Connectedness

  • Theme Description

Things happen for a reason. You are sure of it. You are sure of it because in your soul you know that we are all connected. Yes, we are individuals, responsible for our own judgments and in possession of our own free will, but nonetheless we are part of something larger. Some may call it the collective unconscious. Others may label it spirit or life force. But whatever your word of choice, you gain confidence from knowing that we are not isolated from one another or from the earth and the life on it. This feeling of Connectedness implies certain responsibilities. If we are all part of a larger picture, then we must not harm others because we will be harming ourselves. We must not exploit because we will be exploiting ourselves. Your awareness of these responsibilities creates your value system. You are considerate, caring, and accepting. Certain of the unity of humankind, you are a bridge builder for people of different cultures. Sensitive to the invisible hand, you can give others comfort that there is a purpose beyond our humdrum lives. The exact articles of your faith will depend on your upbringing and your culture, but your faith is strong. It sustains you and your close friends in the face of life's mysteries.

  • Action Items

You see that all things happen for a reason. You believe that all things are working together in a purposeful manner.

You feel connected to life itself. Therefore, you feel a responsibility to be considerate, caring, and accepting toward others.

You build bridges that allow people from all backgrounds to come together and develop a faith that goes beyond themselves.

When people and the world seem fractured, broken, and isolated, you can become discouraged. For this reason, some may perceive you as too naive or fragile.

Connectedness talents are valuable because they provide you with conviction and faith that sustain and encourage you and your friends in difficult times. You believe that there's a plan, a design, and a power beyond the visible world that provide meaning, comfort, and confidence.

Because you can see connections that others may not see, your role in a group may be to help other people see connections and purpose in everyday occurrences.

Your ability to see the web of relationships can lead to powerful learning experiences. Seek out classes where your open-mindedness and intuitive perceptions will be an asset.

Schedule time for meditation and contemplation. Reflect on how your religious beliefs affirm your sense of connection to others, how your sense of connection gives you stability through your faith in people, and the role of coincidences in your life.

Keep a journal so you can look back and see the experiences that support your sense of connection.

Not everyone sees the connections you do or sees the role of faith that you may see. Rather than being disappointed by this, partner with someone with powerful Communication talents who can tell the story that you see so naturally.

When others are in conflict or don't understand people who are different, your ability to see what people have in common can unite a group.

Help those around you cope with unpredictable and unexplainable events. In particular, you can help people find meaning in even sickness and death. Your perspective will bring comfort.

Ask yourself, "What life lessons am I supposed to learn today through my studies and the challenges they present? What is at work here that is much more important than passing a test or getting a good grade?"

Search for linkages between your coursework and what you're being called to contribute to the entire human family today and in the future.

Examine how your life is inextricably tied to those of people in other parts of the world and from the past. Name as many of these connections as you possibly can.

Find ways to build bridges of understanding between classmates as well as between students and their professors. Realize that you're motivated to show people how world events and close-to-home circumstances bind each individual to all humankind.

Start each day by reading an inspirational verse or a piece of scripture from your faith. Sit in silence with these words for 10-15 minutes. Open yourself to surprising discoveries about how to best approach your studies and other people.

Keep a journal. Let your ideas and feelings flow freely. Write without editing. Find purpose and meaning in your personal and academic life.

Pray for guidance before you begin studying. Ask that your mind be freed of worries and distractions. Implore yourself that you can truly trust that all will be well.

Concentrate on your breathing before starting a test, making a presentation, or working on a project. Spiritually unite yourself with students around the world who are facing similar challenges at this very moment.

Silence competing scholarly demands of your life by practicing daily meditation. Master the art of letting go. Embrace the art of living in the present moment.

Be mindful of the abundance of good things. Realize that more than one student can earn a good grade or receive the professor's approval.

Energize your body, heighten your awareness, and soothe your soul with inspiring background music. Create a calm environment in which to study, work on projects, solve problems, research, write, and prepare for exams.

Converse with individuals who realize that life is a complex web of interdependence among all human beings, living things, events, and inanimate objects.

Share with curious observers how and why you can remain calm in the midst of uncertainty, losses, successes, defeats, progress, and setbacks.

Help others understand that you view all life as a continuous, ever-widening circle without beginning or end. Explain how every thought, word, and deed impacts people far and near.

Bring ideas, projects, and relationships full circle. Tie together loose ends. Describe how your experiences and studies benefit individuals and all humankind.

Enroll in comparative religion studies. Better understand today's news events by comparing and contrasting the beliefs of the world's great religions.

Find colleges that offer courses in the study of dreams. Look for listings in the departments of psychology, religious studies, and theology.

Select history classes in which you can research events through the lens of conflicting religious doctrines and principles held as truth by some groups.

Register for theology, philosophy, and ethics classes to broaden your thinking. Integrate what you learn into other coursework.

Consider meeting with a spiritual advisor every four to six weeks. Describe instances of being keenly aware of the invisible hand of a life force, higher power, or God acting in your life. Be attentive to patterns and recurring questions.

Get involved in campus groups and ministries to nurture your faith tradition or introduce you to new forms of spirituality.

Opt for nontraditional school vacations. Volunteer to build a Habitat for Humanity house, travel to a third-world nation to help in a medical clinic, clean up an inner-city neighborhood, or work with urban families to plant a neighborhood vegetable garden.

Mentor at-risk students during the school year. Become a reading tutor for adults. Teach English to immigrant and refugee families. Record books for the blind. Serve as a camp counselor for handicapped or terminally ill children.

Use service learning opportunities on campus to explore possible careers that interest you. Spend your summers volunteering for humanitarian causes to determine the best fit for your talents.

Talk to your mentor about the connections you see between your volunteer opportunities, your values, and your mission in life. This relationship can provide a valuable sounding board through which you can articulate the connections that you see so naturally.

Consider dedicating a couple of years of your life to serving your country or community after graduation. Habitat for Humanity, the Peace Corps, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), AmeriCorps?, GreenPeace?, and Teach for America can be good places for you to experience a deep sense of gladness in meeting the world's deep needs.

Incorporate your need to serve all of humankind into whatever career you choose. Working in fields and for organizations whose values mirror your own will enable you to feel the deep sense of meaning that is so important to you.

Environments that allow you to interact with others and help them find meaning and purpose will bring out your best. Avoid environments that emphasize routine procedures or rote skills, as they may drain you.

Talk to people who have made a lifetime commitment to a specific ministry within your faith tradition. Hearing them articulate their sense of connectedness and spirituality may help you determine whether this level of commitment is appropriate for you.