Punkin’ Pie had her 6th grade band concert the other night. Before the musicians started playing, however, the band teacher showed the collected parents, friends, and family this video:
He meant us to see the ways in which music unites us as human beings, but I saw something much deeper in the message. I keep coming back, again and again, to the idea that we are, all of us, interconnected. Not only do we share the universal language of music (though some of us speak it with more fluency than others), but we also share a need to be seen, heard, and understood.
I find this need expressed in a number of different traditions. In the Bantu languages of Africa, the idea of ubuntu is used to describe someone who, in the words of Desmond Tutu, is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed. In yogic traditions, the word namaste essentially means that there is a place in you where the Divine resides, and there is a place in me where the Divine resides. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are the same being.
I think that this video goes well beyond the wonder of a shared musical experience. It reaffirms – at least, for me – the understanding that we are all in this together; that we belong to and are responsible for one another; and that if we can learn to make room for each other and to approach one another with an attitude of compassion instead of aggression, we might just be able to figure this thing out.