Notes from the Barre: Our Shared Humanity

Shared Humanity, Madeline Bea

“We’re all just walking each other home.”  – Ram Dass

When we speak of living as compassionate beings in the world, I can nothing more pivotal than understanding the notion of our shared humanity. No matter our external differences, we are, as they say, all in this together. Our individual circumstances may not look identical to one another; but inside we all want to be loved and accepted, we all want to be safe and comfortable, and we are all doing the best we can. Our shared human experiences bind us to one another and lay the framework for a common ground among which we can always reach out to one another. “We’re all just walking each other home.”

When I think of times that I have wanted more compassion from others, this is exactly where I land: I want to say to whomever is involved “I’m doing the best I can.” And when I have failed to be compassionate in a given situation, I know that it’s because I have neglected to see that someone else is doing the best they can. But when I bring myself back to this awareness, it can shift an entire situation from one in which I may be feeling like a victim or an opponent to one in which I feel like a fellow teammate with a responsibility to root for another’s success, shoulder their loss, offer them water or a towel, or help them off the field and wrap them in a warm blanket. “We’re all just walking each other home.”

When one loses, we all lose. When one gains, we all gain. When one is suffering, we all suffer. Our humanity isn’t merely shared, it’s inextricably intertwined. The true opponent in this game of life is division and hate. If we can habitually see each other as teammates, the kind of compassion we could cultivate in the world could be explosive. “We’re all just walking each other home.”

May we be forces of love and compassion in this world; offering warm hands, steady shoulders, and sturdy backs to those walking along with us. And may we have a warm hand to hold, a shoulder to lean upon, or a sturdy back to help carry our burdens every time we reach out across the expanse of the common ground of our kindred humanity. “We’re all just walking each other home.”

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