Recently my wife and I, along with some children, grandchildren, and a great-grandchild, got together for dinner to celebrate a birthday. The restaurant’s food was excellent and the weather on their outdoor dining patio was very pleasant, but those were far from the most impressive things about the occasion. The beautiful part was the bonding I felt with my family.
I’ve noticed that this feeling of unity you have with others – family, friends, acquaintances, or even strangers – seems to grow enormously over the years. So does its importance.
As children, our relationships with others our own age tend to be quite challenging – vying for attention with our siblings, competing for grades in school, battling each other in sports.
When we become adults, relationships in the competitive work world don’t get much closer. But after you attain middle age or above, a tendency to bond with everyone else begins to manifest itself. People you know are much more likely to become friends, not rivals.
And by the time you’re in your 80’s like me, there’s almost no reason to be anybody’s rival anymore, so you tend to feel friendly to all.
Strangely, this feeling of openness can expand to make you even feel a sense of bonding with the world at large. Whether you’re looking at a sunny day or nourishing rain, a snow-covered mountain or grassy prairie, a sandy desert or ocean beach – any of these can inspire thoughts of being part of a big, beautiful, intimate universe.
As we age, I think it’s important to embrace this tendency toward more “oneness,” beginning with oneness toward people.
It’s good to spend as much time as possible with friends and family. They bring you a kind of warmth that you won’t get from working, watching TV, or reading the paper. But strangers you’ve just met can inspire a feeling of oneness too, if you’re open to them.
Feeling a sense of oneness with the universe may take a bit longer, but eventually it should happen too. Some think this requires a round of intense meditation, but I’ve found that often just waking up on a bright new day can bring it on if you do it with a positive attitude.
How about giving some thought today to bonding with the people and the world around you?
There’s no better time than now to enjoy becoming more one with everything and everybody – even yourself.
As you grow older, some things get worse,
Like memory and muscular strength; however
There’s one thing that might be stronger than ever:
feeling at one with the universe.