The True Sense of Belonging
Q: What is the meaning of belonging, especially when confronted with the relativity of things that becomes so obvious in times of war, natural disaster, and crisis?
A: Belonging is fulfilling an important aspiration of our soul—being rooted, anchoring itself in something stable. Since life often reveals itself to be frail and uncertain, it’s natural to long for an unbreakable foundation that can never be shaken. Such stability nurtures our hearts…
Yet, in time, it becomes evident that such solidity can’t be found only in the material world, not even in the inner realm of emotions, beliefs, and ideas. This understanding is wisdom.
We can discern personal, cosmic, and spiritual belonging.
Belonging as Attachment
“Living in compensation” subverts belonging through an attachment to things, people, habits, systems, or dogmas. By simply ignoring, repressing, or forgetting our true freedom, we are left to crave only personal belongings. This may be comforting for a while, but it is not the real foundation we long for. It is just a betrayal of the Self, the seat of spiritual belonging.
There is a tightness of personal belonging that feels imposed on us by habits, dogmas, and many such ego-restrictive tendencies. But belonging is much more than a narrow identification. When taming and domesticating our longings, we fail to remember the splendor of the Universe and the magnificence of our inner world. Like an open Heart, true spiritual belonging is always expansive since, in its essence, it is an expansion of consciousness. Belonging is about welcoming and embracing diversity. The revelation of the pure “I am”-feeling can only emerge from a unifying perspective.
The Symmetry of Belonging
There is a mysterious symmetry between different levels of existence. We just need to be aware of it.
For example, when loss and suffering seem to shatter our sense of belonging (as happens in many ways in our times), we can come closer to the heart of intimacy, the Sacred Heart, in a secret reflection.
There is also symmetry between building a spiritual practice and developing a sense of togetherness, of deep belonging to a sangha. Authenticity, love, and depth of practice clearly echo when part of a spiritual community, and vice versa.
Belonging to the Cosmos
Spanda, the quiet pulsation of life that tenderly vibrates in our hearts, evokes a sense of belonging to the natural world. Listening to its unifying call refreshes our souls.
Thus, the land we live in becomes a meaningful place. Along with the earth, the birds and the sky become a community to which we belong… When we offer our hearts to the earth, wind, and sky, when we belong to all of them alike, this equanimity of Unconditional Love embraces us in a deeper, cosmic shelter of belonging.
Try to belong to the ocean, to the sky, to the darkness of the night, and to the abundance of light. This is a cosmic affiliation.
When we realize that our every particle also belongs to the entire Universe, this is Love. Essentially, belonging becomes a fearless recognition and embrace of Universal Love. The meaning of the word “belonging” at its core is “Be Longing.” We belong to what we are longing for. When our longings become universal longings, such yearning no longer keeps us isolated from anything.
There can be dryness and alienation in what some consider neutrality. Real equanimity is not a denial but a unification in higher values. Einstein’s confession about the subtle community he felt affiliated with is remarkable: “Although I am a typical loner in my daily life, my awareness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has prevented me from feelings of isolation.”
Belonging to Sacred Nothingness
Ultimately, we learn to rest not on things but in the sacred nothingness of the Spiritual Heart. Belonging, tenderness, love, and intimacy are essentially all rooted in the Ineffable, in what the mystics called “the Beloved.” We belong to the “One Taste,” Eternal Presence.
The beauty is that by belonging to the infinite sky of Consciousness, our emotions, thoughts, and personal expressions carry this touch of Oneness, of the Eternal.
Spiritual Belonging is Being. It is the fullness of Beauty, Love, Truth, and Freedom.