The number one need in the Universe is a sense of connection.
The number one need for us as humans is a sense of connection.
There is no difference amongst us all.
There was a time in my life when I first set out upon the road, that part my journey was to find my people. Of course silly me, it took me over two years to realize that my people are not from here, so of course I could not find them easily. It wasn’t even so much about finding a sense of “home,” it was about finding my people, my tribe.
My personal soul memories of a tribe on this planet have always been strong. It was a way of being, a way of living. In those bits and pieces of memory, there was a sense of “I,” but very much as a part of the whole, the whole of the tribe. The “I” held importance, but in a very different light than what I see as I look out upon the world today.
We all still need a sense of tribe, but its demise was modern civilization. There seems to be even a disparity in that though. Yes, there had been past lives in small tribes of Africa, but ancient Egypt was comparatively huge; there it felt like the same sense of being part of it though, the “tribe” was simply big.
Moving forward to the Roman Empire, something was shifting. What catches my attention to that at the moment, were the games, the need for the masses to be entertained. The commonality was still there, but the people no longer held the same place within it.
As I reflect on the more current world history, I see a time where nationality held a sense of “tribe” for the people. That was a lot of how Hitler gained power; a disempowered peoples in need of regaining their pride as a nation, as a people, as a tribe. Very often, people still use their national heritage as a flag of their identity. Be it French, Scottish, or ________, people often refer to where their ancestries lie. It’s the best they can do to identify with a tribe.
After WW II, here in America, we became a very mobile nation with an increasing sense of individuality. It was into this, I was born. I have watched the collapse of community, of tribe. It was easiest to see in cultural inner city areas. Massive communities of varying ethnicity lost their bonding character. Kids moved away for better opportunity, for a better life … for desire to have and be more as an individual.
It wasn’t just the breakdown of the “family.” Historically, within a tribe, the family was honored, but the tribe was far more important. In indigenous cultures, the biological parents seldom actually reared their children after the first year or two, the tribe did.
Devotion as spirituality seemed to take a dive in the same era. Huge churches and Synagogues suddenly lost their congregations … what remained, were slowly dying off with age. Many now, stand abandoned. What really died though, was Spirit, Spirit represented within the tribe. Along with that, ritual died. Community ritual, as a tribe, plays a tremendous roll in our heath on a spiritual, and, soulful level; which of course then manifests in our bodies.
On a bigger scope, even nationality lost its grip in the latter McCarthy era. By the time Vietnam hit, the rightfulness of the nation was in question. The Big Tribe no longer held power either. Yet we as humans, as part of the Universe, still have that need for connection, a sense of belonging, belonging to something bigger than just us.
The world continues to change, as it should, as is inevitable. But where are we to look for that tribe now? The need burns with us all. It’s so common anymore for employment ads to read, “Join our team … looking for team players.” It’s just a ploy attempting to draw on our need, that need for tribe. I see very few people, if any, that feel it means anything to be a Wal-Mart team member. Most, at best, feel like they are getting a paycheck, albeit a pathetic paycheck, from just another abusive employer.
My mind has been pondering the sense of “tribe” as work commences on pages concerning our Chakras; the tribe is a 1st Chakra need. Yet it was watching little league teams today that drove me to this writing. At least there, in those little league teams, we could presume a sense of tribe. But it’s not a real tribe in the same sense of tribal needs.
I had the honor to participate for a while with a nine-year-old boy as he wanted to engage in playing baseball. Regrettably, he lacked the skill sets necessary to play ball. They didn’t help train him; essentially, they simply threw into the game. And when the day came that he missed catching that fly ball, and it hit him in the face, right on the nose, he was crushed, and far more than physically.
Of course they asked, “Are you okay?” But beyond looking at his nose to ensure that it not be broken, the caring ended. Now language came forth such as, “Aw, you’ll be okay … Just shrug it off … Get back in there and you’ll be fine.” There was more, but I can’t remember it all.
The point is this, his potential tribe did not nurture him, they did not treat his experience as real and with respect, and they did not accept him. He was dismissed. Now what might have worked as a substitution in his need for connection, a need for “tribe,” is left with isolation, messages that it’s not okay to express your feelings, and rejection. That is not a tribal experience.
Our childhood, which is where we need that sense of tribe the most, is riddled with false tribal experiences. It’s virtually missing the needed elements before we start school. And when we do start school, what tribe we find is a system geared toward pushing you through that system. It’s a system of judgment, devaluation unless your grades are high, and rhetoric to fit the norm. By the time we reach high school, it’s really too late to develop a healthy sense of tribe; but they try. They give us pep rallies and school spirit as the ploy. But it’s not a tribe, it’s matriculation through a system, one you’ll revisit every ten years or so at best.
And if we are to look for that missing tribal experience, where do we look? Support groups supposedly helping with our messed up state of being might be one source, but those are often self-defeating in the long haul. Of course there is always the local pub or night club reminiscent of the old sitcom Cheers. Really? Perhaps groups like yoga classes, but those often end up, pay to get it, get your lesson, and either go home or go running off to your next entertainment in pursuit of life.
We have gone full circle in that entertainment factor in our search for a tribe. Massive crowds gather to watch football and baseball games, a spinoff of the Roman Colosseum. Albeit a mindless dance, our tribal dance is now a wave, that rolling motion to rise up and be seen. While we might look at that dance wave as a ritual of sorts, well …
And of course, there is our sense of tribe through politics, a part of the whole, your vote counts, and the party is there for you, or so you think. As a culture, I stand amazed at people coming out from nowhere with highly emotional affinity for their party and sometimes the nation regardless of the winning tribal chief. Our need for the tribe is deep.
A tribe is more than that though. A tribe is about having place in a community with a sense of belonging there and a sense of acceptance, acceptance just because you exist. The tribe nurtures you, and you nurture it. The sense of tribe is an everyday event, 24/7/365. The tribe is an enlivening sense of connection. One’s gifts and individuality are seen as important to the health and wellbeing of the tribe. It’s a place where the being you, is appreciated and within you, is appreciation for the tribe. It is a place where you experience you, as the tribe.
For a while, that need manifested as street gangs [which are still prevalent in some areas]. For some it became a life as bikers, I can still see in my memory the road blackened with countless Hells Angels, covering both lanes, heading south. It was several minutes before I could cross the street. [Also prevalent in those days were the great caravans of Gypsies; but they too as a tribal element, have disappeared.]
In the now of the human evolution, I see little hope for reclaiming a real sense of tribe. Everything must change; it is the way of the Universe. But in our adaptation, we have greatly weakened a human need. It affects our health, our happiness, our soul, and even our spirituality. It’s no wonder we search so hard for that sense of belonging, a sense of connection, a sense of tribe.