Many painfully honest songs, like Radiohead's "Creep," include the lament "I don't belong here." Some of us are sporadically struck by the very unpleasant sense that we shouldn't be here; can't handle the present situation or the people around us; that we're not good enough; that we seriously lack what it takes to succeed, be happy, or perhaps even survive. Some of us are burdened by such feelings on an almost constant basis.
AND what if the complete opposite were ALSO true - that all of us ABSOLUTELY DO belong here - no matter how lousy our past or present situation might be? Sebene Selassie, a meditation teacher, has and continues to deal with far more real hardship than most of us, and has learned powerful real world lessons on how to really live:
“But the challenges I faced – the challenges you face, the challenges we face collectively at this time, any place in the world (even a colonic room), any challenge in life (even cancer) – all are invitations to belonging. And belonging is our true nature.
Belonging is our capacity to feel joy, freedom, and love in any moment. As the late Zen teacher Charlotte Joko Beck said: Joy is exactly what’s happening, minus our opinion of it. Joy is not about happy or unhappy, liking or disliking. Joy is accepting each moment for what it is without contention. We belong to any moment simply by meeting it with joy. This is freedom. Love is the ultimate expression of joy and freedom. Joy, freedom, and love could be considered synonyms for each other, and for belonging.”
Sebene Selassie. “You Belong: A Call for Connection.” HarperOne, 2020.
Often when circumstances finally force us to drop our frantic scurrying around for what we think we lack, it suddenly dawns on us that we ourselves, are the source of loving intelligence, and that our very nature is wisely nurturing ourselves, others, everything - "intimacy with all." If this seems overly idealistic, remember that those who've had crushing losses - such as the death of an only child - can often only find consolation in supporting others who've suffered similar losses.
At times, life IS very, very hard. We DO sometimes need help from others. AND YET all of us DO have an amazing capacity to wisely nurture ourselves (sometimes with help from others), and those who are suffering. We DO belong ALWAYS in ALL circumstances. We MUST wake up to our own depth of loving wisdom. To embody this requires that we learn to gradually let go of compulsive self-centredness, and prioritize deep meditation practice.