Throughout our lives we have calmed and been calmed by others: by mother and friend, by therapist, priest or teacher. Throughout our lives, we have been guided by others to stay on track: to follow conversations, play games, complete tasks. We calm each other in love. By interest in or care for others, our attention can be riveted on them. The seeds of wise concentration—serenity and unification of mind—lie latent in our relational nature; they have already sprouted in our lives with others. It is certainly true that we also stimulate each other into distraction and anger, triviality and fear. But our focus here is on the wholesome side. In groups, humans find safety and cohesion. The apparent constancy of the self-in-relationship and of group identity can bring ease and the comforting illusion of continuity. In the company of others, we may or may not seek wisdom, but at least the achingly lonely heart can take a rest.

Photo by Hudson Hintze on Unsplash