“The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food.” Dean Ornish
Just recently I visited with a podcast guest, Radhia Gleis—an elder for 25 years in a cult called the Buddha-field. Radhia and I concluded that two primal human needs, the needs for connection and community, are the very needs that draw a person to a cultish group. That is because the introduction to a cult provides a safe place to fill those needs… that is until “the wizard’s curtain” is pulled away only to discover the terrifying narcissistic pathology of a demented leader.
I use the example of a cult to emphasize just how powerful are those two ravenous human needs. We long, often desperately, for the love of a person and the acceptance of a significant group of people. To need connection and community is to be human!
Connection Calls for Vulnerability
However, connection and community are not possible without varying degrees of vulnerability, that is, the ability to reveal oneself in concert with giving permission to another reveal their most intimate self. But such vulnerability does not come easily because it is so threatening. For who am I if I am rejected for revealing my truest inner self? But how else can I understand my own unique value? Such radical rejection can be devastating.
So… a couple months back I was chatting this philosophy with my daughter-in-law, Maggie Rose. (Yea, that’s me in real life… always thinking and philosophizing. Haha. I make for a real fun guest at a party.) Together Maggie and I came up with the idea that each of us possesses something we called our “Connectivity Quotient.” It has to do with our ability as well as our willingness to pursue connection, with one person or with some community.
A Need for Self-Awareness
Some of us are better at it and some of us need a bit of help, ergo “The Quotient.” It seems to me that our Connectivity Quotient is based other traits in addition to willingness and ability. Some of us are great at connecting with just a very small handful of people, and we are often called “introverts.” Others are social magnets, easily connecting with just about anyone.
I wonder about the correlation of the Connectivity Quotient and Emotional Awareness (or EQ). It seems to me that the more self-awareness that one possesses, the greater the chance of engaging in meaningful connectivity and community. And self-awareness is, for me, the child of contemplation and self-reflection, birthed in a fiery furnace facing our insecurities and needinesses.
Last Words from Winnie-the-Pooh
I believe these thoughts are indeed essential. Sometimes the deepest of thought comes from the simplest of minds. Let’s allow Winnie-the-Pooh have the last words…
“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever [because] a day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.”
When All You Really Need
Is Connection… with Someone
Photo courtesy of Nastco at istockphoto