It is only in the most recent history that people subscribe to the ideal of “independence,” of doing it on your own, of not needing anybody to support you. And in concept, this may be a good idea but only as a concept. We have millions of years of a genetic heritage that argues for community and we have maybe 75 to 100 years that argues for independence.
Human beings have survived out of their interdependence, not their independence. When infants are born they are completely helpless and would surely perish if not for the love and care given by the culture they were born into. Societies have survived and evolved out of the interdependence of the participants in those cultures. And humanity has been around for a very long time. So our genetic heritage and predisposition is towards co-operation and fitting into a society, culture or community.
It’s been our experience that you really can’t do it on your own for a number of reasons, not the least of which is your genetic predisposition for community. If things aren’t working right or there are problems that arise in our lives, when one is operating “alone,” it is difficult to find solutions that are appropriate and long term. We have heard it said that every solution creates new problems. Einstein postulated that a problem cannot be solved from within the system that created that problem. When people try to do it on their own, any problem that they create and any solution they come up with is still locked into the system that they are in. Therefore, people often find themselves going from what they thought was a solution into the next series of problems.
Since the ideas of independence and freedom are a background upon which most of our our lives are played, we may not be making use of the system of support from friends around us because we are locked into unexamined behaviors of trying to prove we can do it alone.
If you want to be enlightened or self-realized or live a life that is actually determined by you rather than the mechanical behaviors that you learned in order to survive in our culture, it is important that you get involved in or create a community of people who are invested in examining their lives and their behaviors, so as to effect lasting changes. In this way, we move past the mechanical behaviors we learned to survive, towards true independence, which is actually an interdependence with others.
Since it is so difficult to see yourself clearly, the benefits of a community where there is a commitment to self-realization and excellence, creates an environment in which the members of that community can actually reach their own potentials. Having someone to talk to, to share ideas with, to support us in going for excellence and not quitting on ourselves is a rare gift. When you are feeling down and it all seems too hard to continue, it is in those moments that community supports us in going for our lives. It is easy to get discouraged. Life is full of disappointments, but when you realize you are not traveling that road alone, you can keep going. When you are in a community, you realize that you make a difference, that you matter — and this supports you in being your true self and making a difference with your life.