Many years ago, I heard a quote from E. M. Forster that so moved me.
And I have lived by that, as I believe that one of the greatest wonders in our world is our ability to connect with others. The full quote from his novel Howard’s End is:
Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.
And then today I read a quote from rabbi-philosopher Martin Buber. I had heard it before and thought “well said”, or something innocuous like that… but today it struck me just how deep and powerful the quote is.
“When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them.”
Buber refers to God, in this instance, as that was his belief system. I might use the term Spirit… or Universe… or Flow… or Goddess. Some may choose a different word… love, acceptance, beauty. For me, this is not necessarily about religion… but about our innate spirituality.
Students of philosophy will know Buber from his thesis of dialogical existence, the concept of Ich-Du (“I-Thou” or “I-You”) where what is important is the mutual and holistic existence of two beings, and how they can related without any qualification or objectification of one another (thank you Wikipedia for this simple description!).
Buber believed that there were many layers to an Ich-Du relationship…. and one of them was that “an Ich-Du relationship with anything or anyone connects some way with the eternal relationship to God”. (again, my thanks to Wikipedia).
WOW! So in Buber’s view of the world…. connection, friendship, love… all these are spiritual.
And this, I too believe.
This has been a troubling year for many…. terrorism on the rise…. controversial and confusing political outcomes in countries such as the UK and USA…. But, at the root of it all, we are people. We are individuals. We have so many common goals and wishs – a peaceful life, the right to love, to be heard, to be valued, to be in community …
We can choose to live ethically and morally from a place of love, rather than a place of fear… We can choose to connect with others in an open way, unconditionally. We can listen to others, connect with their experiences, rather than judge or condemn. We can hold sacred space for others.
We can choose to exalt the human experience through love and connection.
So, in the words of E. M. Forster…. Only Connect!
And in the words of Martin Buber, do so authentically and humanly…. there is power in that.
There is spirituality and Spirit in connection, and within you.