With all this hot weather, I prepared a simple breakfast and brewed a light, fruity tea. And, right on schedule, he hopped onto my lily pad. I greeted him warmly with a "Good morning, Sir, I'm happy to see you!" He smiled and, smelling the delicious breakfast, immediately sat down and began serving him self. "So, what's today's lesson on?" I queried as I poured the tea. He took a sip then replied, "Student, a frog cannot clap with one flipper. Have you ever noticed, my boy, how many things seems to come in twos? Whether it's our eyes, our flippers, or even our ears. And isn't two flies better than one?" I nodded wholeheartedly in agreement. He continued, "Humans are the same way, too. Not only do they have two of many body parts, the same as we frogs, they also like to pair off, as well. And a pair is, of course, two." I hadn't really given it much thought but, upon deeper reflection I did, in fact, see where many good things seem to come in twos.
Dharma reminded me that a human can be compared to a bundle of reeds. One bundle, alone, cannot stand up to heavy wind and rain. Standing alone, it is easily blown over, But if two bundles of reeds lean against one another, they can withstand the elements. They become stronger when they rely on each other. This is true in the animal world, as well. We all need community. I hadn't thought about it that way before but, of course, it's true. "Sir," I said, 'I know it's tough for any of us to go it alone. But why is it that we're better together?"
My wise friend smiled. "Son, there are many reasons why we're better together than we are alone. But here are a few of the ones that I think are most important."
1. Collective wisdom. No single human, or frog, has all the answers. We learn more, stay safer, and become stronger as a a community than we do when we are alone. We pass on our knowledge from one to the other.
2. Pushing our individual limits. No matter how resilient we think we are, we all have days when we become overwhelmed. We think we just can't go on...or do any more. Surrounding ourselves with others who love and believe in us, often is the catalyst we need to spur us onward. They will believe in you even when you don't.
3. New ideas. With such a divergent world, we can see and learn from those who have different views and perspective on things. No two humans, or frogs either, will approach the same problem the same way. And having different viewpoints can be very helpful, You can't solve the same old problems, the same old way and expect to get different results. just because something or someone is different, doesn't mean isn't good. It's just different from what we know. Vive la difference!
4. Borrowed motivation. Creativity breeds creativity. All we need do is look around our community to get inspired. With so many new and wonderful and inventive things happening in the world today, it's hard not to t be inspired creatively. Think about all the beautiful art, music, and inventions that we know and love. You can bet those creators drew inspiration from those around them. You can do the same. Just open your eyes.
5. Accountability. Being accountable for our actions helps to keep us honest and holds us to our goals, dreams, and aspirations. How easy it would be to slip into laziness rather than get up every morning and do what we need to do, like go to work, care for our families, and pay the bills. Accountability isn't always pleasant...or even wanted. But most of the time, it's necessary. Very few of us would ever do the things required of us if there was no accountability and community helps with that.
6. Support and belief. Belonging to a group of like-minded people offers emotional support and camaraderie. When you become part of a group, you know you'll share the same beliefs, or values, or goals. Groups give people a sense of belonging. And that sense of belong, a basic human need like food and shelter, is the most important reason why humans (and frogs, too, of course)are better together.
It doesn't matter what species you are, belonging to a community isn't just a good idea....it's vital for the species to continue. And just as a frog cannot clap with just one flipper, humans cannot thrive if they are alone.
After Dharma left this morning, I decided it was time for me to get together with my friends. I've been spending way too much time alone. So I called up a couple that live near by and this afternoon we;re going to go for a swim, Then maybe catch a few bugs, if we have the time. I'm looking forward to spending time with friends....one is, indeed, a lonely number.