Preoccupations and the Great Wall of Disconnect

Stone wall at Norman Bird Sanctuary

Experiencing the power, peace and purpose of nature and the universe that we are undeniably a part of requires us to experience it first hand. We cannot experience this via proxy. We cannot get our fill through programs on the TV, words on a page, or images on a screen. We have to touch it, breathe it in, let it surround and consume us. Only then can we experience our deep connection to it.

But how many of us find ourselves amidst the comings and goings of our everyday lives to the point where we lose all sense of the natural world around us — what it is, what it provides, and what is at stake if we continue to turn a blind eye to its commercialization and degradation?

I feel as though I have experienced this first hand over the last six weeks. Work has been an absolute bear, consuming more and more time and attention. Annual springtime rights of passage such as kick-starting the garden and new rounds of sports and extra-curricular activities for the kids have been ramping up. Projects around the house — dormant during the winter — have come to life once more with the increasing hours of daylight. All in all, I have felt a major disconnect from the natural world around me, my senses dulled and spirit a bit bridled by my inability to experience a few quiet moments of deep connection with the earth and the stars.

My distractions are not unique in any way. We all find ourselves doing other things that for the moment require our attention and tie up precious physical, mental and spiritual bandwidth that is needed to tune in to the world and universe around us — to feel our interbeing with it and let it nourish us.

As I’ve thought about this, I keep taking a broad view of our culture and thinking that it is just this “preoccupation” with things that could very well be keeping us from opening our eyes to what it is we’re doing to the world around us; the everyday cultural and consumer trappings that are walling us in from the natural world and the suffering of other beings we share this place with; false pursuits that keep us from our true selves.

In short, such preoccupations have built up a Great Wall of Disconnect around us.

We are being cut off from those around us, our communities, and our planet. The Wall blocks our view of the world and our place in it. It barricades our spirits, holding us back from realizing our true selves and our purpose for being. Our common humanity is being broken apart and siloed.

This Wall must be broken through if lasting peace and sustainable prosperity are to be had. But how?

It is here that I wonder what powers might be at play. Have we allowed ourselves to walled in on purpose? Or has the Consumer Machine, powered by the need to feed its engines with the ‘commoditization’ of nature’s resources and devolution of the human experience built this wall intentionally brick by brick with every click of a cash register and fabricated pursuit?

I see how the Wall is going up around me — and it is frightening. I suppose awareness is the first step — the first blow to the mortar that keeps it in place.

I think we all have “walls” like this in one way, shape or form — whether we like to admit it or not. Still, it is through this common experience that we raise the collective awareness needed to bring them down and realize the lasting peace and sustainable prosperity that lies beyond. Here’s to raising the sledgehammer high.

Be well,
Bill

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Comments
2 Responses to “Preoccupations and the Great Wall of Disconnect”
  1. What amazing insight and depth, Bill. I don’t think we can hold only the ‘consumer machine’ accountable, although it is very powerful indeed. We are all interconnected and thus are all equally accountable. May you bring the wall down!

  2. Bill Gerlach says:

    Hi Sandra // Thanks for stopping by. I agree, the consumer machine is not the sole builder of the wall. ‘Bricks’ are available in so many places these days. I love what you put forth: Equal connectedness = Equal accountability. That is powerful. I wonder how many people out there realize either side of that equation and their place within it. I think that is one of the biggest hurdles we are facing — the realization that we’re all in this together and that each person has a part to play to bring about, as Joanna Macy puts it, the Great Turning. Be well!