It seems that when we consider the idea of belonging our first inclination is to think of belonging through our relationships with one another. This is certainly an important aspect of the human yearning for belonging. And, what if just by virtue of being alive we belong? In a recent teaching session with my mentor, Meg Wheatley, she shared an image of several spiral galaxies captured by the Webb telescope, and an image of a single plankton magnified 2,000 times it’s microscopic size. Meg lifted up the exquisite beauty and order in these images.
David Whyte’s poem, Self Portrait, begins with this question: “It doesn’t interest me if there is one God or many gods. I want to know if you belong or feel abandoned.”1 Our conversation in our teaching session explored this question through the telescopic lens of the vastness of space that contains all the components of life, and the microscopic lens of miniscule organisms that provide 50% of the oxygen in our oceans.
We belong to both the vastness and the microscopic. We belong to the earth. We belong to the very essence of life itself. Images both vast and tiny demonstrate a foundational order with which we are inextricably interconnected and absolutely dependent. The Navajo concept of the Beauty Way is about the natural harmony and order of life. Through this understanding of the deep time connection we have with all that is, we can access a sense of basic belonging. We belong in the universe. We belong in our solar system, we belong to the earth. We belong to the web of life. We belong to each other.
I access this sense of profound, basic belonging through a daily meditation practice. When temperatures allow, I can sit on my back porch and meditate with my eyes softly gazing upon the world. Without any effort, I witness birds, bees, butterflies, spiders, leaves falling, dogs barking, chain saws whirring, the scents of the season. I am one with all of this. And when I need to meditate inside, I see the objects on my altar that remind me I belong on this earth: rocks, metal, water, flowers, fire, incense … all remind me I am alive, I have not been abandoned, and I belong. And so do you.
~ Rev. Jan Taddeo