The true meaning of ‘community’

I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I did yesterday, and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you. – Neil deGrasse Tyson

ImageI was talking to a friend the other day about the current perception of the term ‘community’. It’s a word that is used freely and widely because it creates a positive impact. Who hasn’t been shaken to the point of joyous tears when reading about how a community came together to support one of their own? Who hasn’t felt a current of happiness go through their whole body while watching a news story showcasing human beings helping one another?
While it’s great to be moved by these things, and even to applaud them and celebrate them, sharing the videos on Facebook or through e-mail – the sad truth is that many of us stop there. We don’t actually engage in supporting others. We think it’s all great and we may even talk a lot about how this person or that organization is doing amazing things for X or Y community in Mexico, South Africa, Malaysia or Texas. We talk the talk…but we don’t walk it.
In a company, when one of the employees is happy, healthy and has a positive, loving family life; his/her wellbeing will have direct impact on that of his peers. This generates a general atmosphere of companionship and growth within a company, regardless of its size. The same thing happens with every human group: families, towns, villages, business owners associations, fraternities, school groups, states, countries…When we play an active part in improving anyone else’s circumstances, we are effectively changing the world. This is what the term ‘community’ really means: it’s the true exercise of our human capacities, the natural practice of helping our fellow men do better and ensure that all of us have the basic things we need in order to live a dignified, full and happy life. The universe gives us the responsibility to watch for one another, for our peace and happiness is intertwined with the peace and happiness in the lives of others. We are all part of a gorgeous tapestry that extends beyond our mental grasp, and we create new designs in it every day.
I wonder, if we only talk about community but we never really do anything for each other, how our tapestry looks from above and beyond? My guess is that right now it must be looking rather grey and grim. All is not lost, though: while we’re here, we still have time to improve our designs and to make sure there are no loose threads. Every thread – every person – matters.
Are you practicing the spirit of community in your daily life? I’m always listening at​​​​​​​ docbeverly@aol.com.

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