Most people rate moments of connection and shared enjoyment with their loved ones as their most important life experiences.
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These important relationships not only include family and personal friends but also the wider groups and communities we belong to. Forming connections and a sense of community with work colleagues, neighbours and the various groups that make up our identity such as sports, hobbies, religious and community groups , all contribute to our well-being.
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Forming a sense of belonging with other people around a shared mission or identity is a major contributor to our sense of personal meaning in life. Our personal resilience is interwoven into resilience of the communities to which we belong. It is from the web of our relationships and connections with other people that we draw our strength. Such communities can lift us when we are down and give us the capacity to deal with whatever challenges come our way. However, creating and maintaining happy personal relationships and belonging to positive communities is not straightforward.
We might start out with a loving supportive relationship with a partner but then inattention, neglect and stressful life events take their toll leading to relationship conflict and breakdown. At this point, the relationship far from being a source of well-being and happiness becomes a source of stress and dissatisfaction. In addition, you might initially join a positive community group that is bound around a positive mission to make the world a better place, but then the members get sidelined into infighting, scapegoating, as the community becoming divisive and in danger of fracture.
At this point, rather than providing a sense of belonging, these communities can isolate, hurt and damage many people.
Tapping into what the body already knows.
As a result, it is very important to continuously attend to and nurture our relationships with the important people in lives as well as taking time to strengthen the communities to which we belong. The two major challenges in maintaining close personal relationships are neglect eg not putting time into the relationship and not dealing constructively with conflict thus letting problems fester until they are out of control.
One-to-one relaxed time, when you have plenty of space to chat and have fun together is best. Whether this is being spaced out or checking email when they are talking or being caught up worries or stress that you are not there for them. Whether these are simply kind words of thanks to an important colleague, a gift to an important friend, affection with your partner or a reassuring hug for a child, everyone needs to be appreciated and nurtured in close relationships. Learning to talk respectfully and assertively is the second most important communication skill.
Taking responsibility and apologising, when you have hurt someone and moving on and forgiving, when you have been hurt are key to maintaining relationships through hard times. When we belong to a functional community it is very easy to assume that it will always be supportive and always be there for us. However, just like families and personal relationships, all the groups and organisations that you belong to need to be nurtured and reinvigorated.
All these groups require leaders and members willing to contribute and give back to support them. Interestingly, many studies highlight that it is the people who take leadership roles in community and voluntary groups who benefit the most in terms of their personal well-being and satisfaction.
In simple terms, it is people who give the most that get the most from these communities.
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Or, if you are not in many community groups, get out there and join one, picking one that reflects your passions and talents and which gives you a chance to contribute. Thoughts appear and we can choose to believe them—or not. Rather, we are the witness of our thoughts. It is up to us how we want to be in relationship with the thoughts that vie for our attention.
This fixation with thoughts causes us to be lost in a trance most of our lives—not actually where we are. Put another way, it causes us to abandon our bodies. With our attention focused on the stream of thoughts we are always hearing, we become disconnected from our senses. This is important because it is the senses that are the portal to our own presence, our basic being, our spirit.
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Coming into the body, feeling the breath, the sensations that are happening right now—this is our gateway into now, and it is only through this present moment, now—sensed directly—that we can remember ourselves as the infinite and spacious presence that we intuitively know but forget that we really are. While thoughts have tremendous value for many aspects of life, if what we want is to know ourselves as spiritual beings on a human journey, thought is not the path.
In fact, our fixation with thoughts obscures us from this knowing, this timeless wisdom. The body holds this intelligence , this memory , deep in its cellular structure, as if the body itself remembers from whence it comes, the stardust out of which it is made. Right now, in this moment, invite your body to feel itself, from the inside out. Right now, in this moment, allow your body to arrive—here, where you are.
Simply tune into the sounds reaching your ears, feel the sensations happening inside you, experience the breath as it enters and exits, and the gaps in between. Allow yourself to land inside, and to fill up your whole body with your own presence, to sense your being. Feel what it feels like simply to exist. Use your senses as your portal, experience the boundlessness that your body contains, and you will come to remember yourself as the spiritual being on a human journey that you truly are.
I like the quote attributed to de Chardin. I have read "The Phenomenon of Man", but I am having difficulty locating this quote. I have read that the attribution of this quote to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin is not accurate. Can you please specify the page number or chapter name from which this quote is derived? Thank you, walt. Hello Walt, This quote comes from the "brainy quote" website let me know if you find the direct reference.
This amounts to giving them a pat onthe back for something which they had nothing to do with. Quite frankly, I don't understand the narrator's panegyric over our ancestors of 30, to 40, years back. When you look at it, they were far from remarkable. The conclusion of the documntary was particularly offensive. Our biological relationships do not militate an individual's duty to mankind in general. I don't mind watching an old documentary now and then specially science or history based , but it would be easier if I knew this ahead.
Highly recommend. We are all Related, that's the most important message, our migrations? Why so angry? You will never get angry enough to change an opinion. What people will do is tune you out and talk around you.go site
The importance of relationships and belonging
It was a good introductory doc. To some one never exposed to this type of science before, it was simply presented and entertaining. A more sophisticated understanding can grow from this. Are you actually saying that ethnic groups do not share certain physical characteristics, are you blind. Of course they do, we all know and see very plainly that Asians have a certain shape of eye, Mongolians seem to have those high pronouced cheek bones, the San peoples all looked very similar to me as well High sharp cheek bones and dark skin accompanied by the asian looking eyes.
I realize it is more politically correct to pretend we notice no difference what so ever in ethnic groups, that we all somehow look identical. But it isn't true, and you know it. I will admit that as races mix and match these characteristics are fading, but they are far from unnoticable. I am certainly not a predjudice person at all, I was married to a black woman for ten years infact, but to say that ethnic groups do not have defining physical characteristics is to lie or be blind. Yes genetically the difference is very minute, less than one percent I would think, but just to look at them these physical differences are very noticable.
I think these differences are beautiful to be honest. It is what makes certain ethnic groups look so exotic, to us westerners any way. You can pretend you don't see the differences or have never noticed them, but I don't believe you-simple as that. Not everything needs a scientific basis to be true as science often will not touch certai things that may stir angry emotions. Somethings are simply evident to the naked eye, and are just the way they are- whether science admits it or not.
As far as why he chose the San peoples instead of some New Yorker with the correct genetic marker, well is that not evident. He was tryng to find a people that still practiced older more primitive customs and lived in Africa, since that is where we as a species started our trek out into the world.
This way we got to see something very close to the way our ancestors may have lived and he also was in the right place to start the journey.
It would have made very little sense to start with some guy from New York or Jersey driving a cab or something and then jump down to Africa to start his journey.
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