Belonging can only happen when a “part” joins a group
So by wanting to belong
You are under the illusion of incompleteness
In waking up you realise
You are already complete
You are not a part
But a whole
And a whole doesn’t need to join any group
You are there already
You are a whole universe
The Problem of “Belonging”
Most of us at some point feel the painful pang of wanting to find the place that we can call “home”. A place full of people that fills us with unconditional love, protection and strength whenever we feel we need it. A place where we always feel accepted, where we can bare our deepest selves.
We label this state as “belonging”.
When we don’t feel like we belong anywhere we feel like a puzzle piece, endlessly searching and hoping that we will finally find the whole picture that we are a part of.
This, however, is a problem.
This is because belonging is a complete illusion. It is a belief that we must abandon if we are to relieve our suffering, or else we will spend our whole lives searching for something that doesn’t exist in the first place. We will end up in a state (“be”) of eternal “longing”.
What Belonging Actually Is
Think about the last time you felt like you belonged somewhere. How did you feel on the inside? Warm? Loved? Accepted? Expansive?…
This is what belonging actually boils down to: completeness. And ultimately it is this thirst for wholeness that drives almost everything that we do. When we feel complete in a group, we feel loved, because we become love itself.
As mentioned in my little midnight musing at the beginning of this post, belonging can only occur if a part joins a whole. Yet, in waking up we realise that we are complete. So how did we come to believe that we were only a piece, rather than the entire puzzle?
Let me tell you a story.
How the Circle Became a Puzzle Piece
This is Circle. Circle is one full, content and joyous entity.
One day Circle goes to play with some other circle friends. They have a chat.
Circle is embarrassed. It doesn’t want its friends to reject it so it decides to cut a fragment of itself off and lock it up in an closet. Now it doesn’t have to show this aspect of itself anymore, and it feels safe.
Then Circle goes home. Circle’s parents have spent years cutting off pieces of themselves, so they don’t like it if Circle doesn’t cut them off either. So they push and prod Circle until it does the same.
Soon Circle trims and locks away so many parts of itself that it isn’t a circle anymore.
It becomes a puzzle piece.
Now Circle may feel safer, but it doesn’t feel whole anymore. Feelings of loneliness and incompleteness flood in. It wants to find the place where it can be a circle again. So it starts searching. Little did Circle know however, that what its little soul was crying out for wasn’t for other people. It was yearning for all the parts of itself that it locked away in its closet many years ago.
Eventually there will be times when Circle will go to places, or will meet other people, that will make it feel secure. Suddenly, Circle is now ok with opening the door to its secret closet and letting back in all the fragments that were lost.
This doesn’t last for long though. If Circle always relies on external circumstances to cue whether or not its ok to let back in its fragments, sooner or later someone, or something, will lead to Circle quickly locking the door again.
What Circle doesn’t realise, is that it always holds the key to the closet. Nobody can take this key away. Circle can actually choose to open the door whenever it wants to.
And when it does, it will finally become itself again.
Complete. No longer needing to “belong”.
When we say, “I finally feel like I belong”, it is never because a person or a group is making you feel that way. Rather, it is you giving yourself permission for once to be who you truly are. Ultimately you are the gatekeeper of your fragments, the decider of whether to bare your heart to the world.
It takes courage, acceptance and a sense of fearlessness to learn how to open your gate when everyone may be against you. It may take a lifetime of practice. But remember – you are always the holder of the key. Go back and invite all of those locked-up selves to “belong” again to the core of your being. Only then will that feeling of completeness return.
It’s time to go beyond belonging. We are each unique circles, so there will never be a circle that is exactly like yours. In this sense, we will always be alone. Yet, to fully embrace this aloneness means also to joyously celebrate your special circle, to revel in all of its imperfect perfection. This opens your heart and fills your being with love. This love then expands outwards, embracing every living being in its path.
In embracing your aloneness, you actually connect with all.