I am because we are

It’s so damn difficult at times to be together – and at the same time this is where life is, that is where life begins in so many ways.

I have grown up in an atmosphere of Descartes philosophy: “I think, therefore I am.” When I encounter words like: “I AM BECAUSE WE ARE*” a truth deep inside me is touched.

* Ubuntu is an African concept meaning: I am because you are. It embraces the idea that humans cannot exist in isolation. We are co-created. We depend on connection, community, and caring — simply, we cannot be without each other. We step into existence together.

I’m sure I only understand a fraction of what I AM BECAUSE WE ARE really means. I’m not brought up in a culture with that saying in the blood, though I sometimes wish I was. Independency rather than interdependency is more valued, where I come from.

Which reminds me of a quote by Laura Perls:

“Independency without connection is a masquerade for isolation”

To that, I would add that the opposite also applies:

“Dependency without connection is a masquerade for isolation”

To some extent we can uphold an existence without connection, community, and caring and that can be as good as it gets. Even together we can succeed in isolation and in feeling primararily alone.

And when we succeed in belonging and not just fitting in, or when we succeed in sharing ourselves with others in reciprocity, life has much flavor and precious depths to offer.

This being with others is risky business

It is risky business to be alive – and it can feel even more risky to surrender to others, to be dependent, to be vulnerable and to love. It can be complex and difficult and sometimes even flush our life as a powerful river filled with pain, grief or maybe shame.

And that makes me think of another quote which goes in a slightly other direction and at the same time not:

“Better have loved and lost than never loved at all”

What resonates to be nourishing in you?

We resonate with each other in the same way strings of an unplucked violin vibrate with the sound of a violin played nearby. We are interconnected on many levels. Some surroundings are more supportive than others – communities and connections bring forward special tunes in you.

Don’t think that you are wrong or unworthy, because you feel you don’t belong or things don’t work where you are in your family, culture, relationship, workplace…. You have your responsibility, your demons to look at. And the environment you are in affects you too – all from small to big, from small notes about important stuff to people, climate etc.

I AM BECAUSE WE ARE – we vibrate in each other’s lives and hearts and in that field, there is more than logic to guide us and lots of questions that cannot be answered.

Last quote for this passage is by Susan Frybort:

“The logic of my mind will never fully understand the reasoning of my heart”

No matter how and where – believe in your heart and let it shine like fireflies – then we can light up together.

More about ubuntu:

Rene Descartes is often called the first modern philosopher, and his famous saying, “I think, therefore I am,” laid the groundwork for how we conceptualize our sense of self. Ubuntu is an entirely different way of thinking about personal identity — a non-Western philosophy that rejects this emphasis on individuality.

The African philosophy of “ubuntu” — is a concept in which your sense of self is shaped by your relationships with other people. It’s a way of living that begins with the premise that “I am” only because “we are.” The Kenyan literary scholar James Ogude believes ubuntu might serve as a counterweight to the rampant individualism that’s so pervasive in the contemporary world.

“Ubuntu is rooted in a relational form of personhood, basically meaning that you are because of the others…” said Ogude. In other words, as a human being, you—your humanity, your personhood – are fostered in relation to other people.

This idea also extends to our relationships with the non-human world of rivers, plants and animals.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: The African Philosophy of Ubuntu