What does it mean to belong? How do you experience belonging? Some would say we as a society are experiencing a crisis of belonging. Do you agree, and if so, why?
There was a time in our history where our deepest sense of belonging came from (for lack of a better expression) the more-than-human. We belonged to the earth; we belonged to God, the divine, the Universe. This reality was both an individual and communal given, and informed the personal, the relational, and the societal at the most fundamental level. There was a sense of cohesion, that something “bigger” was guiding and informing day-to-day life.
Since the rise of mechanistic materialism, what was once a “given” has given way to the idea that the Universe is machine-like, and made up of separate parts. This fragmented sense of reality is reflected in our noun-based language: this is a horse, that is a chair; this is me, that is you. It makes sense, then, that a world-view that emphasizes our separateness, fortified by a language that reinforces separateness, would undermine any notion that we innately and intimately belong within the Whole.
As a way to compensate for this, belonging evolved into a human-centric concept: we belong with our partners, our families and our friends; to our communities and our organizations. We derive a sense of belonging from our relationships and interactions with other humans (and perhaps our pet companions, if we have them). And yet, many of us carry a around a dim, unsettling, and inarticulable sense that we “don’t belong.” Why is that? Could it be that our reliance on other humans to provide the sense of belonging we long for is not enough, and puts an inordinate amount of pressure on our relationships? Is it time we all let each other off the belonging hook?
Sound, Belonging & Wholeness invites us to remember and reclaim what indigenous cultures and spiritual communities have known and practiced for millennia: that our deepest belonging both includes, and transcends, the human-centered realm; that the essence of belonging is a dance with Wholeness (or as 13th-century monk, Dogen, taught: “… is intimacy with all things”); that our lived experience is enfolded within the ever-evolving and unfolding Wholeness of all that is: the Universe, the sun, the moon, the earth, our human and more-than-human communities.
How do we get there? How do we actually experience our innate belonging in Wholeness? There is really only one way: Embodied Presence. And the news is good!—because you possess, literally under your nose, the ultimate Embodied Presence portal: your own self-created sound, and your capacity to listen. It’s always with you, it’s free, you can use it anytime and anywhere, it requires no electricity, and no special skills to operate. What it does require is your willingness to explore with curiosity, and open to where it wants to take you. That is the journey of Sound, Belonging & Wholeness.