The Connection Barometer
An essential premise of spiritual and intercultural work is that we are all interconnected. Yet in our daily interactions we do not often act this way. Instead, we feel separate from one another, and we act with little or no concerns for one another.
It’s not always easy to sense our interconnectedness with others. In one day, I may go in and out of that interconnected place multiple times. I have a tool I use every day to support myself in recognizing and practicing my sense of interconnectedness with others. I call it the Connection Barometer. It has three components – love, compassion, forgiveness. (See the definitions of these terms by rolling your cursor over the words in the diagram.) Using this tool, and with practice, I begin to stay in the interconnected place a bit longer.
How the Barometer Works
Love, compassion, and forgiveness are three keys to sensing our connection with one another. When we are in love, compassion, and forgiveness for ourselves and for all others we are in a state of peace and harmony. We have an experience of heaven on earth.
Each of these three sentiments also has an opposite, which leads to a sense of separation from others:
|In the Absence of||There is a Sense of|
|Love, a sense of connection||Detachment, a disconnection|
|Compassion, empathy with||Judgment, criticism, make wrong|
to pardon without conditions
to disconnect with feelings attached
When you find yourself in detachment toward the other and/or yourself, your work is to move into love for the other and yourself. When you find yourself in judgment for the other/yourself, your work is to move into compassion for the other and yourself. When you find yourself in estrangement, your work is to forgive the other and yourself.
One of these will be harder for you to do than the others. It is the place you go easily when relationships go awry, when your feelings are triggered in an experience with another. This can happen in your relationship with yourself, with others, and/or with the larger community, organization, or society.
How do you use the Connection Barometer to restore your sense of connection with others? While the steps to using the model are simple, the actual practice is often a bit more challenging.
- Start by noticing which dyad comes up in your life the most when you become disconnected from others. How does it usually happen? Where do you go most easily?
Love to Detachment Compassion to Judgment Forgiveness to Estrangement
- Once you are aware of which route you usually take in feeling disconnected from others, pay attention to when detachment, judgment, or estrangement (the quality which separates you from yourself/others) is present. Simply notice it when it shows up. Ah! There it is again.
- What would it take to shift yourself to the more connected state? What could you do to counter a sense of detachment, to release judgment, to overcome estrangement? For example, when I am in judgment of another, I imagine a compassionate regard I can have toward the other. As I embrace this position, I can feel myself move into this place, and the judgment melts away. I am at peace.
If we think of feelings and emotions as energy in motion, then we can think of the energies of the Connection Barometer as a flow. As each of us practices staying in the flow of love, compassion, and forgiveness for ourselves and others, we contribute to bringing a lasting peace to earth. When we hold people in the energy of love, compassion, and forgiveness, we strengthen our sense of interconnectedness and create a space for them to more fully be themselves from their creative center.
Definitions provided in the diagram above
- a connection that is a genuine acceptance, caring and concern for oneself and others and is not controlling.
- a severance of the connection and dissociation from the concerns of the self and/or the other.
- a deep feeling of empathy with the situation and perspective of the other or the self with the intention of supporting the other or the self.
- a criticism of the other or self in which you view their/your perspective or situation negatively. This separates you from the connection with the other or yourself.
- to pardon the other or oneself; to excuse the other or oneself for a fault or an offense without resentment.
- to distance yourself mentally, but not emotionally from another or yourself; you sever the connection but not the feelings toward the other or oneself.
Adapted from Jwalan Muktika School for Illumination, Carolyn Rutherford, Founder