I have always found great pleasure and comfort in the sense of belonging to a community of beings through intimately, thoughtful conversation. One of the most magical ways that come through is in the feeling of intimate connection through an insight or sentiment expressed in a piece of literature, speech or interview when someone articulates something that I have come to understand as true in my own journey.
Often these moments move me to tears as I am so touched by an ability to encounter another soul, whom I will likely never know in the literal sense of the word, but who I feel a profound connection to in the great human conversation.
As I was listening to Brene Brown’s recent interview with Krista Tippet, I was moved by how many of the understandings that are emerging from Brown’s research into belonging, ring true with my own experience and align with the orientation and practices of Evolving Mindfully.
I appreciate how she wove into the conversation a contextual definition of spirituality in a way that I often feel the need to do when sharing because spirituality is such a core concept that is often rendered ambiguous in its overuse.
In describing what emerged from her research into belonging Brown offers,
And by “spirituality” I mean the...deeply held belief that we’re inextricably connected to each other by something greater than us. And that thing that is greater than us is rooted in love and compassion — that there’s something bigger than us and that we are connected to each other in a way that cannot be severed.
I share it because it is very much a tenant of spirituality I have come to understand through embodied experience. It is also a foundational step in cultivating the kind of self-belonging that transcends the feeling of loneliness that so many of us can experience.
She equates an individual commitment to belonging as,
...the spiritual practice of believing in ourselves and belonging to ourselves so fully that we find what’s sacred in not only being a part of something, like our DNA calls us to be, but also, we find sacred the need, on occasion, to stand alone in our values, in our beliefs, when we’re called to do that, as well.
Her research reveals that loneliness arises out of trying to fit the molds that culture or society presents as normal or preferable when in fact they may not encompass who we are at our core. Her research indicates that the people who experience the highest sense of belonging are those that cultivate personal authenticity rather than prioritizing conformity to the group.
In belonging to ourselves, first and foremost, we connect with others from a place of authenticity that allows us to feel what it is to be truly known for who we are in our quirky, unique, imperfect, work-in-progressness.