Hustling down one of the wide hallways at Naropa University's Nalanda Campus, with smiling undergrads unknowingly posing as human traffic cones, I weave this way and that until I stand face to face with my destination: the door to the auditorium. Grabbing the handle and giving it a yank, I lose my expression to what seems like an attempt to break a Guinness World Record: a room full of people of varying ages, upright in single-file human chains, with each person giving a back rub to the individual directly ahead.
This is what break time like at Naropa. More specifically, at this past weekend's Awakening the Dreamer Symposium.
I'm not super touchy-feely (i.e., I pull up a chair and wait for the break to end), but the symposium's theme—bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just way of life—makes complete and utter sense to me.
Arguably, at no time in human history have we needed this more. And at no time in human history have we had more capabilities—the tech, the connectedness—to do it. Native cultures on our planet talk about a connectedness with all things: the animals, the air, the sea, the land, the light, the darkness—the visible and the invisible. Physicists, through the language of mathematics, do the same. Theologians? Through faith.
But before we're a theoretical physicist, Buddhist monk, or tribal elder, we're a human being. We share life. Whether we share harmony or division is dependent upon the building blocks of our human nature: our thoughts, words, and actions.
When I wake up in the morning, it takes me a while to reach coherency. Or a feeling that I'm actually awake. I think symposiums like this are a fresh cup of coffee for all of us. A way to shake off the cobwebs, let go of the stumbles, and get to work at becoming who we are meant to be.