Connections, connections…

17/03/2011 § 2 Comments

“The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.” Rabindranath Tagore

Everything is connected, so the ancient wisdom teachings tell us. Everything. Modern science, too, has reached this conclusion. Both quantum theory and the theory of relativity suggest that there is an underlying unity that connects everything in the universe.

So (to take a random example) my shoelace is connected to the robin twittering outside my window. Not only that but the shoelace and the robin are connected to the most distant star in our galaxy.

My younger brother and I have a strong connection. Years ago I was in India and, two nights in a row, had a bad dream about him. When I later called home I found that on those two nights he was lying in hospital close to death with triple pneumonia (he recovered).

This idea that everything is connected is a pretty awe-inspiring thought if you really stop and reflect on it…………

Today I banged my head. Not a little bang, but a hard, painful, knock-me-off-my-feet sort of bang. It happened as I was on the point of going to collect my son from school. I stopped to scribble a thought down on a bit of paper, leaning on a window ledge. I then turned back hastily to my study, and failed to duck under the angle of the eaves. BANG! Dasha, fortunately was on hand to tend to me with arnica and sympathy and a temporary dressing. She fussed around and insisted we drive to the hospital so I could be stitched up (stopping to collect our son on the way). But her concern did not prevent her commenting “It happened because you’re not really present at the moment.” This caused me, on the way to hospital, to think about connections and in particular the significance of “accidents”. Because in a truly connected world, nothing is accidental.

I have a friend who was miserable at work (she worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland, before the banking crisis, so it’s no wonder). She ended up breaking first one leg and then the other, in separate incidents, forcing her to stay at home in bed for several weeks. This gave her a chance to reflect and led to her leaving the bank – a decision was she was ultimately very happy with. Another friend was a successful but unhappy lawyer. One day he began to put things off, to prevaricate. It wasn’t a conscious decision, he told me – he could really help himself. Eventually everything fell apart with his caseload, he was diagnosed with a mental illness and pensioned off at the age of 41. Six years on he looks back on it as a gift, a blessing. He is working again in a different, less stressful role and is far happier, healthier and balanced than he was before the crisis hit.

Some might presume that the accident that happened to my first friend was unconnected to her unhappiness at work. Or that the “illness” that hit my other friend simply came out of the blue. Yet both these people recognise a connection – they feel their bodies recognised what they didn’t consciously dare admit to themselves, and their bodies took the decision to rescue them.

The danger of course is that once you know that everything is connected, you can start getting really silly, looking for connections everywhere. Footballers ensure that they tie the laces on their boots in a particular order before a match, making a connection between that and their success or failure in the match, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. People start looking for signs before they make a decision – if a black cat crosses their path before lunchtime, that means they should accept that offer, buy that car.

So maybe the banging of my head today is connected to nothing – except possible early stage dementia. Or it may mean, as Dasha implied, that I have been doing too much thinking recently and need to get more grounded. Or not. One thing is for sure – if I think too much about it, my head will hurt. So I will stop.


§ 2 Responses to Connections, connections…

  • Margaret G. says:

    Yes interesting – it’s hard to know whether to give something significance at the time – I think this links to how we shape our personal stories as we move through life. You can only recognise the connection to your life story in retrospect (like your friends did).

    Hope the present bump feels better soon whatever it’s part in the big story.

    Happy st Patricks day.

  • Finn Jackson says:

    I reckon there are two sorts of connection going on here. One is “inner”, and one is “outer”.

    The ‘inner’ is what happens when the unconscious gives us a bang on the head when we need one. Getting us to pay attention to something we’re not paying enough attention to. (I ended up in hospital with mine :))

    And then the ‘outer’ connection is the connection of ‘my’ unconscious to ‘your’ unconscious, which is what is going on when you dream about your brother.

    Bateson showed that Mind and Body are One System, and for some reason I now find it very easy to accept that my body is connected to my mind. I find it less easy to accept that there is a ‘collective’ unconscious.

    But on reflection (and thank you for providing the opportunity for that), having accepted that mind and body are one system, it is then only a very small step indeed to accepting that our unconsciousnesses might be/are connected.

    Happy healing,

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