our spiritual faculties awaken, the awakened soul recognizes it’s connection with other souls. It knows that we are all part of the One, that we are never alone except in our own minds. The spiritually awakened person feels this connection, even if only on a subconscious level. Because of that, they soon start to see the oneness of all beings and all creation, even on the material level. This is why St. Francis started calling all beings, even animals and plants, his brothers and sisters. The materialist may frequently experience the way we lose each other, but the spiritual person is always connected. So find each other by awakening your spiritual Self.