Our innate ability to connect with others ~ 17th Karmapa

In terms of our nature — our constant yearning to be happy and to be free of suffering — we are profoundly the same and close. Yet through habituation and conditioning, we grow distant. We invest tremendous importance in our differences — our different beliefs, different cultural assumptions, and different identities. We cover our sameness up with layers of difference. No wonder we then find it hard to connect and feel close, although a wish to connect is grounded deep in our being. What can we do to protect and enhance our innate ability to connect with others? I will talk later about strengthening our basic empathy, but I also think that connecting and staying connected with our own good qualities is a powerful step we can take to be able to feel close to others. What’s more, we are always surrounded by others, and connected to others, including people we do not see and will never meet but who have contributed to who we are. Reflecting on interdependence and consciously training ourselves to identify it at work in our lives allows us to cultivate an awareness of others’ presence as part of us.

17th Karmapa

from the book Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society

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