“A wedding. A funeral. A baby naming. Coming of age ceremonies. Important anniversaries. Unimportant occasions. Unimportant? All occasions that bring people together are important. Gathering together forges ties and friendships, support and community. Whether the occasion is happy or sad or tension filled or relaxed, gathering together leads to emotional release, emotional awareness, or emotional expression,…
… Sometimes people don’t gather because of fear of judgment by others or because they fear outbursts or trouble between attendees. Sometimes they don’t gather because they don’t value the gathering or the occasion or the societal norms…
… People are meant to gather. People are meant to intertwine. People are meant to do for one another, support one another, receive from one another. People have the ability to enrich and entertain and inform one another. Gathering and intertwining, supporting and participating, empathizing and sympathizing are natural aspects of humankind…
… Attending an event is not enough. Being there physically is not enough. Mouthing nice words without meaning them is not enough. Criticism is best left at home. Envy, too. But, heartfelt joy can stay! As can supportive thoughts!…”
Gatherings are opportunities for people to connect and forge relationships. Their importance is presented in Pond a Connected Existence: http://amzn.com/1494793008
Places are called holy because of people decisions. The holy places become symbols for future generations and they assume greater or lesser importance depending upon stories. The stories and the legends that develop around holy places change the places from just places to symbols.
When the symbols become associated with national identity or with religious identification, they can be overly important. A place is a place. It might be beautiful from natural sources or from human artistry, but it is still just a place. No more holy than the places nearby.
(This post is dedicated to my son Matan, who understood this wisdom from a young age.)
I was asked for more information about the test questions that were presented in the previous post. I am reposting with more information.
Test #1: Sensitivity to environmental concerns
The state of the environment directly affects the health of people. People who live in a highly polluted and vegetation-free environment are subjected to damage that can cause physical ailments, but also can cause damage to the soul. People who live in a vegetation-rich area, but are careless in their relationship to their environment, can suffer from damage to their physical and soulful selves too.
Disregard for plant life, water sources, and conditions for animal rearing undermines the grounding of the world and damages physical and intellectual health. Knowingly contributing to abuse of fauna and flora damages people—body and soul.
Here are the questions for the basic test:
- Recycle? Yes/No/Partially
- Use water judiciously? Yes/No/Sometimes
- Use chemical agents for cleaning or insect infestations? Yes/No/Only for insect infestations/Only for cleaning
- Support conservation efforts and interested in well-being of trees and plants? Yes/No
(explanation: being aware of and actively participating in maintenance of local and distant environments. For example, contributing money to and/or volunteering with organizations that maintain and protect the environment [local arboretums, global or national environmental organizations, picking up trash in a littered part of the city, local environmental advocacy groups])
- Care about animal welfare? Yes, including the animals that I eat/Yes, I care about my pet/Yes, except for animals who disturb my garden/No/Sometimes
(explanation: animal welfare is broad and can be overwhelming. It includes awareness about conditions at places that raise animals for food [industrial meat, egg, and dairy industries], raise animals for our enjoyment [puppy mills, fur farms], zoos [humane or not], importation of endangered animals and birds.)
There are additional questions; however, these five are a good beginning. Consider your answers and then consider the meaning of each question.
Being sensitive to the environment is good for your health!