He could feel then, the collective energy they were expending, filling the air like gas, flammable and sweet, and would wish he could bottle it so he might be able to draw from it when he was feeling uninspired, for the days in which he would sit in front of the canvas for literally hours, as though if he stared long enough,it might explode into something brilliant and charged.– Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life
I like to think that I am an individual, as we all do. But really, who are we without others? There is a limit to how much we can do by ourselves, we can claim independence from everything which surrounds us but doing so overrules an important truth; every step we take to the food we eat is dependent on the sun. The sun is the only being we can truly call independent. As it uses the same energy in which it provides, to itself, and to everything within the universe.
Each day of our existence we try to prove to ourselves and others that we are self-reliant. That we could live eternally as we are, with the resources we have acquired over the years. Why don’t we question where these resources are from? When can we know that we have reached the limit of consumption? Like others, I forget to ask myself these questions. Dealing with the tasks at hand, I lose sight of what should be important. They seem to be available, ready to use and dispose of, at all times. But what do I give back in return?
The words we say and the actions we take are not independent of each other. Each moment is an exchange, between people and the nature which sustains us. Every exchange is a transfer of energy. As humans, we have the power to decide whether that energy will encourage growth, or prevent it. This growth can be inwards, where the difference is only felt by you, or outwards, for all to see.
Growth is infectious, when one person recognises their own potential, another begins to do the same. This is the moment where you become interconnected, when your ideas spark the flame of another’s. Your thoughts are no longer yours to claim, as they have already escaped far away. From the confines of your mind to the openness, between you and the connection you have made.
Balancing our lives between exchange and consumption is essential for our own growth, as well as the nature we depend upon. For the loss of nature is equivalent to our disappearance. There is no tangible web, no mark we can see to connect us to each being in this world. However, when these ties are broken, the repercussions are seen by all. It is only then will we realise, that we have reached the limit of the life we have chosen to lead. Treasure each exchange, knowing that someday the expelled energy will be returned to you – in whatever form it feels is best.
When will your next exchange be? How much will you give? And what will you receive?