Fighting loneliness through community
There was a billboard for a hospital that advertised “stress is best managed by human connection.” Well, maybe not in those exact words but the main point is still the same. There is also an old saying that no man is an island. Sometimes the best method of self-development is simply being in a supportive community of like-minded people.
How to go about building community
The idea of living in community is nothing new as it has been around since the dawn of civilization. This is the basis for every world religion. Each community during ancient time organized some sort of festival as a way to worship the God of their understanding. However, community does not have to be a religious thing. Even atheists and agnostics are into the idea of forming communities of like-minded people that share their views on life and can have long-term satisfying relationships with.
How does one go about building community to help with personal growth? It starts with getting to know yourself. This is essential before in order to be attracted to people who share similar values as you. It is all part of the Law of Attraction. Despite the song “Opposites Attract”, real life shows that life does not usually work this way. Those who do not share the same values will usually drift away from us. Likewise, those who are just like us are generally more attracted to us. This is where community starts. Social media is actually adept at bringing people together globally who share the same basic values. Just like the cartoon father figure on “Family Guy”, Peter Griffin, said in one episode: “Social media is bringing us all closer together.”
While social media is good for online community, it is not replacement for live fellowship with others. That is unless you have enough friends in one area of the country and you are contemplating a change of scenery to someplace where you have more friends. As stated earlier, church is the best known place to build community. But what about the non-religious types? There are also self-improvement groups, such as Anonymous groups, where people can get to know each other and build lasting friendships. These are usually spiritually based too though.
There is no separation between spiritual and secular
There is really no separation between those practices that are deemed spiritual or religious with those that are considered to be more secular. The practice of mindfulness meditation is one of these wellness practices that has its roots in the ancient spiritual and religious practices of ancient civilizations. It was in recent years that Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness Stress Based Reduction (MSBR), brought the spiritual practice of being mindful to the mainstream by offering workshops at local colleges and workplaces.
It is important to remember that community can take place anywhere. A bar or a coffee shop is more than just a place to go purchase a beverage. People typically hang out in these areas and socialize for hours on end. Depending on the intellectual environment, you may either talk about books or just play a game of darts or pool over a pitcher of beer. The practice of building community is for everyone because relationships we make are the meaning of our existence. No one ever comes to the end of their life wishing that they had spent more time at the office now do they?
Work is another place to build community.
While it is good to have a job you enjoy, most people do not enjoy the workplace politics or long hours that are associated with work. However, our work has more value than just collecting a paycheck and building wealth. The potentially lifelong relationships that we create through our work may often be the primary motivator that keeps us going to work on a daily basis.
Lastly, finding activities to involve ourselves in is another way to make friends and build community. In many cases people have found that special someone through a shared activity, be it an intellectual event or an outdoor/indoor activity, such as camping or bowling. Again, social media has introduced new ways to bring this about. You can go to a website called Meetup and look for activities that range from spiritual, intellectual, and even outdoor or vocational activities within your geographic location.
Connecting with other people with similar values has many psychological benefits. For one, it is a reminder that we do not have to go through life alone. Sometimes the act of connecting with another human being may be enough to provide healing to our bodies since the underlying issue of many sicknesses may actually be brought about due to the stress of carrying our burdens by ourselves. Building community may have been a spiritual or religious concept at one time, but as Dr. Kabat-Zinn proved, the basic principal is universal.
E Bishop Wooten
The Daily E Blog @ http://dailyevotionals.wordpress.com
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