HEALTHY COMMUNITIES – By Pierre Zimmerman 2/1/22

Connection is an important aspect of well-being. Within healthy communities we seek refuge from instability, from ignorance, and we discover that no matter who we are, no matter what we have done, we can find sane belonging.

We all want to form and maintain lasting, positive and impactful interpersonal relationships in order to thrive and grow. It has been demonstrated that when people feel lonely, their brain circuits light up in the same regions that register physical pain. In a mindful culture, a shared perspective surrounds us, in terms of what we think, believe, feel and do. In this culture we discern what is fair, true, useful and ethical. To thrive it must become a seed that can grow in the soil of this particular time and place, particularly when there is divisiveness.

Cultures are fed by small acts of communication, gestures of kindness, transparency, collaboration and statements of inclusion. We can intentionally nurture attitudes, values, practices and goals that benefit each member. At the same time, dissent or tension keeps a community healthy because we don’t want to cultivate “group think,” a dangerous notion for an exclusive and righteous membership. Reflection and inquiry help us to understand how things are actually happening, rather than how we would like them to happen. It is a call to inquire into what has gone unseen and unrecognized. 

Compromises are always required and constant feedback voiced. Maybe we need to take a moment to show the community a mirror, which symbolizes how the mind reflects all phenomena and, at the same time, how all phenomena are a mirror of the mind. Feedback is a way for communities to hold up their mirror. It is an act of courage to look into the mirror, because we are afraid of what we might see, some people will say there is something wrong with the mirror itself, yet, this is the only way to recognize what needs to be improved or changed. This is how we maintain a sense of humility and curiosity.

Critical thinking and discernment are forged bonds based on a collective vision rather than a doctrine, far-fetched theories or delusional dreams. Compassion is the medium in which deep and meaningful relationships with others can grow and flourish, protect us from falling into judgment and cultivate tolerance with patience.

By PZ/2/1/22

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